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fresh cranberry sauce in a white and black bowl with a spoon of sauce resting on a saucer to the side
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5 from 3 votes

Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Bourbon and Vanilla

Serve this easy, fresh cranberry sauce at your next Thanksgiving dinner. Real cranberries are simmered with bourbon and a vanilla bean for amazing flavor.
Course Side dishes
Cuisine American
Cook Time 7 minutes
Chill time 4 hours
Servings 4 people
Calories 64kcal
Author Lisa B.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 12-oz package, about 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 whole vanilla bean halved and seeded


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, including the seeded vanilla bean pod. Heat over medium high heat until it starts to boil.
  • Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to simmer for 7-10 minutes until the cranberries begin to soften and pop and the liquid thickens.
  • Remove the cranberry sauce from the heat.
  • Remove and discard the vanilla bean pod.
  • Remove one cup of the cranberry sauce from the pan and set aside.
  • Puree the remaining sauce. Add the reserved cranberry sauce back to the pan and stir.
  • Allow the cranberry sauce to chill for 4-8 hours before serving. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.


Cranberry sauce can be made several days in advance. Transfer the sauce to a lidded container and store in the refrigerator for up to 14 days.
Sauce can also be frozen for up to two months. Frozen cranberry sauce does need to be thawed before serving. I recommend allowing the sauce to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Cranberry sauce can be canned using the water bath canning method. Simply fill clean and sterile pint or half pint jars with the hot sauce and leave ¼-inch of headspace. Process for 15 minutes.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 64kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 0.1g | Sodium: 0.8mg | Potassium: 12.4mg | Fiber: 0.7g | Sugar: 15.6g | Vitamin A: 0.2IU | Vitamin C: 3.2mg | Calcium: 0.2mg | Iron: 0.2mg