Update your Cranberry Sauce with apples for a simple and sweet twist on the classic Thanksgiving side. Tasty without getting too crazy!

A bowl of cranberry sauce with apples.

In my family, Thanksgiving is all about traditions. The turkey goes in the oven, not in a barrel for deep-frying. We do not add gorgonzola, pears, and walnuts to our stuffing. Our potatoes are mashed, not roasted. And our dinner rolls are the ones Grandma used to make.

So when it comes to cranberry sauce, there isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room. It must still look and mostly taste like cranberry sauce. But I can get away with adding apples! Apples add an element of surprise without upsetting anyone, and apples mixed with cranberries somehow makes a lot of sense.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Cranberry Sauce with Apples Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Cranberry Sauce ingredients labeled and in various bowls.

Ingredient notes

  • Cranberries: Fresh cranberries freeze really well, so stock up when you see them. If your cranberries are already frozen, no need to thaw. Just cook them straight from the freezer and add 2 minutes to the simmering time.
  • Apples: I like tart Granny Smith apples because they hold their shape in the sauce.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, add sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Stir in cranberries and apples.
Cranberries and apples cooking in a saucepan.
  1. Simmer until slightly thickened and the berries begin to pop, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature or chill.
Cranberries and apples cooking in a saucepan.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 3 cups of sauce, enough for 12 (¼ cup) servings.
  • Make ahead: Cool the cranberry sauce completely, then keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. Or, freeze it up to one month in advance. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
  • Freezer: Cooled sauce can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  • With orange: For a citrus twist, try this cranberry sauce recipe with orange zest and orange juice.
A bowl of cranberry sauce with apples.

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A bowl of cranberry sauce with apples.

Cranberry Sauce with Apples

Update your Homemade Cranberry Sauce with apples for a simple and sweet twist on the classic Thanksgiving side. Tasty without getting too crazy!
4.98 from 34 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 125

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries picked over (see note 1)
  • 1 cup tart apples peeled and diced (see note 2)

Instructions 

  • In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. to boil. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  • Stir in cranberries and apples. Simmer until slightly thickened and the berries begin to pop, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature or chill.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Cranberries: Fresh cranberries freeze really well, so stock up when you see them. If your cranberries are already frozen, no need to thaw. Just cook them straight from the freezer and add 2 minutes to the simmering time.
  2. Apples: I like tart Granny Smith apples because they hold their shape in the sauce.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 3 cups of sauce, enough for 12 (¼ cup) servings.
  4. Make ahead: Cool the cranberry sauce completely, then keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. Or, freeze it up to one month in advance. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
  5. Freezer: Cooled sauce can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  6. With orange: For a citrus twist, try this cranberry sauce recipe with orange zest and orange juice.

Nutrition

Calories: 125kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 75mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 2gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 34IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 1mg
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Comments

  1. Years since I’ve made cranberry sauce. This was so simple! Next time I’ll dial down the amount of sugar(husband doesn’t do sugar so he wont eat this. That means more for me!) This is going to grandma’s house!5 stars

  2. I never really liked cranberry sauce until I tried this and I love it! I have made it the last year or two and look forward to many batches this winter. I make the recipe as-is and it’s great!5 stars

  3. What are the best cranberries for this? I have never been a fan of cranberry sauce but I like the cranberry apple sauce dessert in the hungry man tv dinner so I want to make something that tastes as good and this recipe looks like it may be the one and I am really excited to try it!

  4. Hands down the best cranberry sauce I’ve ever had. I didn’t have green apples on hand so I subbed a Gala. Also, my father is trying to cut down on sugar so I calculated the proportional equivalent of a Whole Earth & pure cane combo. We used it as a side for our lean pork tenderloin roast and the leftover sauce was perfect on whole grain bagels, Dave’s Killer bread, and alongside a serving of cottage cheese because the apples provide texture. For Thanksgiving I’m thinking of making a double batch and adding warm spices to one half while keeping the other as-is. Can’t wait! This is going to be staple in our house. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Lindsay, that variation is great, I’m glad it came out well! Cranberry sauce on a whole grain bagel sounds delicious! – Meggan

  5. I’ve made this recipe for the last few years and LOVE it. It’s always a hit and so easy to make. I love cranberry with orange, so I had found another commenter who made hers with 1/3 orange juice instead of water and adds orange zest. It’s amazing! I look forward to this dish every year.5 stars

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