Recipe: Amaretto Cranberry Sauce

22 Oct

My Fellow Americans,

As we approach Thanksgiving, I must ask: when did it become acceptable to confuse cranberry sauce with that horrendous gelatinous mass that slides from a can and holds its shape, right down to the ridges from the can?  There is nothing “cranberry” nor “sauce” about that gastronomical abomination.

I implore you, please consider making your own cranberry sauce this holiday season.  It’s wicked easy and can be made far in advance to be canned or a few days before the big meal and left in the fridge.

Amaretto Cranberry Sauce
Yield: Four 12-oz jelly jars, plus a little extra; depends on how long you let it cook


  • 3 12-oz bags of fresh whole unsweetened cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Finely grated zest from one lemon
  • 2 cups Amaretto


  1. Put everything in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir to coat.
  2. Once sugar dissolves into the Amaretto and becomes thick and syrup-like, reduce heat and simmer; cranberries will start to burst as they simmer.  Cook until desired consistency is reached; 30-60 minutes.  Sauce will thicken as it rests/refrigerates!
  3. You have made cranberry sauce; it will amaze your family and friends.  Your in-laws may even start to like you.
  4. Store in the fridge for a few days or can using the directions below.

To Can the Sauce:

  • Ladle hot cranberry sauce into hot, clean jars leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Wipe rims, place lids and affix screw bands.  Process using the water bath method for 15 minutes.  Let cool on towel-lined counter/table top for 12 hours before checking the seal; label and store.  If any jars failed to seal correctly, refrigerate and consume within a week.

I usually make my cranberry sauce with brandy, but discovered Amaretto works very well.  If you do use brandy, you may want to add a bit more sugar.  On that same vein, you may find that 2 cups of sugar is too much for your liking as Amaretto is already quite sweet.

The alcohol will be cooked out of this by the end, but if you want a true non-alcoholic version of this sauce, I recommend using ginger ale, unsweetened apple or orange juice in place of the booze.

I also enjoy cranberry sauce on salads (makes a great vinaigrette), mixed in yogurt or atop ice cream.  How do you use cranberry sauce?

Please let me know if you made this and any alterations; I love hearing what everyone does in their kitchen (culinary pursuits, you pervs).



Posted by on 22 October 2011 in Canning, Cooking, Food, Holidays, Recipes


Tags: , , , ,

26 responses to “Recipe: Amaretto Cranberry Sauce

  1. Savory Simple

    22 October 2011 at 09:58

    This sounds wonderful for the holidays. I don’t see enough recipes using fresh cranberries, which is a shame. They’re delicious! I love the amaretto combination.

    • Smedette

      22 October 2011 at 11:01

      The amaretto gives a great almond/vanilla flavor without being over-powering. The tart cranberries are still the star here.

  2. frugalfeeding

    22 October 2011 at 10:49

    This will be so perfect for christmas! Great idea. I love the addition of amaretto, it is just such a fantastic liqueur.

    • Smedette

      22 October 2011 at 10:58

      Thank you! I normally use brandy, but had none and thought I’d give the amaretto a try. So glad I did.

  3. Amy Kefauver

    22 October 2011 at 10:50

    Thank GOODNESS, I’ve finally found someone that shares my horror of “smooth cranberry sauce.” My family abhors “bumpy” and yet I know that my “bumpy sauce” is actually food, whereas their “smooth” choice is not. It’s ridged, as you point out, but it is not food. I look forward to trying this recipe! Thanks for the post!

    • Smedette

      22 October 2011 at 10:58

      That stuff from a can is SO GROSS! My husband is not a fan of cranberries and even he was won over by this recipe.

  4. Amy Kefauver

    22 October 2011 at 11:03

    May I share your recipe on my FaceBook page? Very happy to credit you, and to give the link to your blog, if you like! Let me know…I won’t share without your permission, of course.

    • Smedette

      22 October 2011 at 11:04

      Oh Amy, That’s so sweet of you! Please feel free to share. Thank you.

  5. ohkeeka

    24 October 2011 at 07:23

    Thanks for posting the recipe! The husband and I are doing Thanksgiving alone this year (wow, that sounds really sad when I type it out–ha) and I’m definitely making this. I think it would be great with a Field Roast loaf.

    • Smedette

      24 October 2011 at 08:11

      I’m pretty sure we’re doing Thanksgiving alone, too, which I don’t mind. It can be such a crappy and stressful time to travel.

      Thank you so much, I hope you like it!

  6. John

    24 October 2011 at 15:14

    I don’t know where it started, but I remember not believing someone when they said that they were giving me cranberry sauce, and I couldn’t see the outline of the can. Freaky stuff, that.

    This year, I think I’m making Momma Stamberg’s sauce.

    But, this has liquor . . . hmmm . . . .

    • Smedette

      24 October 2011 at 15:19

      Is that the one with onions and horseradish? Never been brave enough to try it.

  7. Kelly

    24 October 2011 at 22:15

    Ooh I love this idea!

  8. Andrea

    27 October 2011 at 19:20

    I was looking for something new to try this year for gift giving to go with the standards of applesauce, salsa and b&b pickles, oh, and jam….this looks just perfect!!! This is my first visit to your blog, but definitely won’t be my last. The lemoncello looks like something I would love to make for my father, but this cranberry goodness looks more my speed!

    • Smedette

      27 October 2011 at 19:22

      Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for stopping by! I tend to post more recipes this time of year. I hope you enjoy the cranberry sauce.

  9. Karak Destra

    11 November 2011 at 17:52

    I made a rendition of your classic titled: Highly Flammable Amaretto Cranberris

    • Smedette

      11 November 2011 at 18:57

      YES! I love this! Thank you so much for sharing the link.

      • Karak Destra

        11 November 2011 at 22:04

        I should be the one thanking you!

  10. Tanya

    4 November 2012 at 19:20

    If you can this are you able to freeze it?? It is just me and my husband this year for thanksgiving and we will not eat this much :)

    • Smedette

      4 November 2012 at 19:28

      Yes, it should freeze just fine! Just remember not to pack the container completely full to allow room for expansion.

  11. Lillie

    20 November 2012 at 18:00

    OMG. Best thing I’ve tasted in years. So. Very. Yummy. My family is officially referring to this as awesomesauce.

    • Smedette

      21 November 2012 at 15:19

      Thank you so much! Happy Thanksgiving.

  12. Sandy Wagner

    4 November 2013 at 01:09

    Love your recipe for Amaretta Cranberry sauce. I’m always looking for new things to enter into the fair and this certainly fills the bill. Thanks

  13. Jessica

    28 November 2013 at 22:40

    Thank you so much for this! I’m making it again this year after it being a big hit last Thanksgiving. Everyone is impressed!

  14. Maija

    27 August 2014 at 17:33

    Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe!
    My Mother.. and then I.. have always made our cranberries ourselves.
    Nothing fancy, mind you… cranberries and sugar! We cook it just until the berries pop.
    I happen to have a bottle of Amaretto just waiting for this fantabulous idea!


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