Roasted Cranberry Sauce

Ah, Thanksgiving. It is that time of year when I come face to face with the fact that I really don’t like cranberry sauce all that much. In fact, I think it is fair to say that I make cranberry sauce for others, meaning that I never spent much time really tasting it and coming to terms with it. As it turns out, I have a sweet tooth. Nooooo, you say. Yes, I do. And, it appears that this extends to cranberry sauce. So this year, I just kept adding it and adding it, and finally, I like cranberry sauce.

Also adding to my desire for more sugar is the use of the orange zest. Orange zest can be a bit bitter, as it is in orange marmalade. Cranberries are a bit bitter to start with. So, for me, a full ¾ cup brown sugar was necessary to bring it all into harmony. But you should taste and adjust as you like.

For this sauce I chose to roast the berries, out of curiosity as much as anything. I like this method. I like the notion of deepening the flavor of the berries and the sugar. But you can just as easily make this sauce entirely on the stove-top, just add a little water to the cranberries to start the simmering process and proceed with the rest of the recipe (you will not need to simmer for 25 minutes).

Roasted Cranberry Sauce
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1⅓ cup
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup (up to ¾ cup) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (from one orange)
  • ⅓ cup orange juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the berries and let them drain on a towel for a bit.
  2. In a small roasting dish (where the berries can be about 2 deep) mix the berries, ½ cup brown sugar and the grapeseed oil. Start with ½ cup of brown sugar. You can add more, as needed when the berries are simmered later.
  3. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the berries for 25 minutes, stirring them after 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the berries from the oven and carefully transfer them to a small saucepan.
  5. To the berries in the saucepan, add the orange juice, orange zest and cinnamon. Mix well and taste the sauce. Add the additional ¼ cup brown sugar, if needed. Cook over low heat until the cranberry sauce simmers for a few minutes and becomes thickened. Smash the berries with a potato masher or a fork as it simmers. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I froze a portion of this to get ahead of the game.

You might also like this other Cranberry Jelly recipe, as well. It is a little more basic. It is also attached to one of my favorite posts about Thanksgiving. Also, you really need this Cranberry Salsa recipe. So good.


  1. says

    Looks gorgeous! I’ve never understood why anyone would buy the canned stuff when homemade is so easy. Happy Thanksgiving, Kelly!

  2. Kelly says

    Lisa, I absolutely agree. It is the easiest part of Thanksgiving, short of putting a bowl of nuts out. I will admit that I have a nostalgic adoration for the canned stuff, but only if it is served whole, in perfect can shape on a dish. We always had the canned stuff at my grandma’s big family pot-luck style feast and it gives me a warm, happy feeling every time I see it. My kids don’t even know what it is. One of these years, I’m going to go retro and have it though. I keep saying, “next year.”

  3. Elsa says

    Kelly, I agree with you about cranberry sauce. If it had anything solid in it, I did not like it. However, that was long ago before I saw a recipe to put bourbon in the previously deested Thanksgiving dinner adornment. Voila! It is now a staple.

  4. says

    My mom always made a cranberry/orange concoction that was more of a relish: She put a bag of whole cranberries and an orange through a hand-cranked meat grinder and then just added sugar (never enough!) to taste. She also always served a can of jellied sauce, so you could see the little ribs from the can. Loved it.

  5. says

    I am with you on the sweet tooth! However, I have come to LOVE cranberries as of late after I started chopping them in half and leaving them marinade in agave syrup overnight before doing anything with them (be it a sauce or a galette). They become nice and sweet (without losing their tanginess) and without the truckload of sugar that I used to add before!

  6. Susan says

    Looks great!!! How long can this be refrigerated ahead of time? I’m trying to get started on Thanksgiving prep today and this looks so easy!

  7. Kelli says

    Marisa over at the food in jars blog uses a can to make a can formed homemade cranberry sauce. It looks retro awesome but with the deliciousness of homemade.

  8. Kelly says

    Julie, not crucial at all. Grapeseed is just my favorite oil at the moment. It doesn’t impart much of its own profile. It is low key and also has a high smoke point. But any standard vegetable oil should be ok.

  9. Kelly says

    Susan, I made mine on Saturday and tossed it in the freezer. I’ll put it in the fridge on Wednesday to let is begin to thaw. I think you would be fine if you did it today and just refrigerated it. Tomorrow, even better. But, it is a great make-ahead option. We are thinking alike. Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Kelly says

    Kelli…I love it. I was wondering if anyone make a mold, but “DUH” just form it in the can! Great idea. That is a wonderful blog.

  11. says

    It is delicious! I just finished making it and putting it in jars for tomorrow. I have a new appreciation for cranberry sauce now! I’ve always avoided the tubular kind, but tomorrow I look forward to tasting this version as it blends with all the other flavors on the plate created by Herb. Thank you Kelly!

  12. says

    Grapeseed oil is a highly processed oil, and I don’t recommend it. If you want a high heat oil, use coconut oil. Thanks for the recipe, I’m bringing it to my friend’s house this afternoon.


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