Spiced Cranberry Sauce

I would love to be bringing you my mother’s cranberry sauce recipe but unfortunately and despite my very best efforts, I’m unable to.  You see, it has to be made with either fresh or frozen cranberries and while that might seem simple enough, it actually isn’t – not in this part of the world, anyway.  Fresh cranberries aren’t available and as for the frozen, there was a company that sold frozen cranberries that we used successfully but this year I’ve found they’ve deleted them from their line.  So annoying!

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

But Aussies don’t go down without a fight and so I endeared myself to the dried variety.  Being dried they are not as colourful as their fresh and frozen cousins and so you don’t get that vibrant, crimson hue to your sauce.  But the flavour is still there and I’ve come up with a recipe that spices these up and would be just wonderful on your Christmas table with turkey or other poultry or served as an appetiser with a slice of brie

Last month Claire organised a Foodie Secret Santa.  I had three bloggers to send a gift to and I sent them this spiced cranberry sauce.  I hope they can use this sauce at their Christmas events.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

In the Secret Santa I received some wonderful home-baked gifts.  Claire sent me a beautifully presented gift box filled with some choc-crunch cookies that have a wonderful flavour and texture and have been quite an after-dinner treat.  She also included a rosemary lemon salt in a gorgeous jar that will be lovely for roasting lamb, chicken or vegetables.

Inside the box is some choc-crunch cookies and a jar of rosemary lemon salt

Inside the box is some choc-crunch cookies and a jar of rosemary lemon salt

I also received some lovely honey mustard for my Christmas ham.  Perfect timing as I’m cooking a ham on Christmas Eve.

Honey Mustard

Honey Mustard – love the hand writing!

Today in the post I received another gift; some shortbread, almond butter crunch and fruity Christmas biscotti.   I have no idea who sent them but I love the way the gifts were packaged – gorgeous swing tickets.

Biscotti, shortbread and almond butter crunch

Biscotti, shortbread and almond butter crunch – a lovely variety of treats

If you’d like to make your own cranberry sauce, here’s a recipe that works if you can only source dried cranberries.  It tastes better with resting so best to make this a few days ahead of the big day.  As it cooks it sends a wonderful aroma through the kitchen and certainly let’s you know, the festive season is well and truly upon us.

Perfect with poultry or a cheese platter

Perfect with poultry or a cheese platter

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Makes:  6 cups

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Medium expense.  It really depends how much you have to pay for the cranberries.  I paid $20/kg for dried cranberries.

  • 6 cups dried cranberries
  • juice of 4 oranges
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large green apples peeled, cored and diced (I used Granny Smith)
  • 2/3 cup masala
  • 1 tbspn freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg
  • 1/4 tspn ground cloves

Place cranberries in a colander and rinse.  Transfer to a heatproof bowl and pour over hot water.  Allow to rest for an hour.

Drain cranberries and place in a large saucepan with the remaining ingredients.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thick and syrupy.

Taste.  If too sweet, add more lemon juice.  If too tart, add more sugar.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Spiced cranberry sauce

Spiced cranberry sauce

Do hop over to Claire’s blog to see what other goodies were given in the Foodie Secret Santa.


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  1. Well even though you had to use the dried cranberries, I would have never guessed by the looks of it. Looks fabulous! And I love the packaging. 🙂

  2. So annoying how hard it is to get cranberries!! I know Whole Foods sells them frozen, but I suppose you don’t have them there. Sigh. You did an awesome job with the dried variety, though!

  3. Wow – this sauce looks and sounds wonderful – hard to tell you used dried cranberries in it! Love your addition of apples in it!

  4. They are so beautiful dear Charlie, Thank you, love, nia

  5. You are not going to like reading this: Right now, in my refrigerator, are three bags of fresh cranberries.

    If only you lived nearer…

  6. I can imagine it’s incredibly annoying not to get something when needed, but using dried ones is a very creative solution!

  7. What a lovely and different recipe for cranberry sauce. I love the idea of the masala. And finally, only in the last couple of years, I can find frozen cranberries here in San Miguel!

  8. Your jars are lovely. I’m pretty sure they have both frozen and fresh cranberries in my grocery store but cranberry sauce wasn’t a part of my family’s menu growing up. I think my mom started buying the cans for my nephew when he got old enough to ask for it. I still have a jar of the jelly only version tucked up in the back of my pantry. I should really think of something to do with it. Maybe I’ll make some ground turkey meatballs and use it as the glaze. 🙂

  9. Oh my! What beautiful gifts, Charlie! Aren’t you the clever one to figure out dried cranberry sauce. I looked for frozen berries up here and couldn’t find them either.

  10. How gorgeous, and what beautiful gifts. Going to make cranberry sauce this afternoon now!

  11. I’m glad you liked my foodie secret Santa gift, and it seems that I was very secret. Thank you so much for the sauce! We’re picking up our ham today and can’t wait to try it.

  12. I love how you didn’t give up Charlie! I’m also a very determined person, but if you ask BigJ he calls it stubbornness- I think he’s just jealous of such a positive personality trait 🙂 xox

  13. Your cranberry sauce looks delish! Might be worth giving Oriental and Continental Foods in Artarmon a call – I’ve seen frozen cranberries there before (but I haven’t been in for a few years). I wonder if Costco stock them?

  14. I saw some frozen cranberries yesterday at the Russian food shop at Eastlakes shopping centre (they have some amazing things). Might be a bit too far from you. I bought some last year, or maybe the year before, in December at Aldi. Just setting off for Costco so I’ll check them!

    • Hi Melissa, do let me know if you find them in Costco. Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial has let me know there is a place in Artarmon that has them so next year, I’ll head over there as it’s not too far from home. Have a lovely Christmas.

  15. Wish I could send you some fresh cranberries! They’re in surplus here and I don’t even buy them. Quite sad. Your cranberry sauce looks fabulous even with the dried variety. And what lovely gifts you got in the mail. So much fun!

  16. Oh I wonder who sent those biscuits! oops just read that they were from Clare! 😀

  17. I’m sure that when I was managing the fresh produce market that I saw some fresh cranberries one Christmas, but my colleague at the Sydney Markets said they would have been imported. I haven’t seen them since. Love the look of your cranberry sauce xox

  18. You are so creative. I knew you would find a way to solve the lack of fresh or frozen cranberry problem.

  19. What a lovely version of secret Santa. Your blogging friends are very creative.
    You are very smart to think of using the dried cranberries.

  20. Ooh yum Charlie! That looks wonderful and I love the Santa tags. Glad my gift made it intact!
    Don’t forget to link up to the hop so everyone can find your recipe x

  21. you certainly received some wonderful goodies Charlie! I would’ve loved to receive one of your sauces, looks divine! x

  22. Charlie, your post prompted me to look in my freezer and, yes, lurking at the back is a pack of frozen cranberries (best before date January 2008, yikes). Pity that Creative Gourmet no longer have these. However, I found this site which may be of interest:


    Will be making this sauce now that I have found your recipe. Have a lovely Christmas.

    • Hi Carmen, glad to know you’re going to make the sauce. And yes, such a shame about Creative Gourmet – I rang them to let them know how disappointed I am. You have a lovely Christmas too.

    • Thanks so much, Carmen, that’s very helpful. I phoned Creative Gourmet and let them know how disappointed I was that they have discontinued the frozen cranberries. You would think they could supply them for a few months leading up to Christmas.

  23. What a gorgeous gift and very creative to come up with a viable alternative. I love the beautiful gift exchanges you were involved in, I’ll miss our secret Santa this year, but I know our pocket books won’t!

  24. That’s horrible! Why would they not give you cranberries?

    You won my giveaway, by the way! Where would you like me to send the book?


  25. I have had such trouble getting cranberries I had to resort to the bought variety!! Note to self: source cranberries during the year and make preserve well in advance. thanks for the recipe.

  26. Thank you for the sauce, I can’t wait to open it for Christmas Lunch! I had to giggle when I received the package as you live just around the corner from me ;D I still have some Creative Gourmet frozen cranberries in my freezer from last year, please tell me they haven’t discontinued them, I miss fresh ones so much! Best wishes for a very merry xmas to you and your family. xx

    • I know! I would have delivered it except you have a PO Box address. Great to know we’re neighbours! I’ll be looking out for you from now on. Yes, Creative Gourmet has discontinued cranberries. I can’t believe it. I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas and enjoy the cranberry sauce xx

  27. Your sauce looks very impressive given you didn’t have optimal berries to work with! I hadn’t realised the frozen cranberries had been dropped – what a shame. Thanks for letting us know it’s possible to get great results with the dry variety 🙂

  28. What beautiful packaging, Charlie! Your cranberry sauce looks terrific as do the yummy food gifts you received. Such a fun exchange 🙂

  29. Finding specific ingredients can be a chore, but you are so resourceful! I like the idea of using masala for the spice, that would be quite unique compared to most of the recipes I’ve seen. I love condiments like this with brie or goat cheese, it makes a special holiday buffet. Well done, Charlie. 🙂

  30. This sounds great! Do you think I could use fresh berries instead as I CAN get them here?!

  31. Lovely gifts Charlie, how fabulous. I bet that mustard honey is divine. Your cranberry sauce looks delicious, I’m amazed that frozen cranberries are so hard to find, but you’ve certainly made up for it. GG xx

  32. Cranberries during the holidays are the only thing I miss since moving to Australia! When I lived in the US you would walk in the grocery store and there would be mounds of fresh cranberries!! I think I found a source for frozen cranberries ($8.50/kg) in Perth and I look forward to cooking with whole cranberries again soon. However, this does look delicious and I’m going to save it so I always have an alternate plan! Thank you!

  33. Hi Charlie 🙂 I’m back oh gosh I’ve missed reading your blog hehe stupid Laptop issues and I’m sure you know how i feel! I actually never thought of it that way…fresh and frozen cranberrys are so hard to find in Australia and it never really clicked with me that I have probably never seen or had a fresh cranberry hehe

    Great recipe and I love the little tags you put on the jars 🙂

  34. Thanks so much Charlie, I received a jar of your fabulous Spiced Cranberry Sauce. It is going down a treat with ham at lunch time at the moment. I hadn’t thought of pairing it with Brie, that would be lovely too. I was trying to pinpoint one of the flavors in it and I think it is the ginger. I really like the zing it adds. Thanks again and I hope that you have a beautiful Christmas.

  35. What we take for granted! I’ve 2 bags of cranberries in my freezer in the basement and another half in my fridge’s freezer compartment. Believe me, if I could, I’d send you some Charlie. I recently sent a CD to a friend in Canada and it took 3 weeks to arrive. If that’s any indication, it would take a couple months for a package to reach you in Oz. I must say that your Mum’s recipe sounds like a great sauce. That spice combination is one I’d never think to try with cranberries — but I’m anxious to give it a try. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  36. this sauce sounds delicious! I love the idea of a foodie secret santa! I’m going to have to organise that next year!

  37. I’ve never used dried cranberries for a sauce before (getting fresh cranberries is not a problem for us; we’re lucky). But I love the combo of flavors. Never thought to use Marsala in this sort of sauce, but I like the idea. Really nice – thanks.

  38. My goodness but you’re creative, Charlie! To think you came up with an alternative to fresh or frozen cranberries is quite a testament to your abilities, I would think! I’ve never heard of using dried, but I think you’re on to something. What a delightful gift it makes, too. The Marsala is a great addition, and I like the green apples. This is an impressive cranberry sauce! Yum!

  39. Way to get creative! You know, in the summer time when I crave cranberry sauce….this is the perfect recipe to make! Beautiful flavors, delicious recipe! Hugs, Terra

  40. Love this, Charlie, and your jars look magnificent!

    Best wishes for the festive season!xx

  41. Hi Charlie,
    Love you blog!
    Can you please post your mum’s recipe too?
    We can get frozen cranberries in Melbourne! It is available from specialty fruit and veg shops and gourmet supermarkets!
    Thank You

    • Hi Lily, lovely to hear from you. Here’s the recipe:

      400g frozen cranberries
      3/4 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
      1 tbspn orange zest
      2 tbspn masala
      1/2 cup castor sugar
      1 stick cinnamon
      2 cloves

      Place everything in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves and cook for a further 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature.

      I hope you have time to make this and that it goes well with your turkey. Have a very Merry Christmas xx

  42. What delicious sauces and other goodies you have there, Charlie. Love it!

  43. I’m making mine this week. It’s very similar to yours. Fortunately we have fresh cranberries available. It’s my favorite dish this time if year. I’ve never put apple in mine…I like that idea!

  44. i have never had cranberry sauce with my turkey before, maybe i need to change that


  1. […] available.  Last year I had a situ where I wasn’t able to source frozen cranberries and so made the sauce using dried cranberries.  That worked well and the recipe is on my blog but I do prefer the more vibrant and reddish […]

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