Cranberry Sauce with Apples & Pears

The first winter break home from college was the first time I ever made Thanksgiving dinner for my family. I had never attempted it before and I actually didn’t even know I was going to be the one cooking until a few days before. My mom bought all the ingredients and gave me the Williams-Sonoma handbook of Thanksgiving cooking. It was a small sort of pocket book but it guided me through the whole dinner, easily. The pictures were great so I figured if I followed everything in the book and figured if the food looked that good in the booklet then that would be my standard, too.

The one recipe I was a bit taken aback by was the cranberry sauce. I have never liked it- okay, maybe I tried it like once when someone bought it from a can and put it on a plate. Seriously, who on earth is that appealing to? Besides, I think it was an after thought in our family- one side Sicilian and the other Puerto Rican- umm…cranberry sauce is not typically anywhere in the repertoire of my ancestors.

cranberries from top

Back to the recipe, using fresh cranberries. Wow, did that look amazing. So, I gave it a try. Much to everyone’s amazement (including mine) the sauce was absolutely fabulous- and everyone ate it. It was all gone. Done. And they raved about it. They still talk about it today.

Oddly enough, I’ve never posted it on this site. I’m not sure why, but I suppose it’s because I haven’t ever taken the photos until now.

fresh cranberries

I hope you enjoy the photos and the process of making this recipe. It’s so so good that I hope you make it all throughout the Fall season when cranberries are good and fresh. Make it as a side dish to turkey, chicken, goose, duck, lamb, beef, fish. It is just so complimentary to savory meats. I’m surprised still to this day how much I love it.

And one more thing- you can freeze fresh cranberries. They defrost easily. So, if you have an odd craving for this dish in the spring or summer, make yourself happy and make it then, too.

Here goes.

cranberry sauce ingredients on plate

Start with just a few ingredients- fresh cranberries (or frozen, which thaw pretty quickly. You can even use frozen in this recipe, just add to the cooking time a few more minutes. Pear, apple, orange, lemon, sugar, cinnamon, water- and a pinch of salt (not shown).

cranberries on plate

Chop the pear and apple. I used about 1/2 of each one, but you could add a little more if you like. Any type of apple is fine.

apples and pears

Pour the cranberries into a heavy bottom saucepan. No heat yet.

cranberries in pot

Add the pear and apple on top. 

add apples and pears

I like this order. Seems to cook better.

Vertical Cranberry Sauce

Add the sugar. Please use organic 🙂

add sugar

Now you’ll zest the orange and orange or tangerine (that’s what I had on hand). I like to zest the entire fruit- it adds so much ‘tang’ to the dish.

fruit and zester

Add fresh cinnamon sticks like this bark shown here, or ground cinnamon if you have that. Add a pinch of salt, too.

add cinnamon

Add water, too.

add water

Put the flame on medium-high for now.

medium flame

Once it begins to boil, you’ll turn the heat down. After about 10-12 minutes, it should look like this:


cook down the cranberries

After about 20-25 minutes, it should look like this:



Remember to remove the cinnamon bark/stick, if you’re using those.

remove cinnamon sticks

The texture should be like this on a spoon. If yours is not, just cook it a little longer. But watch it, don’t walk away and do other things. Once it’s to the texture you want, turn the heat off immediately.

cranberry on spoon dark 2

You can refrigerate it once it cools and serve it cold or warm. I prefer it warm because I serve it with other cooked foods that are hot or warm.

final cranberry on spoon 2

Just be sure to serve it with your best servingware. It makes it look so nice and fancy and elegant that way.  Besides, you just made something that is a bit fancy and elegant and isn’t from a can.

Give yourself lots of credit for that!

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Cranberry Sauce with Apples & Pears

By Yvonne Published: November 27, 2013

  • Yield: 2 cups (6 Servings)
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Ready In: 30 mins

Forgo the can and bring the cranberry sauce back to the table with this fresh and delicious recipe that can be served with any roasted meats or fish as a side dish.



  1. To a medium saucepan, add the fresh cranberries.
  2. Add the diced apple and pear then the zest of lemon and orange.
  3. Add the sugar, cinnamon sticks, salt and water.
  4. Put the flame on medium-high and stay close to the pan until the cranberries begin to pop and the water boils.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and let cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the consistency has thickened. It should stick to a wooden spoon or be thick enough to pick up with a slotted spoon without losing too much juice.

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  1. I’m not a cranberry fan but my husband and daughter, eats if fresh with some salk. I cooked a similar recipe to your, but added to a cake mix, a brownie mix will do too and people loved it. Thanks!

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