Make Ahead Baked Cranberry Sauce

What a week, right? Is anyone else just feeling…exhausted? In every sense of the word? I know I am. Between the debates and the voting and the waiting I just want to curl up in a bed full of fresh blankets straight from the dryer. Because it makes me happy. And like Blink 182, I’m all about the small things.

Before I do that though, I want to share one small recipe from what I’m calling my “Thanksgiving Extravaganza.” I baked quite a bit this week, and this from-scratch baked chunky cranberry sauce was first on my list!

baked cranberry sauce 1

That’s right. It’s time to take your cranberry sauce up a notch. What I love about this recipe is that you can do so much with it—throw it on top of some cream cheese for a quick halftime dip; drizzle it over some pork or chicken; or even toss on some oats, flour, and brown sugar and toast it in the oven for a quick crumble. You can even put it on ice cream if you’re still suffering through 80º heat like me. Come on, November…get it together. 

One quick disclaimer though: If you’re hoping to see how many references to The Cranberries I can fit into this post, you’ll be disappointed. But have no fear! Just check out my recipe for White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Scones (Seriously, the best ever!) to get your fix. 

And check the bottom of this post for the full recipe!

To start, whisk together your sugar, cinnamon (Yes!), and apple cider (God yes!).

apple cider sugar and cinnamon

And now toss in a 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries. Pick out any weird ones if you happen to catch them.

raw cranberries

Coat ’em real nice in that apply, sugary, cinnamony liquid. 

toss in the liquid

Then cover the dish with foil and bake in a 350º F oven for approximately one hour.

cover cranberries

Here is what they look like at the 30 minute mark. I like to take them out and stir up the berries a bit so they all have a chance to break down in that yummy liquid. Depending on how things are progressing, you may want to add a thickening agent at this point as well. Simple stir one tablespoon of cornstarch into a couple of tablespoons of water and then mix thoroughly into the berries.

cranberries halfway baked

Here they are after baking for an additional 30 minutes. Notice how the berries have broken down even more and the syrup is a lot thicker. Now imagine how it smells. Ahhh.

cranberries out of oven 

The last step is to simply let it get to room temperature before cooling it completely in the refrigerator. You can make this up to a week in advance! What you’re left with is a sweet whole cranberry sauce that is chunky, yet pourable and infused with pretty much every autumn flavor outside of pumpkin. Cinnamon is a given, but when you take the cider into consideration you also have apple, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice (depending on your brand, of course). 

 chunky cranberries 1

So there it is! Moderately quick, super easy, and way fancier than a sliced up congealed hunk of jello on a serving plate (though I admit it will always be one of my guilty pleasures). Hey, if we can have 2 types of rolls, stuffing, vegetables, pies, etc. then why not cranberry sauce too? The more the merrier!

Until next time <3

Make Ahead Baked Cranberry Sauce
Serves 10
A delicious sweetened cranberry sauce made from whole cranberries, sugar, and apple cider.
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
  1. 1 12 oz bag of fresh, whole cranberries
  2. 1 cup (8 oz) apple cider
  3. 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 1 tbsp cornstarch (if needed)
  1. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and apple cider.
  2. Fold in the fresh cranberries.
  3. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
  4. Stir the berries, re-cover, and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. If the sauce is too thin, make a slurry by combining the cornstarch with a couple of tablespoons of water and thoroughly mixing it into the berries.
  6. Allow the sauce to come to room temperature before transferring it into the refrigerator to cool completely.
  1. This sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
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Make Ahead Baked Cranberry Sauce
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