This stunning Apple Cranberry Sauce has a hint of crisp, clean apple flavor and is naturally-sweetened with apple cider and maple syrup. It's my favorite twist on traditional cranberry sauce and is an easy, make-ahead side dish!
It's day 3 of Thanksgiving Week, and I hope you've been getting some great inspiration from the recipes, menu planner, and tips for keeping it simple! So far this week, we've made Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Cider Gravy, and Roasted Sprouts and Squash with Warm Pomegranate Bacon Dressing. Today, we are rounding out the menu with a twist on a traditional Thanksgiving classic: cranberry sauce!
I just love, love, LOVE cranberry sauce. There is something so elegant about it, yet it is probably the simplest side that graces the Thanksgiving table. It's a stunner, to be sure, and there are so many delicious versions of it out there! I've tried my fair share and enjoyed them all, but I have to say that this Apple Cranberry Sauce is my favorite.
I'm a purist when it comes to cranberry sauce - I don't particularly care for versions that are heavily-spiced or flavored to the point that you barely taste the cranberries. In this apple version, the clean, crisp flavor of an apple and apple cider actually enhance the flavor of the tart cranberries. Maple syrup adds depth to the flavor and also acts as a natural sweetener. The cinnamon stick is optional - and sometimes I prefer to just leave it out! I think the cranberry sauce tastes better on leftover turkey sandwiches without any cinnamon flavor. But you do you!
Of course, another factor that makes cranberry sauce the real MVP side is that it can be made in advance - way in advance if needed! And once the big turkey feast is finished, there are SO many ways to use up the leftovers! Some of my favorite ways to use up the leftovers of this Apple Cranberry Sauce are:
- Using it as a topper for oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles
- Swirling it into cake or muffin batter before baking
- Spreading it on turkey sandwiches
- Including it as a condiment on a cheese board
- Layered in a yogurt and granola parfait
And I'm sure you can think of more creative ways to use it! I hope you get a chance to try it this holiday season. For more Thanksgiving inspiration, be sure to check out my Thanksgiving page, and sign up for my weekly newsletter for exclusive helpful holiday content!
Are you ready to get make this Apple Cranberry Sauce? I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe below. This will help me with the creation of future recipes! I’d also love to feature your creation in my monthly newsletter, so you can upload a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the tag @sweetcayenne5 to be featured!
Apple Cranberry Sauce
- 1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked through
- 1 large Macintosh apple, peeled, cored and diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup apple cider
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 whole cinnamon stick (optional)
- Combine the cranberries, apple, cider, maple syrup, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer over low heat, and cook until almost all of the cranberries have burst and the mixture is thickened.
- Remove from heat and let cool; the mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the cranberry sauce to a serving dish or to a container for storing in the refrigerator.
- Cranberries will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
- Make it diabetic-friendly: use sugar-free maple syrup and dilute 1/2 the apple cider with water.
- Nutrition information based on 8 servings (3 tablespoons is a serving):
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