Update your Homemade Cranberry Sauce with apples for a simple and sweet twist on the classic Thanksgiving side. Tasty without getting too crazy!
In my family, Thanksgiving is all about traditions. This is especially true when it comes to the menu.
The turkey goes in the oven, not a barrel for deep-frying. We do not add gorgonzola, pears, and walnuts to our stuffing. Our potatoes are mashed, not roasted. Green bean casserole is required. 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! I like to use Granny Smith apples. They are tart as far as apples go, but they still taste sweet compared to cranberries. They also hold their shape nicely in the sauce.
Apples add an element of surprise without raising eyebrows or causing alarm. Applesauce on Thanksgiving sounds… appropriate. Mixed in with cranberry sauce it sounds… perfect.
Luckily, Cranberry Sauce is probably the easiest course on your Thanksgiving menu already. Chopping up an apple or two and stirring in some cinnamon is all it takes, and it doesn’t take long. With just that extra minute or two, you’ll have elevated your Homemade Cranberry Sauce without ruffling feathers or being a pretentious food snob.
And that’s great! Because if there is one thing Thanksgiving is not about, it’s food snobbery.
At least not in my family.
See the recipe notes for easy Make Ahead instructions!
Cranberry Sauce with Apples
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.