Bourbon Cranberry Sauce is your classic sweet and tart sauce jazzed up with the addition of bourbon!
Update: This recipe was originally shared in November 2018. The recipe and photos have been updated and republished in November 2022.
Love it or hate it, cranberry sauce is a classic recipe found on nearly everyone's Thanksgiving dinner table. When I learned how easy it is to make your own cranberry sauce, I went on a mission to find the perfect one.
I love bourbon - it is my first choice for any cocktail. So it only seemed fitting to add it into cranberry sauce since the sweetness of bourbon pairs really nicely with the tart cranberries.
What is Bourbon Cranberry Sauce?
Bourbon Cranberry sauce is a homemade, easy cranberry sauce recipe made with fresh (or frozen) cranberries, sugar and bourbon! That's it, just those simple ingredients.
- cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- your favorite bourbon
First, combine water, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking until the sugar has mostly dissolved.
Then add in the cranberries and bring to a boil. Add the cranberries and increase the heat to medium high until the mixture begins to boil and the cranberries start to pop.
Next, reduce to a simmer and add in the bourbon. Pour in the bourbon and stir well. Gently mash the cranberries with a fork or potato masher and let simmer, bubbling for 20 minutes.
Finally, remove from the heat and let the mixture set up. As cranberry sauce cools, the mixture will thicken.
Not completely, but mostly. If you are serving cranberry sauce for children or non-drinkers, you can always transfer half of the recipe to another pot before adding the bourbon and serve both.
In an air-tight container, homemade cranberry sauce will keep in the fridge for 10-14 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months, making it the perfect make-ahead Thanksgiving recipe.
No, cranberries are naturally high in pectin so the sauce will thicken up on it's own as it cools. Mash the berries with a fork or potato masher to further release the pectin and thicken the mixture faster.
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Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 12 oz. package fresh cranberries
- 2 tablespoon bourbon
- In a large saucepan whisk together the sugar, brown sugar and water until the sugar mostly dissolves. Add in the cranberries and heat over medium high heat.¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 cup water
- Add in the cranberries and heat over medium high heat.12 oz. package fresh cranberries
- Bring the mixture to a boil and the cranberries start popping, then reduce to a simmer, add the bourbon and simmer for 15-20 minutes.2 tablespoon bourbon
- Remove from the heat. Use a potato masher to break up the cranberries. The mixture will thicken up as it cools.