Cranberry Sauce with a Cherry Twist

When I was 12 my friend taught me how to make cranberry sauce. I always thought I was so cool to have this secret recipe until one year I looked on the back of the Ocean Spray cranberry bag and saw the exact recipe she taught me. I felt like that episode of “FRIENDS” where Phoebe is trying to remember the recipe for her family cookies and it turns out they are the Nestle Tollhouse cookies. Doh!

Since then I have taken some tips from the wise Ina Garten and tried some lemon zest to bring out some more flavor. This time I am also adding some cherries to mix things up!


  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of sugar (or sugar substitute like Splenda or Truvia for a sugar-free version)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/8 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1 cup frozen cherries; thawed (optional)

Combine water and sugar in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add cranberries and lemon zest and return to a boil and then decrease temperature to a low boil. Stir often for 10 minutes. Cranberries will burst and pop. I like pushing mine up against the walls of the pot, to help the sauce develop that jellied texture. (Stop here if you want plain cranberry sauce. Remove from heat and let cool.) Add in cherries and continue to boil for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

I like to make my sauce a day or two ahead of time so I don’t have to worry about it on the day of, as well as allow it ample time to get that jelly texture my family likes.

I also serve it up as an appetizer with cheese and crackers. I like it with goat cheese, but my cousins love it with brie.  Try both and see which you prefer!