Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon and Orange

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Don’t buy cranberry sauce at the store!  With just six simple ingredients you can make your own Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon and Orange that is sweet, tart, and totally delicious.

A small bowl filled with chunky cranberry sauce.

Can we talk about cranberry sauce?    I know there are people out there that love the cranberry sauce that comes in a can but I cannot do it.   It’s like a cranberry gelatin log and it’s just not good.

On the opposite side are the people that make a sauce with whole cranberries that is super sweet and kind of hard to eat.  I’m not a fan of that one either.

Is it any wonder that I never put cranberry sauce on my plate at the holidays?  I hate to be disappointed and I’ve yet to meet a cranberry sauce that I actually want to eat…until now.

I first made this Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon and Orange a few weeks before Thanksgiving just to give it a try.  I figured I couldn’t really go wrong with cranberries, bourbon, and vanilla and it turned out I was right!

Ingredients:

  • sugar
  • bourbon
  • cinnamon sticks
  • oranges
  • cranberries
  • vanilla bean
  1.  Combine the sugar, bourbon, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, and orange juice in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the cranberries and vanilla bean and continue simmering for 10 minutes.  The cranberries should be bursting.
  5. At the point you can leave the cranberries how they are or you can smash them against the side of the pan.
  6. Continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean.  Serve warm or chill if desired.

Pin Image: A small bowl filled with chunky cranberry sauce, text, a cutting board topped with a bag of cranberries, a bottle of bourbon, a cup of sugar, and an orange.

The smell while this cranberry sauce was cooking was amazing.   I will say that if you aren’t a huge bourbon fan don’t taste it before it’s finished cooking as the bourbon flavor is so strong initially. 

However, while cooking I could smell the tart cranberries, hints of orange, and plenty of fresh vanilla.   I kept stealing tastes of it because I couldn’t handle smelling it without a taste!

I can’t find fresh cranberries, can I use something else?

You can certainly use frozen whole cranberries if fresh aren’t available.  Place them in the refrigerator the night before so that they are thawed before using them.   Drain before putting them in the pan.

I don’t like alcohol, can I substitute something for the bourbon?

You could use 1/4 cup of orange juice and a 1/4 cup of water mixture and that will work just fine in this recipe.  You can also use 1/2 cup of apple juice instead.  If you don’t want any additional flavors you can use water in a pinch.

I don’t have any vanilla beans, can I use extract?

While using a whole vanilla bean is preferred because of the addition of flavor you can use extract.   Simply add it after you take the sauce off the heat as otherwise it will begin to evaporate as it is an alcohol based extract. 

I left the heat up a little higher then it suggested because I wanted the cranberries to pop and have a really thick and chunky sauce.  By the time I had let the cranberries cook for 10 minutes they were easy to burst open and just melded into the sauce.

A pan filled with cranberries with bourbon and oranges.

The thing I love about this sauce is that it isn’t crazy sweet.  That’s one of my main complaints about cranberry sauce.  Cranberries are tart so I want to taste the tartness.   This one is sweet and tart with hints of spices, vanilla, and citrus.

I simply ate it with a spoon it was so good!    In addition to serving it with a holiday meal I think it would be really great on top of a bowl of ice cream for a holiday twist.

More Cranberry Recipes:

If you’ve tried my Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon and Orange or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:

A plate filled with turkey, stuffing and gravy, cauliflower gratin, and a bowl of cranberry saucec.

Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon and Orange

Yield: serves 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

With just six simple ingredients you can make your own Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon and Orange that is sweet, tart, and totally delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. bourbon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 3 c. fresh cranberries
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar, bourbon, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, and orange juice in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the cranberries and vanilla bean and continue simmering for 10 minutes over medium heat.  The cranberries should begin bursting.
  5. At the point you can leave the cranberries how they are or you can smash them against the side of the pan.
  6. Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean.  Serve warm or chill if desired.
  8. Refrigerate for up to 10 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

A plate filled with turkey, stuffing and gravy, cauliflower gratin, and a bowl of cranberry saucec.

Welcome to #CranberryWeek where we celebrate all things cranberry! We have 11 bloggers sharing over 25 recipes this week. There are sweets, savories, and even a few beverages this week. Make sure to follow #CranberryWeek on social media to see all the delicious recipes we’re sharing this week.

Monday’s Cranberry Recipes

6 Comments

  1. This sounds amazing! I like cranberry sauce without gelatin and it shouldn’t be too sweet. Your recipes sounds the perfect one!

  2. I have used oranges in my cranberry sauce but never bourbon. I am going to try this recipe this year. Thanks Heather.

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