Cranberry Desserts, Sauce and More

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Holidays are time to take advantage of very tangy cranberry for more than just cranberry sauce. Cranberries are terrific in any form, raw, sweetened or dried. They are not only packed with flavor but as healthy foods go, they are at the top of the list due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content.

Cranberries are considered a “super” food. A half a cup of cranberries contains only 25 calories, and are well known for lowering the risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, decreased blood pressure, and more.

Make cranberries a fresh and healthy addition to your winter meals, with these unique and some traditional recipes.

Fresh Cranberry Relish with Pecans


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 medium orange, sections and grated rind
  • ⅓ to ½ cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, finely chopped


  1. Wash cranberries, drain well. Remove any soft, discolored, or broken berries.
  2. Place cranberries in the bowl of the food processor, pulse to chop coarsely. Add orange sections. Pulse. Transfer to a bowl, add sugar or substitute, pecans, orange rind, and apple. Stir well. Refrigerate at 2 hours before serving.

Holiday Cranberry Butter

This easy-to-make flavored butter tastes great on toast, muffins, buns or anything you would put butter or jam on. I know you will love it when you taste it. It even smells heavenly and makes a great gift.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt


  • Blend the ingredients one at a time, in order given. Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or part of it can be frozen and thawed for later use.

Cranberry Mulled Cider


  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar, or more to taste
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot, including the dried cranberries if using. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Taste for sweetness, adding more agave if desired. Remove the cinnamon stick with a slotted spoon before serving. Serve warm.

Holiday Cranberry-Pecan Cheeseball


  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Granny Smith apples, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. local honey
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped


  1. Mix cream cheese, apples, honey, and cinnamon until blended.
  2. Shape into a ball. Coat evenly with nuts, then cranberries.

Cranberry Salsa


  • 1 cup pineapple, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, halved
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 orange, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon local honey


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Cover refrigerate for 4-8 hours.

Serves 8.

Cranberry and Pear Crisp



  • 2 pears, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla


  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons butter


  1. Combine the pears, cranberries, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla in a small bowl and mix well. Spoon into a greased 2 cup oval baking dish.
  2. Combine 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour, oats, almonds, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well. Cut the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the pear mixture.
  3. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes or until bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.

Cranberry and Chicken Salad


  • 1 ¼ cups quinoa
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ½ cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup diced red apple
  • 1 cup diced pear
  • ½ cup diced sweet onion
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • ½ cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves (or allspice)
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Fresh mint sprigs, optional for garnish
  • Lemon slices, optional for garnish


  1. Add quinoa, chicken stock and ½ teaspoon salt to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and continue cooking until all water is absorbed (about 20 minutes).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine quinoa, chicken, olive oil, lemon juice, apple, pear, onion, hazelnuts, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Place in refrigerator. Serve slightly chilled (or at room temperature). Garnish with mint and lemon.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 8 x 3-inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  3. With a hand mixer, blend the eggs, pumpkin, and canola oil until smooth. Add the flour mixture and combine. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  4. Divide the batter between the two pans. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the loaves comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes, then remove the loaves from the pans and cool completely.

Traditional Cranberry Gelatin Salad


  • 1 large or 2 small packages (6 ounces total) cherry flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 can (14 ounces) whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 can (14 ounce) jelled cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, optional
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans


  1. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Put the gelatin powder in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup of the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining water and the jellied and whole cranberry sauce. Stir until well blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until firm.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with the powdered sugar (if using) until fluffy.