Delicious Cranberry Wine Sauce Recipe for Thanksgiving

Hark! The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the joy of spending time with loved ones and indulging in delicious treats. As a cook, one of my favorite parts of the holidays is experimenting with festive recipes that are sure to please. As I reflect on my experiences, I can unequivocally say that one of my all-time favorites is the Thanksgiving cranberry wine sauce.

This sauce is the perfect accompaniment to your holiday feast, delivering a bright acidity that cuts through the richness of hearty dishes like turkey or ham. Bursting with the tartness of fresh cranberries, this sauce strikes a beautiful balance between sweet and tangy that will satisfy your palate and leave your guests asking for more.

In this recipe, we will be using both red wine and Port wine to add complexity and depth to the flavor profile. The combination of these wines with cinnamon stick and orange peel creates an inviting aroma that will fill your household with warmth and comfort. Whether you’re looking for an impressive addition to an already substantial menu or trying to create something unforgettable, this cranberry wine sauce recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Thanksgiving Cranberry Wine Sauce
Thanksgiving Cranberry Wine Sauce

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. Today, I am going to convince you why you will absolutely adore this Thanksgiving Cranberry Wine Sauce Recipe. This recipe has the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess that will elevate your Thanksgiving menu to new heights.

Firstly, the star ingredient of this recipe is the cranberries! These little red berries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that provide numerous health benefits. Moreover, cranberries are a quintessential ingredient in any Thanksgiving meal. This recipe uses both fresh and frozen cranberries to give it a delicious flavor and brilliant color.

Secondly, you will indulge in the luxurious flavor of port wine and dry red wine, which add richness and depth to the sauce. The combination of tart cranberries and bold red wine creates a marvelous contrast that excites the taste buds. The use of cinnamon sticks, orange juice, orange zest, and brown sugar in just the right quantities enhances the flavors without overpowering the sauce.

Finally, this recipe is incredibly easy to make! You only need a few ingredients that are readily available at any local grocery store: fresh or frozen cranberries, red wine, port wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, orange juice & zest, cornstarch, and cold water. You can whip up this recipe in no time by following the simple instructions provided.

In conclusion, this Cranberry Wine Sauce Recipe is guaranteed to satisfy your craving for a sweet-tart accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey or ham. Not only is it packed with flavor and nutrients but it’s also simple and quick to prepare. So why not give it a try? Your taste buds will thank you for it!

Ingredient List

“A sweet and tangy addition to your Thanksgiving table.”

Here are the cranberry wine sauce ingredients you’ll need to make this tangy, sweet and slightly tart sauce:

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries (3 cups)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup of port wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon of orange zest
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • Pinch of ground cloves

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

Most of these ingredients can be found in your local grocery store. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries, but if using frozen, make sure to thaw them out before making the sauce. The wines used for this recipe are dry red wine and port wine, which add a depth of flavor to the cranberry sauce, as well as a bright acidity that balances out the sweetness. A cinnamon stick adds spicy warmth to the sauce and a pinch of ground cloves give a subtle hint of earthy sweetness.

The Recipe How-To

“This cranberry wine sauce is the perfect complement to your turkey.”

Step 1: Combine ingredients

To make the cranberry wine sauce, you will need to combine the following ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat:

  • 3 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1/2 cup of port wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Zest from one orange

Stir the ingredients well, and bring them to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Step 2: Add cornstarch

After 15 minutes of simmering, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Add this mixture into the saucepan, and stir well.

Bring everything back to a boil, and cook for an additional minute until the sauce has thickened.

Step 3: Cool and refrigerate

Remove the cinnamon stick from the saucepan and allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes before transferring it into a container. Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be served.

This recipe makes about 4 cups of cranberry wine sauce.

Substitutions and Variations

“Take your turkey from ordinary to extraordinary with this sauce.”

Thoroughly enjoyed making this cranberry wine sauce recipe but would like to try something different? Well, fret not! Here are a few substitutions and variations that you can incorporate into the recipe for some added pizzazz.

1. Fruit Variations: If you do not have cranberries, you can use blueberries, raspberries or blackberries for your sauce instead. Remember to adjust the sugar levels as per the fruit used.

2. Wine Substitutes: You can switch red wine for white wine or port wine depending on your preferences. For a non-alcoholic version, replace the wine with orange juice or apple cider.

3. Spices Galore: If you would like to experiment with the flavor of your sauce, add any of the following spices – cinnamon powder, ginger powder, cloves or allspice for an autumn-inspired touch.

4. Sweeteners: Instead of traditional granulated sugar, opt to use brown sugar, maple syrup or honey for some natural sweetness in your dish. Remember to compensate if using a more concentrated sweetener so that it doesn’t overpower the tartness of the cranberries.

5. Cranberry Blends: You can also mix fresh or frozen cranberries with other fruits like oranges, apples or pears for a more complex taste.

By tweaking some ingredients in this recipe of perfect cranberry wine sauce to include your unique tastes and preferences, you are sure to end up with a delightful condiment for your holiday table fare.

Serving and Pairing

“Savor the flavors of the season with each spoonful.”

Once your Thanksgiving cranberry wine sauce is ready, it’s time to think about how to serve it and what dishes to pair it with. This sauce is versatile and can be served as a condiment or topping for various dishes.

One classic way to enjoy this sauce is by serving it with turkey as a side dish. The sweet and tangy flavor of the cranberry wine sauce complements the savory taste of roasted turkey, making them a perfect pair. You can also serve this sauce with pork chops, roasted chicken, or even grilled salmon.

If you want to incorporate this sauce into your vegetarian options, you can pour it over roasted vegetables or even use it as a dip for cheese and crackers.

To elevate your pairing game, consider serving your cranberry wine sauce with a glass of dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir. The subtle acidity and fruity flavors of the wine will complement the sweetness and tartness of the cranberries in the sauce.

However, if you prefer something sweeter, try pairing this sauce with Port wine. This fortified wine has a rich and intense flavor that pairs well with the fruitiness of the cranberries.

No matter how you choose to serve and pair your Thanksgiving cranberry wine sauce, its bright acidity and festive color make it a perfect addition to any holiday meal.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Indulge in a burst of cranberry, orange, and wine flavors.”

Ah, the beauty of a make-ahead recipe such as this cranberry wine sauce! Not only does it simplify and streamline Thanksgiving Day prep, but it also means you can enjoy the delicious sauce for days to come.

To make ahead, simply follow the recipe as written, allow the sauce to cool completely, then transfer it to a container with a tight-fitting lid. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.

When ready to use, gently reheat the sauce on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through. If the sauce seems too thick, simply whisk in a bit of cold water until desired consistency is reached.

This cranberry wine sauce is incredibly versatile and pairs well with a wide range of dishes beyond Thanksgiving turkey. Spoon it over pancakes or waffles for a festive breakfast, use it to top vanilla ice cream for dessert, or spread it onto sandwiches made with leftover turkey and stuffing.

As for storage tips, be sure to keep the sauce tightly covered in an airtight container to prevent any odors from seeping in. Also be mindful of any spills or drips during reheating as cranberry can leave tough stains.

In summary, this cranberry wine sauce is an ideal make-ahead recipe that can easily be reheated and customized according to your taste preferences. Enjoy its bright acidity and rich taste whenever cravings kick in!

Tips for Perfect Results

“This sauce will have your taste buds dancing with joy.”

To ensure that your Thanksgiving cranberry wine sauce turns out perfectly every time, here are some helpful tips and tricks to follow.

Firstly, it’s important to use the correct amount of liquid. Be sure to measure out the cranberries, sugar, and wine carefully to avoid a sauce that is too thin or too thick. Adding too much liquid can make the sauce runny and lacking in flavor.

Secondly, consider using a mixture of fresh and frozen cranberries. This will give your wine cranberry sauce a nice balance of tartness and sweetness.

Next, be mindful of the cooking time. It’s important not to overcook the sauce, as this can cause it to become too thick and sticky. Keep a close eye on the pot, especially during the final stages of cooking.

To add some extra depth of flavor to your cranberry wine sauce, consider adding cinnamon or orange zest. These ingredients work wonderfully with the tartness of the cranberries and the acidity of the wine.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of wine. While dry red wine is traditionally used in this recipe, you may want to try using a sweet port wine instead for a more decadent flavor profile.

By following these tips and using high-quality ingredients, you’re sure to achieve perfect results every time you make this delicious Thanksgiving cranberry wine sauce.


Before you begin preparing your own Thanksgiving cranberry wine sauce recipe, it’s essential to address potential questions and inquiries. In this section, we will provide answers to some frequently asked questions to help you make the perfect cranberry wine sauce for your holiday feast.

What is the cranberry sauce for on Thanksgiving?

A Thanksgiving spread is incomplete without the tangy addition of cranberry sauce, which balances the richness of turkey, gravy, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.

What kind of wine goes with cranberry sauce?

Looking for a wine that complements the intense and sharp flavors of berries? Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Beaujolais, and red Burgundy are perfect matches. Their acidity and tart red fruit balance the boldness of the berries, while their bitter or floral notes add depth to the pairing. If you prefer something bubbly, try rosé Champagnes or sparkling reds – they can also be excellent choices.

Does cranberry sauce taste good with turkey?

The tart and tangy flavor of cranberries complements turkey in a way that’s comparable to the classic pairing of chicken and lemons. One can never go wrong with cranberry sauce as an accompaniment to Thanksgiving turkey, and using it in leftover turkey sandwiches is just pure perfection.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Thanksgiving Cranberry Wine Sauce Recipe is not only quick and easy to make but also adds an exciting twist to your traditional cranberry sauce. The rich, bold flavors of red wine and port wine blend perfectly with bright acidity from fresh or frozen cranberries, creating a deliciously spiced and tangy sauce that will add depth to your Thanksgiving dinner.

Whether you prefer a smooth texture or like chunks of cranberries in your sauce, this recipe can easily be customized to your liking. The versatile nature of the sauce means that it can be paired with many different dishes, including turkey, ham, pork roast, or even cheese and crackers.

Don’t settle for store-bought canned cranberry sauce or homemade cranberry relish this Thanksgiving! Give this Cranberry Wine Sauce Recipe a try, and you won’t regret it. Your guests will be left wanting more as they savor each bite of juicy turkey smothered in the sweet and tangy goodness of wine-infused cranberry sauce.

So why not surprise your guests with something unique at your Thanksgiving feast? With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, this Cranberry Wine Sauce Recipe is perfect for both novice and experienced chefs alike. Trust me; you’ll love it!

Thanksgiving Cranberry Wine Sauce

Thanksgiving Cranberry Wine Sauce Recipe

An old family favorite for Thanksgiving ham or turkey.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 3 cups
Calories 605.6 kcal


  • 3 cups cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups port wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water


  • Bring berries, sugar& wine to boil.
  • Cook 5-7 minutes or until berries' skins pop.
  • Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and stir into cranberry mixture.
  • Bring to boil, stirring constantly.
  • Pour into hot sterilized jars; seal with lids.
  • Serve warm sauce with pork or poultry.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 966gCalories: 605.6kcalCarbohydrates: 129.3gProtein: 0.6gFat: 0.1gSodium: 12.8mgFiber: 4.6gSugar: 111.5g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Berries, Easy, Fruit, Sauces, Thanksgiving
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You

None found