Red Wine Cranberry Sauce

red wine cranberry sauce

My sister LOVES cranberry sauce. And by LOVES I mean she enjoys a little turkey and stuffing with her cranberry sauce. When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of Lindsey mounding cranberry sauce onto every food group on her plate. And then I think of her finishing up her meal, dragging mom’s homemade bread across her plate, mopping up every last morsel of sauce. And then I think of the days following Thanksgiving, when she would assemble cranberry sauce sandwiches — yep, just two slices of bread flanking as much sauce as their structure will allow. And then I picture her sitting at the kitchen table, elbows bent as she holds her creation in front of her face, laughing as she bites into her favorite sandwich, giddy that this time of year has once again arrived.

My sister would not approve of the above-pictured sauce. If Peeps, Lindsey’s favorite candy (food?), are any indication of her sugar preferences, you understand why. She likes the traditional ratio of sugar to liquid to cranberries prescribed in most recipes.

I on the other hand feel otherwise. I do not love the sweetness of cranberry sauce, and I suppose I sort of feel indifferent to the sauce in general. But I like this recipe. It’s nothing mind blowing, but it takes no more time to prepare than traditional recipes — I certainly would not fuss over making cranberry sauce — and the flavors of orange zest, cinnamon stick and red wine are nice. It’s also a touch less sweet than traditional recipes.

If you’re a cranberry-sauce purist, this recipe is not for you. If, like me, you don’t really care one way or the other and want to spruce up your cranberry sauce a bit, give this recipe a go. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


Sally Schneider’s Red Wine Cranberry Sauce
Yield = 1 3/4 cups

2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cinnamon stick (1 1/2 inches)
1 package fresh or frozen cranberries (about 12 oz.)
1 tablespoon slivered tangerine, clementine or orange zest, or more to taste

In a saucepan over moderate heat, combine the sugar, red wine and cinnamon stick; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the wine is reduced slightly. Add the cranberries and zest. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cranberries are soft and the sauce has thickened. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


  1. says

    I make a very similar cranberry sauce, though I’ve never written down quantities! I always just toss it all in the pan to taste! It’s one of my favorite holiday dishes!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Matt says

    Every year my family demands:

    Fresh Cranberry and Orange Relish (STUPIDLY EASY AND OUTSTANDING!)

    1 16 ounce package Cranberries
    1 Fresh Orange
    2 cups Sugar

    1) Wash and pick through the cranberries.

    2) Wash, quarter and seed the orange — leave the peel on.

    3) Place all of the ingredients in a Cuisinart and pulse-process to about a 1/8 inch dice. Pulse three times, push oranges to bottom, pulse again and again until nice and chunky.

    4) Cover and refrigerate three days prior to serving, stirring every half a day.

    It ferments and blends into a not-too-sweet sauce with delicious, popping bits of bitter orange peel. Makes enough that you can give some of it away in decorative 6 oz. canning jars.

    Happy Holidays!

  3. says

    How did you know I was assigned cranberry sauce for tomorrow? You must have read my mind…or my emails. My mom always makes the cranberry sauce (and her famous sweet potatoes with marshmallows), but for our first Thanksgiving abroad I have to make it myself! Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Lindsey says

    Haha!! This sauce looks delicious, even to a purist. I have also already eaten 9 snowman peeps this season that I found at CVS. XO

  5. Jani says

    I’ve made this Red Wine Cranberry Sauce for years and years, and it’s the absolute best one I’ve ever tasted, and is beloved by my family. Such a great recipe!

    Happy Turkey Day!

  6. Jamie says

    While visiting a local winery a few weeks ago, the guy doing our tasting told us to replace the water in the cranberries with wine then add orange zest and a few whole cloves. I’ve never been a cranberry sauce person, but it sounded delicious so I had to try it. It was amazing and I cannot wait to put it on a turkey sandwich later on!

  7. Renee says

    This cranberry sauce was DELICIOUS on Christmas with an uncured ham from Trader Joe’s. Official replacement of the ancestral cranberry sauce recipe. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *