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).

Recipe for Roasted Cranberry Sauce: (yield 1⅓ cups)


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.

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