This homemade fresh cranberry recipe uses spiced maple syrup and cinnamon, bourbon, and a little bright pop of orange. In just 15 minutes you have a delicious lightly sweet and tart cranberry sauce recipe for your holiday table.
If you’re team homemade cranberry sauce for the holidays, then you’re in the right place! Nothing against the stuff in the can, but I love how simple this sauce is to whip up (so you have no excuse not to).
This is the perfect recipe for a cranberry sauce sweetened with maple syrup. It gives all the flavors of fall and winter and pairs so well with this smoked stuffed pork loin with apples and brie, smoked turkey breast, or even some crispy duck breast!
No matter how you like to serve cranberry sauce on your holiday table, having the option to make one that is refined sugar free but still has a nice balance of flavors is nice to have during this food heavy season.
Why This Recipe Works:
- Pure maple syrup is used in place of traditional table sugar for this recipe. The flavors in the syrup complement the cinnamon, bourbon, and orange flavor profile in this sauce.
- This recipe works great with fresh or frozen cranberries, making it easier when shopping for ingredients.
- The bourbon adds a nice flavor but cooks off fully, making this free of alcohol without compromising the taste of the sauce.
- Medium Sauce Pan
- Measuring Cups
- Pairing Knife
- Wood Spoon
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This information is meant to help you have a stronger understanding of this recipe and the process so you can find success all on your own.
Ready to begin cooking? Simply jump to the recipe card below and begin.
- Fresh Cranberries (as mentioned above you can use frozen but the texture and end look may differ slightly from what I have here)
- Cinnamon Stick
- Maple Syrup
- Orange Peel / Orange Zest
- Bourbon (can sub with just orange juice if you do not want the bourbon)
- Sea Salt
This recipe is beyond easy and takes 15 minutes to make and sets and cools within about 45 minutes as well. Have everything ready to go before starting because it does come together quickly (including the serving bowl you want to use for this sauce).
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the maple syrup, cinnamon stick, and a large piece of orange peel.
- Bring this mixture to a full simmer and then add the bourbon and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Then add the cranberries, and reserve about a half cup of fresh berries to add in at the end.
- Reduce the heat slightly to medium-low and stir to prevent the sugar in the syrup from scorching. Let the cranberries cook until they begin to burst. Keep string occasionally until all the fresh cranberries are broken and the mixture looks more sauce-like.
- Once the cranberries are all broken down (you may have to use the wooden spoon to help break them up a bit), turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the stove. Add in the remaining half cup of cranberries and fold them in.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and orange peel from the sauce and discard.
- Sprinkle with a little salt and transfer the cooked cranberry sauce mixture into the chosen serving dish you will use. The sauce will set up and thicken as it cools. Leave it out to rest at room temperature for about 45-60 minutes before storing it in the fridge.
- Garnish the cranberries with orange zest or a dried orange slice and a cinnamon stick and serve with your favorite holiday recipes.
- Make this 2-3 days ahead of time if desired. Keep stored and covered in the fridge.
- Remove the maple bourbon cranberry sauce from the fridge a few hours before serving. This makes it easier to dish out and add to your sliced holiday ham or turkey.
- Leftover cranberry sauce? Use it on your toast with breakfast or add it to a turkey sandwich when eating your holiday leftovers or try it in my Cranberry Pisco Sour cocktail.
Maple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
- 12 oz. Fresh Cranberries can use frozen
- 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
- 2 tbsp. Bourbon sub orange juice
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1 piece Orange Peel and extra for garnish
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the maple syrup, cinnamon stick, and orange peel.
- Add in the bourbon and bring to a simmer and let it cook for 2-3 minutes (this will burn off all the alcohol).
- Next, add in the cranberries (reserve about 1/2 cup for the end) and stir it into the maple syrup mixture and reduce the heat slightly.
- Let the cranberry mixture cook for 5-6 minutes, stir occasionally. The cranberries should begin to soften and burst. Use a wooden spoon to help break open and mash the berries as they rupture.
- Once all the cranberries are ruptured, test tastes the sauce and adjust the sweetness (add more syrup if you prefer this sweeter). Remove the cinnamon stick and orange peel.
- Turn off the heat and add in the remaining fresh cranberries. Fold it into the hot sauce and season with sea salt.
- Carefully pour everything into the serving dish and let it sit and cool at room temperature for 45 minutes or so. Garnish with orange zest or a dried orange wheel and a cinnamon stick if desired.
- Store in the fridge, covered until ready to use or enjoy at room temperature.