Simply Delicious Maple Cranberry Sauce recipe

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When in doubt, try my Maple Cranberry Sauce recipe. This sauce is a great addition to your festive table. The fusion of maple and cranberries offers a sweet and tart delight that pairs well with many dishes. It’s great for those who appreciate a twist on classic flavors. Yet, if you prefer traditional tastes, don’t forget that the essence of cranberries shines through. I’d recommend serving it with roasted meats or as a spread. It’s a good idea to store it in a cool place to preserve its freshness.

In my recent travels to Middle Eastern and European countries, I was fortunate enough to dine at various local eateries, where I indulged in various sauces and condiments. 

Maple Cranberry Sauce

Yet, upon my return, my mind constantly drifted to the Maple Cranberry Sauce I had tasted during a restaurant visit in Brussels. The tang of cranberries and the sweet depth of maple had my taste buds singing harmoniously. 

Many struggle to find the perfect sauce to accompany our holiday feasts. Whereas some sauces can be overly sweet or lack complexity, this Maple Cranberry Sauce Recipe strikes a delicate balance. 

When my kids requested a unique sauce after a friend’s dinner visit, introducing them to this harmonious blend seemed like a good idea. I recommend this recipe if you’re unsure which sauce to add to your next dinner. 

What Is Maple Cranberry Sauce?

Maple Cranberry Sauce is a delightful blend of cranberries and maple syrup, resulting in a sauce that perfectly combines tartness with a hint of sweetness. It is an excellent variation of the traditional cranberry sauce often served during festive occasions. 

This sauce comes to the rescue when you doubt adding a unique touch to your meal. Its natural ingredients, and rich flavors make it great for pairing with roasted meats, pancakes, or desserts.

My best advice? Don’t miss out on this fusion of flavors; it is better than many store-bought versions you might find.

History Of Maple Cranberry Sauce Recipe

The Maple Cranberry Sauce recipe, while not attributed to a single inventor, evolved from the culinary traditions of North America. Cranberries have been a staple among Indigenous peoples for centuries. 

Whereas the natives used them for various purposes, early European settlers adopted cranberries into their diets, creating cranberry sauces.

With the tapping of maple trees being a practice native to North America, it’s a good idea to believe that the fusion of maple syrup and cranberries was inevitable. 

Over time, as recipes traveled and merged, this sweet and tart combination gained popularity. I’d recommend trying it to appreciate its rich heritage.

Interesting Facts About Maple Cranberry Sauce Recipe

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Maple Cranberry Sauce is great for health-conscious individuals, boasting high antioxidant levels from cranberries and maple syrup.
  • North American Roots: Both cranberries and maple syrup originate from North America, making this sauce a true representation of the continent’s flavors.
  • Versatility: Whereas many sauces are specific to certain dishes, Maple Cranberry Sauce pairs well with everything from meats to desserts.
  • Natural Sweetener: It’s a good idea to note that maple syrup, a primary ingredient, is a natural alternative to refined sugars, making the sauce healthier.
  • Holiday Favorite: While popular year-round, the sauce especially shines during festive seasons.
  • Quick to Make: When in doubt about time, don’t fret; this sauce can be prepared in under 30 minutes.
  • Shelf Life: If you’re not sure about its longevity, the sauce, when stored properly, can last for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Maple Cranberry Sauce

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

While rooted in North American traditions, Maple Cranberry Sauce has seen various regional adaptations. In the Southern United States, it’s not uncommon to find a spicier version with a hint of jalapeño. 

For added depth, chefs might incorporate local berries or fruits like blackcurrants or elderberries in some European countries.

When in doubt about flavor combinations, the Middle Eastern adaptation sometimes incorporates a touch of rose water or pomegranate for an exotic twist. 

In Asian regions, pairing the sauce with a hint of ginger or star anise is a good idea. I’d recommend trying these variations to appreciate the global love for this sauce.

What Will Make You Love This Maple Cranberry Sauce Recipe?

There are several reasons to adore this Maple Cranberry Sauce recipe. Its natural sweetness from maple syrup, without artificial additives, ensures a clean and authentic flavor. The sauce perfectly balances the cranberries’ tartness and maple’s smooth sweetness

Whereas many condiments might overpower dishes, this sauce complements them beautifully. It’s excellent for those seeking a versatile sauce that can elevate savory and sweet dishes. 

When in doubt about its adaptability, remember it’s a good idea to pair it with everything from turkey to toast.

My best advice is to try it once; and its vibrant taste and texture will undoubtedly win you over. Don’t forget, it’s the simple ingredients that often leave the most lasting impression.

Maple Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients List

Fresh or Frozen Cranberries1 (12 ounce) package
Maple Syrup1 1/2 cups
Water1/3 cup

Ingredient Tips

  • Cranberry Selection: When in doubt about cranberries, always opt for firm, shiny, and deep red ones; they offer the best flavor.
  • Maple Syrup Quality: It’s a good idea to choose pure maple syrup instead of maple-flavored ones to ensure authenticity and richness.
  • Frozen Cranberries: If using frozen cranberries, you don’t need to thaw them beforehand; they can go directly into the pot.
  • Water Alternatives: Whereas water is the standard, consider using orange or apple juice for an extra flavor dimension.
  • Enhance with Zest: Add some orange or lemon zest for a citrusy hint.
  • Avoid Overcooking: Cranberries burst quickly. Watch the sauce to ensure it doesn’t become overly thick.
  • Taste and Adjust: My best advice is always to taste and adjust sweetness or tartness according to preference.

What Are The Variations Of Maple Cranberry Sauce Recipe?

  • Spiced Version: For a warming sensation, consider adding cinnamon sticks, cloves, or star anise.
  • Citrus Boost: A touch of orange or lemon zest, when in doubt, gives the sauce a refreshing twist.
  • Berry Fusion: It’s a good idea to mix in blueberries or raspberries for added complexity.
  • Alcohol Infusion: A splash of red wine or brandy can elevate the depth of flavor.
  • Nutty Touch: Whereas the sauce is typically smooth, adding chopped toasted pecans or walnuts offers a pleasant crunch.
  • Tropical Flair: Mix in some pineapple or mango chunks for an exotic taste.
  • Herbal Note: I’d recommend stirring in rosemary or thyme for an earthy undertone.
Maple Cranberry Sauce

Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • Combine fresh or frozen cranberries, maple syrup, and water in a large saucepan.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • After simmering, remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the sauce cool to room temperature.
  • Once cooled, cover the saucepan with a lid.

Ferment Method

  • While the traditional Maple Cranberry Sauce recipe doesn’t typically involve fermentation if you’re adventurous:
  • Transfer the cooled sauce to a sterilized jar, leaving an inch of headspace.
  • Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for 3-5 days.
  • Check daily for signs of fermentation, like bubbles. Once achieved, transfer to the refrigerator.


  • Refrigerate the sauce until you’re ready to serve.
  • When in doubt about how long it’s been stored, consuming within 7-10 days is a good idea for the best flavor and freshness.

Scaling The Recipe 

Scaling Up

  • If you’re hosting a larger gathering, it’s a good idea to double or even triple the ingredients. For instance, to double the quantity, use 24 ounces of cranberries, 3 cups of maple syrup, and 2/3 cup of water.

Scaling Down

  • For a smaller batch, halve the ingredients. This means 6 ounces of cranberries, 3/4 cup of maple syrup, and 1/6 cup of water.
Maple Cranberry Sauce

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads?

  • As a Marinade: Its sweet and tart profile makes it great for marinating poultry or pork. When in doubt about marination time, overnight in the refrigerator is a good idea to infuse flavors deeply.
  • Dipping Sauce: It pairs well with fried foods, cheese platters, or even grilled vegetables, offering a delightful contrast in flavors.
  • Salad Dressing: Whereas traditional dressings might be oily, this sauce can be thinned with olive oil and vinegar. It brings a sweet touch to fresh greens, especially with nuts or goat cheese salads.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Maple Cranberry Sauce Recipe?

  • Roast Turkey or Chicken: A classic pairing where the sauce complements the savory flavors brilliantly.
  • Pork Loin or Chops: The sauce’s sweetness is a great counterpoint to the rich taste of pork.
  • Brie or Camembert: When in doubt about cheese, the sauce melds well with creamy varieties.
  • Pan-seared Duck: The sauce cuts through the fattiness, enhancing the duck’s natural flavors.
  • Grilled Vegetables: It adds a refreshing touch, especially to charred veggies.
  • Sandwich Spreads: Elevate your turkey or chicken sandwiches with a smear.
  • Pancakes or Waffles: A good idea for breakfast, replacing traditional syrups.
Maple Cranberry Sauce

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Maple Cranberry Sauce Recipe?

  • Thanksgiving Turkey: A festive staple where the sauce acts as the perfect sidekick, enhancing the roasted flavors.
  • Christmas Ham: Drizzled or served alongside, it complements the saltiness of the ham.
  • Roast Chicken Dinners: A regular weekend favorite that gets elevated with this sauce.
  • Grilled Pork Tenderloin: The sauce provides a sweet crust when used as a glaze.
  • Brie Tartlets: Melted brie paired with a dollop of sauce in pastry shells.
  • Brunch Pancakes: When in doubt for a syrup substitute, this sauce delivers.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Maple Cranberry Sauce Recipe?

  • Tartness: The cranberries, the star, introduce a tangy, refreshing punch.
  • Sweetness: Maple syrup infuses the sauce with a mellow, natural sweetness, balancing the cranberry’s tart profile.
  • Earthy: The deep, woody undertones of genuine maple syrup add a rustic charm.
  • Fruity: Beyond its tartness, cranberries provide a berry-forward fruitiness.
  • Slightly Thick Consistency: The sauce, when reduced, has a velvety texture, enhancing the taste experience.
  • Warm Undertones: When in doubt about its depth, remember the caramelized notes from the maple make it resonate warmly.
Maple Cranberry Sauce

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

Yes, the Maple Cranberry Sauce is great for storage and preservation. After cooking, allow it to cool to room temperature. Transfer the sauce into airtight jars or containers. When stored in the refrigerator, it typically lasts 10-14 days

It’s a good idea to freeze the sauce for longer storage, extending its life to several months. When in doubt about its quality after prolonged storage, check for any off-odors or mold growth before consumption. 

My best advice is to label and date the containers to track their shelf life. Proper storage ensures the sauce retains its flavor and freshness for future enjoyment.

What Are The Substitutes For Maple Cranberry Sauce Recipe? 

  • Honey Cranberry Sauce: Replace maple syrup with honey for a sweet, floral undertone.
  • Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce: Brown sugar offers a molasses-rich depth. It’s a good idea to pair it with a touch of vanilla.
  • Orange Cranberry Sauce: Add orange zest and juice, reducing the water content, for a citrusy kick.
  • Apple Cranberry Sauce: Introduce apple cider or finely chopped apples for a fruity variation.
  • Spiced Cranberry Sauce: Whereas maple adds sweetness, spices like cinnamon and cloves provide warmth.
  • Rosemary Cranberry Sauce: Fresh rosemary offers an aromatic, herbal touch.
  • Agave Cranberry Sauce: Use agave nectar as a natural sweetener alternative.
Maple Cranberry Sauce

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce?

  • Too Thin: If unsure about its thickness, simmer the sauce for an extended period, allowing more liquid to evaporate. This concentrates flavors and thickens them.
  • Too Thick: Add small amounts of water, juice, or broth and stir well. Adding gradually until the desired consistency is achieved is a good idea.
  • Smoothness: Use a blender or immersion blender to puree the sauce for a smoother texture.
  • Chunky Texture: Whereas some prefer a smooth sauce, you can mash the cranberries less during cooking for a chunkier result.
  • Gelling: Remember, cranberries contain natural pectin. As the sauce cools, it will naturally thicken.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm?

Maple cranberry sauce can be served either cold or warm, depending on personal preference and the overall meal.

Serving it cold straight from the refrigerator highlights its refreshing and tangy qualities, making it a suitable accompaniment for a chilled turkey sandwich or as a contrast to warm, roasted dishes. 

However, warming the sauce slightly on low heat can intensify its flavors, enhancing the sweetness of the maple and the tartness of the cranberries.

This warm version pairs exceptionally well with hot turkey, mashed potatoes, and other traditional Thanks giving dishes. 

Maple Cranberry Sauce

Nutritional Values

Maple Cranberry Sauce is a delightful treat for the palate and offers some nutritional benefits. Rich in antioxidants from cranberries, it helps combat oxidative stress.

The natural sugars from maple syrup provide quick energy, whereas the minimal dietary fiber from cranberries aids digestion. 

Additionally, the sauce offers a small boost of Vitamin C, beneficial for immune health. However, consuming in moderation is a good idea due to the sugar content.

What Are The Total Calories In Maple Cranberry Sauce?

Maple Cranberry Sauce is a delightful addition to any holiday or special occasion meal. This sweet and tangy sauce combines the vibrant flavors of fresh or frozen cranberries with the rich sweetness of maple syrup. 

The cranberries provide a burst of tartness, while the maple syrup adds a comforting and warm sweetness.

With just a touch of water to balance the consistency, this sauce is a versatile accompaniment that complements roasted meats, turkey, or even a dessert topping

With approximately 1,044 calories in the whole batch, savoring this treat in moderation is essential. Still, its delicious blend of flavors makes it a must-have for any festive feast.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Maple Cranberry Sauce

  • Vegan: Suitable, as it doesn’t contain animal products.
  • Vegetarian: Also suitable, as it’s plant-based.
  • Gluten-Free: Inherently free from gluten, but always check maple syrup labels for additives.
  • Paleo: Not entirely compliant due to the processed nature of maple syrup.
  • Keto/Low-Carb: Not ideal, as maple syrup is high in sugars.
  • Diabetic: High sugar content from maple syrup may impact blood sugar levels.
  • Nut-Free: Safe, unless cross-contaminated.
  • Dairy-Free: Contains no dairy ingredients.
  • Whole30: Not compliant due to the sweetener.

Nutrition Table 

Maple Cranberry Sauce

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Overcooking the Cranberries: Doing so can lead to a mushy texture. They should pop and soften but not dissolve entirely.
  • Too Much Sweetener: It’s easy to overdo the maple syrup. Too much can mask the tartness of the cranberries.
  • Not Tasting As You Go: Adjust the sweet-to-tart ratio based on your preference. Always taste and adjust.
  • Skipping the Water: While it might seem unnecessary, water helps prevent the cranberries from burning before they release their juices.
  • Not Letting It Cool: The sauce thickens as it cools. If you’re unsure about its consistency when hot, remember it’ll be thicker once cooled.
  • Using Low-Quality Maple Syrup: It’s a good idea to use pure maple syrup for the best flavor. Artificial or pancake syrups won’t provide the same depth.
  • Neglecting to Stir: Especially in the beginning, it’s crucial to stir occasionally to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

  • Yogurt Parfait: Layer with granola and yogurt for a breakfast treat.
  • Smoothie Booster: Blend with other fruits for added flavor.
  • Oatmeal Topping: Stir into morning oats for a fruity twist.
  • Spread for Toast: Smear on bread or muffins, great for a quick snack.
  • Dessert Topping: Drizzle over ice cream or cheesecake.
  • Sandwich Spread: Jazz up turkey or chicken sandwiches.
  • Muffin Mix-in: Incorporate into muffin batter for fruity bites.
  • Beverage Stir-In: Mix into teas or cocktails for a sweet-tart kick.
  • Salad Dressing Base: Blend with vinegar and oil for a unique vinaigrette.
  • Chicken or Pork Glaze: Brush on meats before roasting for a sweet finish.
Maple Cranberry Sauce

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Large Saucepan: Essential for cooking the cranberries and ensuring even heat distribution.
  • Wooden Spoon: Useful for stirring and preventing sticking.
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons: For precise ingredient portions.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: If you prefer a smoother sauce, this helps remove skin.
  • Immersion Blender: Alternatively, to achieve a smoother consistency.
  • Heatproof Bowl: For transferring and cooling the sauce.
  • Airtight Containers or Jars: For storing leftovers or if you’re preparing in advance.
  • Thermometer: While not mandatory, it can help gauge temperature, especially if reducing the sauce to a specific consistency.
  • Ladle: Convenient for pouring and serving.
  • Citrus Zester: If adding citrus notes or variations to the recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Frozen Cranberries Instead Of Fresh Ones?

Yes, you can use frozen cranberries without the need to thaw them. Both fresh and frozen cranberries work well in this recipe.

How Long Can I Store The Sauce In The Refrigerator?

The sauce can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container.

Can I Add Spices Or Other Flavors To The Sauce?

Absolutely. Cinnamon, nutmeg, or citrus zest are popular additions that can add depth to the sauce’s flavor.

Why Is My Sauce Too Runny?

The sauce tends to thicken as it cools. However, if it’s still too thin after cooling, you can simmer it for 5-10 minutes to reduce it further.

Can I Freeze The Maple Cranberry Sauce For Later Use?

Yes, the sauce freezes well. Store in an airtight container, leaving some space for expansion, and it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

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5 from 2 votes
Course: Sauces


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Maple Cranberry Sauce is a delightful blend of tart cranberries and sweet maple syrup, creating a harmonious burst of flavors perfect for enhancing any dish. Its rich hue and velvety texture make it a visual and palatable treat.


  • 12 ounce 12 Fresh or Frozen Cranberries

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 Maple Syrup

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 Water

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation: Gather all your ingredients – fresh or frozen cranberries, maple syrup, and water.
  • Combining Ingredients: In a large saucepan, pour the maple syrup and water. Add the cranberries to the mixture.
  • Boiling: Place the saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Simmering: Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered.
  • Stirring: During the simmering process, which should last about 20 minutes, stir the mixture occasionally. This will ensure even cooking and prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Cooling: After simmering, remove the saucepan from heat. Let the sauce cool to room temperature.
  • Storing: Transfer the sauce into an airtight container or jar once cooled.
  • Refrigeration: Cover the container and refrigerate the sauce. It will thicken slightly as it cools.
  • Serving: When ready to serve, remove the sauce from the fridge. It can be enjoyed cold or brought to room temperature for a softer consistency.

Recipe Video


  • Quality Matters: Opt for pure maple syrup for authentic flavor.
  • Texture: Sauce thickens upon cooling, so don’t be alarmed if it seems thin when hot.
  • Variations: Feel free to add spices or citrus zest for added depth.
  • Storage: In an airtight container, it lasts up to two weeks in the fridge and can be frozen for a longer shelf life.
  • Serving: Best served at room temperature or slightly chilled.

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