Delicious Cranberry-Orange Sauce: Perfectly Spiced Recipe

Are you tired of the same old canned cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving? Looking for a delicious and easy way to upgrade your holiday spread? Look no further!

I am thrilled to share with you my recipe for Spiced Cranberry-Orange Sauce with Zinfandel. This recipe provides a refreshing twist on the classic cranberry sauce, combining fresh cranberries with bright citrus and the deep, rich flavors of red Zinfandel wine.

As a sommelier, I strongly believe that food and drink can elevate one another, making each other taste even better. The tangy tartness of cranberries pairs perfectly with the sweetness of oranges and brown sugar, while the spiciness of cinnamon sticks and cloves is balance by Zinfandel’s bold fruit-forwardness.

Whether you’re hosting a formal Thanksgiving dinner or an intimate gathering at home, this Spiced Cranberry-Orange Sauce with Zinfandel will impress your guests and add some excitement to your menu. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Spiced Cranberry-Orange Sauce With Zinfandel
Spiced Cranberry-Orange Sauce With Zinfandel

Are you getting ready to host a Thanksgiving dinner and wondering what to serve with the turkey? Look no further than this spiced cranberry-orange sauce with Zinfandel recipe! Here are just a few reasons why you’ll love it:

First, the combination of fresh cranberries, orange juice, and red Zinfandel wine create a beautiful balance of sweet and tart flavors. The spices – cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, and whole cloves – add warm aromatics to give the dish depth.

But that’s not all. The golden brown sugar in the recipe adds a deliciously rich and caramel-like flavor that complements the bright citrus notes from the orange zest and juice. And if you’re a red wine drinker, you’ll appreciate how the Zinfandel brings subtle hints of dark fruit and oak to the mix.

Not only is this spiced cranberry-orange sauce delicious, but it’s also versatile. Spoon it over your turkey or ham to add a pop of color and flavor, or use it as a dip for appetizers like goat cheese crostini or Brie.

Plus, with only 10 ingredients and minimal prep time, it’s easy to whip up this homemade cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving day. And if for some reason you have leftovers (though we doubt you will!), this sauce goes great on leftover sandwiches or even as an accompaniment to roasted pork tenderloin.

Overall, this spiced cranberry-orange sauce with Zinfandel is sure to impress your guests with its unique blend of flavors and easy preparation. Give it a try this Thanksgiving and be prepared for compliments all around!

Ingredient List

 The perfect cranberry sauce with a twist!
The perfect cranberry sauce with a twist!

Let’s gather the ingredients

Here is a list of all the ingredients you will need to make this delicious Spiced Cranberry-Orange Sauce With Zinfandel recipe:

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 orange, juice and zest
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 1 strip orange rind
  • 3/4 cups red Zinfandel wine

These ingredients will help create a perfect blend of bright citrus, warm spices and tangy cranberries that will elevate your Thanksgiving feast.

The Recipe How-To

 Cranberry-Orange sauce, spiced with Zinfandel, anyone?
Cranberry-Orange sauce, spiced with Zinfandel, anyone?

Step 1: Prep the Ingredients

Before we start cooking, we have to prepare all the ingredients. Here are the ingredients that you need:

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups red Zinfandel wine
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • Strip of orange peel (about 3×1 inch)

Step 2: Start Cooking

In a large saucepan, heat the Zinfandel wine, orange juice, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cloves, allspice, cinnamon sticks, and orange peel over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until syrupy and reduced by half for about 20 minutes.

Step 3: Add Cranberries

Once the wine mixture has reduced to half, stir in the fresh cranberries with a wooden spoon. Let it sit for about five minutes on medium-high heat or until they begin to split.

Step 4: Spice Up Your Sauce

Add in your spices by placing them in a cheesecloth packet and add them to your sauce mixture. Bring everything back up to a simmer then let it cook for another ten minutes or until all the berries have broken down.

Step 5: Finish & Serve Your Spiced Cranberry Orange Sauce with Zinfandel Recipe

Remove the cheesecloth of spices from the saucepan and discard. Let the sauce cool down completely before storing it in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

This spiced cranberry-orange sauce with zinfandel recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving! It goes great as an accompaniment for turkey but can be used with other poultry options too like chicken or duck. Enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

 Jazz up your Thanksgiving table with this delicious sauce!
Jazz up your Thanksgiving table with this delicious sauce!

There are a few substitutions and variations that you can make to this recipe to suit your preferences:

– Sugar: You can use different types of sugars in this recipe, such as white sugar, maple syrup or honey. Adjust the quantity of sugar accordingly to your taste.

– Wine: While the recipe calls for red Zinfandel, you can use any type of full-bodied red wine that you enjoy. Just keep in mind that the flavor may vary slightly.

– Orange juice: Freshly squeezed orange juice is recommended for this recipe as it yields a brighter citrus flavor. However, packed orange juice or concentrate can be used as well.

– Spices: If you don’t have whole spices on hand, ground allspice and cloves can be used instead. Just be sure to adjust the quantity as a little goes a long way.

– Cranberry texture: If you do not like chunky sauces, swap out the fresh cranberries for jellied cranberry sauce or dried cranberries for a smoother texture.

– Orange zest: If you prefer an extra zing of orange flavor, add some grated orange zest to the mixture instead of just stripping down the rind.

By getting creative with these substitutions and variations, you can tailor this recipe to your liking and produce a sauce that will be perfectly paired with your Thanksgiving meal.

Serving and Pairing

 One spoonful of this sauce will leave you wanting more.
One spoonful of this sauce will leave you wanting more.

This spiced cranberry-orange sauce with Zinfandel recipe is a delightful addition to any Thanksgiving table! It pairs perfectly with turkey, ham or even roasted vegetables. The bright citrus and sweet flavors of the cranberries complement the bold and spicy notes of Zinfandel wine, making it an excellent combination.

To serve, simply spoon the spiced cranberry-orange sauce over your favorite dish. For turkey, I recommend slicing some of that tender breast meat and placing it onto a plate before pouring the sauce generously over the top for that perfect balance of sweet and spicy.

For a vegetarian option, roasted vegetables like carrots, squash, and Brussels sprouts provide a beautiful foundation for the zinfandel-spiced sauce. The hearty veggies hold up well to the bold flavors of the wine and sauce making them irresistibly savory.

Looking for an extra flair to accentuate your sauce? Top it off with some chopped pecans or toasted walnuts for added crunch!

This spiced cranberry-orange sauce with Zinfandel is not only delicious, but it also adds beautiful color to any dish it’s added to. The deep reds of the fresh cranberries make it an excellent complementary side dish to your Thanksgiving feast.

Pair this sauce with a nice glass of red Zinfandel wine – a natural partner with the dish’s slightly bold flavor profile. The juicy fruitiness of plum or cherry in a matching wine will mirror those bright citruses and crisp cranberries found in the sauce warmly.

Overall, this flavorful sauce will become one of your holiday favorites every year. The crispness paired with a sweet tang as well as spices present in this dish makes it undoubtedly irresistible.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Impress your guests with this homemade sauce.
Impress your guests with this homemade sauce.

If you’re planning to make this Spiced Cranberry-Orange Sauce with Zinfandel for Thanksgiving, you might be wondering whether it’s possible to make it ahead of time or how to store any leftovers. The good news is that this spiced cranberry sauce can be made up to three days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Doing so not only reduces your workload on Thanksgiving day but also allows the flavors to meld, resulting in a more complex taste.

To reheat the sauce, place it in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until warmed through. If the sauce appears too thick after refrigeration or reheating, add a little water (one tablespoon at a time) until it reaches your desired consistency.

If you decide to make this recipe ahead of time or store any leftovers, keep in mind that the alcohol will lose its potency over time. However, the spices and fruit flavors will still be vibrant and delicious. When storing any leftover cranberry sauce, transfer it into an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to three days.

Another way you can prolong the shelf life of this sauce is by freezing it. Allow the spiced cranberry-orange sauce with Zinfandel to cool completely before transferring it into a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to two months, then defrost overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature when ready to use.

Overall, making this spiced cranberry-orange sauce with Zinfandel ahead of time and storing it is easy and convenient without compromising on taste. It’s also incredibly versatile, as you can pair it with other dishes aside from your Thanksgiving turkey or even use it as a spread for toast or sandwiches.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The best thing about homemade cranberry sauce is that you can add whatever you want!
The best thing about homemade cranberry sauce is that you can add whatever you want!

To get the best results possible when making this spiced cranberry-orange sauce with zinfandel recipe, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind.

First and foremost, it is important to use fresh ingredients whenever possible. Fresh cranberries, orange juice, and zest will give your sauce a bright citrus flavor that cannot be achieved with dried or canned ingredients.

When selecting your red Zinfandel wine, look for a bottle that is labeled as “dry.” This will ensure that your sauce does not become too sweet or overpowering.

It is also important to not overcook the sauce. Allow it to simmer on medium-high heat until it reaches the desired consistency, and then remove it from the heat. Overcooking can cause the flavors to break down and become muddled.

To help the flavors meld together even more, consider making the sauce ahead of time and allowing it to sit in the refrigerator overnight. This will give the spices and wine more time to infuse into the cranberries and create a depth of flavor that cannot be achieved otherwise.

Finally, do not be afraid to experiment with substitutions and variations of the recipe. Consider adding different spices or fruits to create a unique twist on this classic Thanksgiving sauce. With these tips in mind, you are sure to achieve perfect results every time you make this spiced cranberry-orange sauce with zinfandel recipe.


After providing all the necessary details for making the Spiced Cranberry-Orange Sauce with Zinfandel recipe, it is important to address some frequently asked questions to ensure that anyone who attempts to make this dish has no room for confusion or doubt. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about this recipe:

How to enhance cranberry sauce?

Enhancing the taste of your canned sauce can be achieved by incorporating some fresh lemon or orange zest, a generous amount of chopped candied peel, or a dash of juice. Doing so will add a touch of homemade goodness and bring out the flavors of the dish.

What is the thickening agent for cranberry sauce?

In case you are facing some difficulty in achieving the desired consistency of your sauce, you can try simmering it for a longer time period. By doing so, the excess liquid will evaporate and the sauce will thicken. Another alternative is to incorporate a thickening agent into the sauce such as pectin, gelatin, or a slurry of cornstarch whisked into juice or water. Once done, allow the sauce to cool and refrigerate it to set completely.

How to spice up canned jellied cranberry sauce?

To bring a touch of citrus to your dish, try combining 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice with 1 teaspoon of finely grated orange peel. For added sweetness, include half a can of mandarin oranges along with ½ cup of fresh pineapple. A hint of warmth and depth can be achieved by incorporating ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. To bring a touch of tartness to the mix, add ½ cup of chopped dried apricots. To give your dish some crunch, mix in ½ cup of toasted pecans. Finally, for a smooth and rich finish, add 2 tablespoons of Zinfandel wine.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this spiced cranberry-orange sauce with Zinfandel recipe will add a perfect touch to your Thanksgiving table. The use of fresh cranberries, bright citrus, and spicy cinnamon combine with the rich depth of red Zinfandel wine to create a sweet and tart flavor profile that is simply irresistible.

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it is also versatile. Feel free to make substitutions or variations using jellied cranberry, dried cranberries or pomegranate juice for a unique twist. The possibilities are endless!

Overall, with its complex flavors and bold personality, this spiced cranberry-orange sauce with Zinfandel recipe is sure to impress your guests and elevate your Thanksgiving meal to the next level. So why not give it a try? Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.

Spiced Cranberry-Orange Sauce With Zinfandel

Spiced Cranberry-Orange Sauce With Zinfandel Recipe

Ruby red, rich and spicy cranberry sauce with a bright citrus note. A sophisticated blend of flavors! Goes equally well with roast turkey, beef, or ham. Make a batch at T.G., and freeze half for X'mas. Delicious! Note: I reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup of each, and use a tablespoonful of orange zest in place of the strip as we really enjoy the orange flavor. No need to strain the syrup, just scoop out the whole spices. Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2001.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 26 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 3 cups
Calories 634.9 kcal


  • 1 3/4 cups red Zinfandel wine
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 strip orange rind (strip is 3 by 1 inch in size)
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries


  • Combine all ingredients except cranberries in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain syrup into a large saucepan.
  • Add cranberries to syrup and cook over medium heat until berries burst, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Can be made one week ahead and kept refrigerated. Freezes well.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 1156gCalories: 634.9kcalCarbohydrates: 136.2gProtein: 0.9gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 27mgFiber: 7.3gSugar: 118.7g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Easy, Sauces, Vegan
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