Side dishes

Brandied Cranberries

This cranberry dish will wow your guests! Baked with sugar then, finished with orange zest, orange juice, and brandy. Slightly sweet and tangy with a kick from the brandy. Make it ahead for your Thanksgiving feast, or use it in cocktails and baked brie.

Who’s a cranberry fan? Well, you must be if you’re reading this post. I am, too! These brandied cranberries are a hit with my family and friends. Everyone always wants the recipe, even the cranberry haters. But what’s to hate? It’s fresh and couldn’t be any easier to make; you can make it ahead, and it will look beautiful on your holiday table.

I’ll admit I have never tried canned cranberries! I’m not knocking them, but I can’t get past the appearance. Anything that’s “jellied” has me wincing. Every year Mom made these cranberries, and as a young kid, I always thought she was so cool letting me eat fruit with booze. It’s the only one I have ever made 🙂

What’s the tasty difference about this brandied cranberry recipe?

The zest, juice, and brandy are added after it cooks in the oven, creating more intense flavors rather than putting it all in a saucepan to cook down. Also, it’s more of a chunky style, almost like a chutney, which makes an excellent sauce for baked brie or as a stuffing for pork or chicken. Stay tuned!

And why is it we always wait a whole year to make them? Cranberries can be a year-round treat, but getting them fresh only comes around this time of year. So this year, I finally stocked up and bought 8 bags, which can be frozen for up to 12 months! Cranberries can be used in anything from cocktails to dessert or if you’re craving a holiday meal more than once a year!

What’s your favorite side dish at Thanksgiving? Mine is undoubtedly the stuffing with loads of gravy…yummy yum. I’ll be sharing both of those very soon. I make them up days ahead; a great time saver! I hope you try these brandied cranberries! And if you do, make sure to come back and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

xx T

Ingredients for brandied cranberries

A Few Notes On The Ingredients

Brandy ~ Cognac can also be used

Cranberries ~ use fresh, not frozen

Sugar ~ I have only used white.

Orange juice and zest ~ Adds brightness, and pairs perfectly with the brandy and cranberries

Bowl of brandied cranberries

Make These Cranberryies Ahead

Making or prepping food ahead for any meal is a top priority for me, even if it’s just my hubby and me, but crucial for any dinner parties or holidays I’m hosting. I will plan the whole meal, from appetizer to dessert, based on what or how I can do most of the prep ahead of time.

You can make these cranberries ahead as far as five days! Super satisfying when you can cross that off your list 5 days before your feast! I store them in a dish I will serve them in and cover them with plastic wrap. Take out at least an hour before serving to come to room temperature.

This year, as I mentioned, I bought 8 bags of cranberries. I made them today, cooled them completely, and stored them in freezer bags. First time doing this, and I will let you know how it turns out. The texture might be off, but I planned to have extra in the freezer for all the leftovers.

Sheet pan with cranberries and sugar

How To Make Brandied Cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and lightly grease a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  • Place cranberries on a prepared baking sheet, pick out any blemished ones and discard. Even sprinkle the sugar over all the cranberries. No need to mix; cover with foil and place in the oven for about 1 hour. NOTE: if your cranberries are frozen, you’ll want to take the foil off the last 5 or 10 minutes of cooking to cook off the extra moisture.
  • Remove from the oven and remove the foil to let the steam out. Sprinkle orange zest, orange juice, and brandy over cranberries and stir to combine. At this point, you can taste it. Does it need more sugar or zest? Or a little more kick from the brandy, perhaps? It’s your sauce; make it the way you like it!
  • It will thicken as it cools. Once cooled, store in an air-tight container until ready to serve. Ta-da! wasn’t that so easy? remember to let them come to room temperature before serving.
close up with brandied cranberries

Other Thanksgiving Favorites You May Like- Make Ahead Too!

Make ahead Turkey Gravy

Turkey Stuffing With Red Wine & Golden Raisins

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Close up with brandied cranberries and sugared orange peel slices
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Brandied Cranberries


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  • Author: Teri Wallingford
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x

Description

This cranberry dish will wow your guests! Baked with sugar, then finished with orange zest, orange juice, and brandy. Slightly sweet and tangy with a kick from the brandy. Make it ahead for your Thanksgiving feast, or use it in cocktails and baked brie.


Ingredients

Scale

212 oz bags fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar ( more if need for desired sweetness)

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice ( about 1/2 of a medium orange) *see note

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 tablespoons brandy ( or cognac)


Instructions

Pre heat your oven to 350 degree F, and lightly grease a sheet pan with non stick cooking spray.

  • Place cranberries on a prepared baking sheet, pick out any that appear blemished and discard. Evenly sprinkle the sugar over all the cranberries. No need to mix; cover with foil and place in the oven for about 1 hour. NOTE: if your cranberries were frozen, you might want to take the foil off the last 5 or 10 minutes of cooking to cook off the extra moisture.
  • Remove from the oven and remove the foil to let the steam out. Sprinkle orange zest, orange juice, and brandy over cranberries, and stir to combine. At this point, you can taste it. Does it need more sugar or zest? or a little more kick from the brandy, perhaps? It’s your sauce; make it the way you like it!
  • It will thicken as it cools. Once cooled, store in an air-tight container until ready to serve. Ta-da! wasn’t that so easy? remember to let them come to room temperature before serving.

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Notes

* it’s much easier to zest the orange before you squeeze it for the juice

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: side
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

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