Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce

My birthday, November 25th, falls on Thanksgiving every seven years. Growing up, we would sometimes go to my Grandmother’s home for Thanksgiving and I remember loving the fact that, not only did I get to eat turkey, my grandmother’s Sausage stuffing and pie, but I also got birthday presents and a cake. The best of both worlds!

As an adult, I don’t always love when Thanksgiving falls on my birthday, as it does this year. While I do love to cook, Thanksgiving is a marathon for home cooks, with a lot of moving parts involved. Then there’s the setting of the table and the cleaning up part of it, which goes on forever. So, this year, I am trying to make as many dishes ahead of time as possible, so I’m not overwhelmed with chores on my birthday.

Obviously the turkey has to be roasted the day of Thanksgiving (and I love the smell of it!), but my Grandmother’s Sausage Stuffing, pies and even mashed potatoes can all be made ahead. A.J. is bringing the famous Grandview Sweet Potatoes (more a dessert than side dish!) and a Pecan Pie, so I will round off the meal with Green Bean Casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce and Julia Child’s Fluffy Pumpkin Pie.

Everyone has their favorite “must-have dishes” at Thanksgiving. Mine is the turkey, (dark meat), sausage stuffing and pumpkin pie. My Dad insisted on the Cranberry Sauce in the can- Ocean Spray- that comes out with a thunk and has little ridges on its jiggly, ruby cylinder, making it easy to slice into rounds. I prefer homemade Cranberry Sauce and this is a dish that can be made at least a week in advance of Thanksgiving and will last, like jellies and jams, for months. Of course, you have to put it out with the Turkey Dinner, but it is most essential on Turkey Sandwiches the next day. It also can be mixed into oatmeal, yogurt or heated up and served over vanilla (or pumpkin!) ice cream.

Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce

Recipe by ParadeCourse: SidesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 pound fresh cranberries

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice

  • Finely grated orange zest of 1 orange

  • 1 cup dried cherries (or Craisins)


  • Pick through cranberries, rinse, then drain well.
  • Combine the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and orange zest in a pan. Place over medium heat; boil slowly until the berries pop, about 10 minutes.
  • Skim the foam off the surface with a metal spoon, stir in the dried cherries and let cool to room temperature.
  • Cover and refrigerate.


  • I substituted pomegranate juice for cranberry juice.
Cranberry Cherry Relish

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Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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