For some people, it’s not Thanksgiving unless the cranberry sauce comes out of a can. If you prefer the nostalgia of that jiggly, jellied, line-imprinted red cylinder, we won’t judge. But, if you’re buying the canned stuff because you think making cranberry sauce is difficult or time-consuming, it’s time you try this recipe. From prep to fridge, this simple compote takes roughly 20 minutes — and it’s endlessly customizable. Make it as written below for a clean, apple-forward flavor, or consider adding your favorite aromatics, whether it’s hot pepper for a spicy kick, or warm spices, like cinnamon and cloves for a riff on mulled cider.
12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and picked through for stems (if using frozen, no need to thaw first)
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 cup hard apple cider
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, cider, zests, and juices.
Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Add apples and cook 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the apples are tender but not falling apart. Allow sauce to cool and serve chilled.
Pro Tip: Add an Apple
Looking for a flavor that you can run throughout your Thanksgiving menu? Apples add an of-the-season feel to a whole host of dishes. Try basting your turkey in a mix of two-parts butter to one-part apple cider (The sugars will caramelize, making your turkey the most gorgeous color). Glaze pearl onions with hard cider, a knob of butter, and fresh thyme. For your stuffing, sauté chopped Granny Smith apples with the onions and celery (a little sausage or bacon would be great here, too). Or shave a sweet varietal, like Honeycrisp, onto a salad of palate-cleansing chicories and walnuts, then dress with olive oil, Dijon mustard, and cider vinegar.