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A “Mostly” Classic Cranberry Sauce

With nothing overpowering, this cranberry sauce recipe marries all of the ingredients together wonderfully.

Ginger, lemon zest and anise take this almost classic sauce to the next level.

I am a classic-Thanksgiving person. I like classic stuffing, classic mashed potatoes and classic cranberry sauce. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t like adding teeny tiny twists to things. But for the most part I don’t like anything too crazy. I welcome weird and interesting twists when it comes to desserts though.

This cranberry sauce is MOSTLY classic. I love this recipe because you don’t necessarily taste any of the ingredients. They all just marry together wonderfully. I love the orange juice, the dark rum, and freshly grated ginger. The cinnamon stick and star anise add wonderful flavor and spice. But nothing is overpowering. None of the flavors are predominant, making it a wonderful qualifier as a “classic.”

I know a lot of people are nostalgic for canned cranberry sauce. And I’m not going to lie, my 90s childhood loved canned cranberry sauce, too, but now that I’m a grown-up, I love the homemade version much more. It’s so delicious and simple and easy to make. This can absolutely be made a few days ahead and kept in the fridge. So do it!

Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Simmer the mixture for 15-20 minutes, until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has reduced slightly. Give it a taste (be careful, it'll be hot!) and adjust the seasonings. You may want it to be a bit sweeter. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill. The cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

This recipe originally appeared on PBS Food.

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