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Easy Sweet & Savory Homemade Cranberry Recipes

Discover the vibrant world of cranberry recipes that go beyond the holiday table. From sweet treats to savory dishes, explore unique ways to enjoy these tart berries in your everyday cooking.

sugared cranberries

Cranberries, with their vibrant red hue and distinct tartness, go beyond the typical Thanksgiving meal. They’re not just a seasonal side dish; these versatile fruits can be enjoyed in a variety of creative ways throughout the year. 

From sweet and tangy cranberry muffins and our viral cranberry cake recipe to savory
cranberry balsamic glazed salmon, their unique sweet-tart flavor profile adds a delightful twist to a variety of dishes. 

Adding these tart little berries to your kitchen brings in a pop of color, flavor, and versatility. We’ll show you that these berries aren’t just for the holiday season

These easy cranberry recipes are all of our favorite ways to enjoy this underrated fall fruit. 

cranberry layer cake

Can You Use Fresh Cranberries in Baking Recipes?

Fresh cranberries can be used in baking recipes to add a burst of tartness, vibrant color, and a unique flavor to various dishes.

Here are some fun ways to use cranberries: 

Muffins and Quick Breads:

Incorporate fresh cranberries into muffin or quick bread batter for a burst of flavor and texture. Popular combinations include orange-cranberry, lemon-cranberry, or cranberry-nut variations.

cranberry orange muffins


Add fresh cranberries to cookie dough for a tart and sweet twist. White chocolate cranberry cookies are a classic example, combining the sweetness of white chocolate with the tartness of fresh cranberries.

Cakes and Cupcakes:

Fresh cranberries can be folded into cake or cupcake batters for a delightful and festive touch. Consider pairing them with citrus flavors or spices for a well-balanced taste.

cranberry layer cake

Bars and Squares:

Create bars or squares with fresh cranberries as a key ingredient. Cranberry oat bars or cranberry almond squares are excellent options that showcase the versatility of fresh cranberries.

Pies and Galettes:

 Fresh cranberries can be used in delicious pie fillings for galettes, providing a tart contrast to sweet fillings. Combine them with other fruits like fresh apples or oranges for a well-balanced flavor profile.

Scones and Biscuits:

Fresh cranberries add a delightful tartness to scones or biscuits. Pair them with citrus zest or incorporate them into a buttery biscuit dough for a flavorful treat.

Additionally, you can use fresh cranberries as a garnish or topping for cheesecakes, tarts, and other desserts for a burst of color and flavor.

Cranberry Fluff Salad

Savory Delights: Cranberries Beyond the Dessert Table

Fresh cranberries can elevate your savory dishes beyond the dessert table, bringing a burst of tartness and vibrant color to a variety of savory delights. 

Cranberry Glazed Chicken:

Create a savory and slightly sweet glaze for chicken by combining fresh cranberries with balsamic vinegar, honey, and herbs. Roast or grill the chicken for a delicious main course that balances savory and tart flavors.

Quinoa Salad with Cranberries:

Add a pop of color and texture to your quinoa salad by tossing in fresh cranberries. Their tartness complements the nutty flavor of quinoa, creating a refreshing and wholesome side dish.

Cranberry and Walnut Stuffing:

Upgrade your holiday feast by incorporating fresh cranberries into your stuffing recipe. Their burst of flavor adds a delightful contrast to the savory notes of the stuffing, creating a perfect accompaniment to roasted meats.

Cranberry Brie Bites:

Impress your guests with cranberry brie bites as a delightful appetizer. Top crispy crostini or crackers with creamy brie cheese and a spoonful of fresh cranberry relish for a harmonious blend of flavors.

Spinach and Cranberry Salad:

Transform your salad into a vibrant masterpiece by adding fresh cranberries to a bed of fresh spinach. Toss in some toasted nuts, feta cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette for a refreshing and visually appealing dish.

Turkey and Cranberry Panini:

Put a twist on the classic leftover turkey sandwiches by incorporating fresh cranberries into a
turkey and cranberry panini. The combination of savory turkey, creamy cheese, and tart cranberries makes for a delightful lunch or dinner option.

Recipes Using Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Jellied cranberry sauce is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes, both sweet and savory. Here are a few ideas of how to use cranberry sauce in recipes

Cranberry Meatballs:

Make a savory and sweet sauce by combining jellied cranberry sauce with chili sauce and a bit of Worcestershire sauce. Pour the sauce over cooked meatballs and simmer until they are heated through. Serve as a festive party appetizer.


Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip:

Mix jellied cranberry sauce with cream cheese, orange zest, and a touch of honey. Serve this delicious cranberry cream cheese dip with crackers or sliced baguette for a sweet and creamy appetizer.

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce: 

Combine jellied cranberry sauce with barbecue sauce, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of smoked paprika. Use this flavorful sauce to glaze grilled or roasted meats, such as ribs or chicken.

Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies:

Incorporate jellied cranberry sauce into thumbprint cookie dough. After baking the cookies, fill the thumbprints with a dollop of additional cranberry sauce for a delightful sweet treat.

Relevant Recipes

FAQs About What To Do With Cranberries

What pairs well with cranberries?

Explore flavor combinations that complement cranberries, such as orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. These spices and fruits are the perfect complement to the overall taste of cranberry recipes.

Is it better to bake with fresh or frozen cranberries?

When deciding whether to use fresh or frozen cranberries in baking, consider your desired outcome.

Fresh cranberries, with their crisp texture and pronounced tartness, are an excellent choice for those seeking a bold cranberry flavor and are available during the fall and early winter.

On the other hand, frozen cranberries offer year-round convenience and a slightly softer texture when thawed, making them a practical option when fresh berries are not in season. 

Can I substitute dried cranberries for fresh ones in recipes?

Yes, you can substitute dried cranberries for fresh ones in many recipes. Keep in mind that dried cranberries are sweeter and have a chewier texture. Adjust the quantity and sugar levels accordingly.

How can I prevent cranberries from sinking to the bottom of muffins or cakes?

Toss cranberries in a small amount of flour before adding them to the batter. This helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom during baking.

sugared cranberries

Can I use frozen cranberries in baking?

 Yes, you can use frozen cranberries in baking. Keep them frozen until you’re ready to use them, and avoid thawing them before incorporating them into the recipe to prevent excess moisture.

How do I store fresh cranberries?

Store fresh cranberries in the refrigerator in their original packaging or a breathable container. You can also freeze bags of fresh cranberries for longer storage.

How do I sweeten cranberry recipes without using too much sugar?

You can balance the tartness of cranberries by using natural sweeteners like honey, pure maple syrup, or fresh orange juice. Adjust the amount of sugar to your taste.

cranberry orange cupcake

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The Best Cranberry Recipes

easy recipes with fresh cranberries

Discover the vibrant world of cranberry recipes that go beyond the holiday table. From sweet treats to savory dishes, explore unique ways to enjoy these tart berries in your everyday cooking.

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