I keep buying fresh cranberries, what can I do with them?
November 19, 2022 3:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for interesting recipes for fresh cranberries, other than making traditional sauces or syrup*. Does not have to be Thanksgiving themed at all. They're pretty, they're local, there has to be more I can do with them.

*this is delicious and versatile
posted by sepviva to Food & Drink (56 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
These orange cranberry muffins.

I replaced the nuts with chocolate chips once because of a friend’s allergies and now I don’t make them any other way.
posted by FencingGal at 3:24 PM on November 19, 2022 [5 favorites]

Cranberry chutney is delicious.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:29 PM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

This Barefoot Contessa cranberry apple cake is so easy and delicious!

posted by mmf at 3:32 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I use them in place of apricots in my mother's apricot bread recipe. Also, this tart was excellent (although a lot of work), and I'm currently craving this cake from the same site.
posted by DrGail at 3:35 PM on November 19, 2022

Old-school pudding that's enjoyed every year at my in-laws, I think this sort of dessert should come back into fashion:

Steamed Cranberry Pudding

½ c. sorghum (molasses)
2 tsp. baking soda (sifted)
1 ½ cup flour (sifted)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. whole cranberries

Put baking soda in cup with sorghum and fill up cup with boiling water. Mix remaining ingredients and put in top of double boiler with a double sheet of waxed paper under the lid. Steam for 2 hours. Makes 8 servings. Serve with sauce:

Heat together ½ c. butter, 1 c. cream, and 1 c. Sugar. Pour over individual servings of cranberry pudding.

You can make 1 ½ times the recipe of cranberry pudding and steam one more hour.

The sauce doesn’t need to be so rich. It can be made with milk instead of cream, with less butter, and artificial sweetener instead of part of the sugar.
posted by It's_pecano at 3:41 PM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

Sparkling cranberries are a holiday staple at our house. We pair them with toasted nuts or candied orange peel for nibbling, use them on cheese and charcuterie boards, to garnish desserts, etc.

Keep the syrup from your first batch and store it in the fridge - it is good for a few weeks, so you can just keep reusing it.

We've had good luck keeping them in an airtight container for 1-2 days but generally they don't last that long.
posted by jenquat at 3:46 PM on November 19, 2022 [5 favorites]

This cranberry rosemary cornbread recipe has been made many, many times in my kitchen. It's delightful!
posted by burntflowers at 3:54 PM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

Asha’s cranberry gingerbread crumble bars. I have not made these yet but have made the strawberry 🍓 cardamom version referenced in the description and they were amaaaaaaazing.
posted by hilaryjade at 3:56 PM on November 19, 2022

Any recipe that uses fresh blueberries (scones, muffins, etc) can have fresh cranberries subbed. Im partial to Smitten Kitchen's recipe for blueberry muffins.

Zucchini bread/muffins also work well with some fresh cranberries thrown in.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 3:57 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you can handle super tart eat them raw
posted by brujita at 4:01 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

My mom used to make a cranberry cheesecake that was basically a cheesecake with a cranberry sauce on top. This isn't her recipe, but it looks similar. She would also put a cookie cutter on top and pour the sauce around it, so that there was a cute little decoration in the middle.
posted by FencingGal at 4:05 PM on November 19, 2022

Standard Toll House cookie recipe, but sub fresh cranberries for the chocolate. They seem to spread somewhat more as the fresh berries do burst (and add moisture?), so they may not be as sturdy, but I love the sweet dough/tart fruit contrast.
posted by ClingClang at 4:15 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Are you a fan of the tartness? How do you feel about the term 'cranberry goblin food'? I make a variant of this horribly named salad with raw cranberries instead of those abominably sweetened ones. Pecans or walnuts. Instead of craisins and canned corn, just heat almost everything together in a saucepan until the cranberries pop, then add the basil.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:22 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I haven't tried it yet, but I'll be making pickled cranberries following this NY Times recipe this week.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:39 PM on November 19, 2022

Cranberries add a really nice note to tomato soup.
posted by effluvia at 4:40 PM on November 19, 2022

This cranberry curd tart is delicious. Ignore the crust part of this recipe. Graham cracker or pastry are both fine.

Every version of this recipe on the internet wants you to make a weird crust with nuts or something and there's no reason to do that; nobody eats this for the crust. To be honest, you could just make the curd on its own, put it straight in a jar and serve it as a topping (in my family, lemon curd and similar is served on saltines but you do you.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 4:46 PM on November 19, 2022 [5 favorites]

I like them in a salad with roasted butternut squash and spinach and feta (or warm with squash and onion and sage).
posted by pinochiette at 4:58 PM on November 19, 2022

posted by cheapskatebay at 5:03 PM on November 19, 2022

If you imbibe, Alton Brown's fresh cranberry cosmopolitan is very good.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 5:15 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Is there a non-paywalled link for blnkfrnk's cranberry curd tart?
posted by metonym at 5:18 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Rinse the cranberries, while they are draining, put about a 1/4 cup powdered sugar in gallon ziplock. Add the cranberries and shake to coat. Place the cranberries on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 3 minutes (yes 3 minutes). Remove from oven and you have a sweet tart treat that pops in your mouth. Good for just snacking or adding to a cheese and fruit platter.
posted by Sassyfras at 5:29 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I like drinking hot or cold cranberry mors.
posted by moonmilk at 5:44 PM on November 19, 2022

I love orange cranberry muffins, and I decided to try making this baked oatmeal, which I already loved, with those flavors. I just substitute cranberries for the blueberries, and add orange zest and juice (like one orange?), and leave out the cinnamon and vanilla. It’s my preferred way to do baked oatmeal now.
posted by theotherdurassister at 5:52 PM on November 19, 2022

This Smitten Kitchen cranberry pecan bread is excellent.

I also love Alice Waters’s Cranberry Upside Down Cake. I originally got the recipe from NYT Cooking but if you don’t have a subscription this looks to be the same one.
posted by charmedimsure at 5:57 PM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

Cranberry relish is the sole food tradition I hold true to every year.

I'm simplifying this year just so I don't end up with 8000 servings of it--bag of fresh cranberries, an orange, an apple, a can of pineapple juice, and only enough raspberry jello to sorta hold it together.
posted by phunniemee at 6:13 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I love this Pear, cranberry, gingersnap crumble and very much want to try this cranberry lemon meringue pie.
posted by Jeanne at 6:20 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I made cranberry orange cilantro relish from the recipe on the cranberry bag one year and it was deeee-lish. Maybe this recipe? But just minimal cooking of the berries and orange juice with sugar to taste, then add minced cilantro and zest, has worked pretty well since.
posted by clew at 7:38 PM on November 19, 2022

Savory sauce (made this with pomegranate juice for a competition, chopped cranberries will also work very well). You may need to adjust the water/thickener ratios as cranberries are high in pectin. You may also find this needs a little sugar/maple syrup/juice to balance out the tartness of the cranberries.

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 Tbsp dried mushrooms, chopped or powdered
2 Tbsp chiffonnaded sage
1-2 cups chopped cranberries
Water, juice, or broth to cover
1/2 tsp salt
1Tbsp AP flour*

Heat oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Fry sage and mushrooms until aromatic. Add onions and salt, sweat until translucent. Add flour*, toast for 30 seconds. Add cranberries and water/stock, simmer 10 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and flour taste is gone. Enjoy!

*Use GF flour, like chickpea, or a starch slurry added in the last minute of cooking to make this Top 9 Free

They're also excellent sauteed with citrus and a little sugar and salt, which can then be mixed into just about anything (hot or cold rice, potatoes, etc), or roasted with red meat.

Nthing cranberry orange relish, it's so so SO good. Recommend switching up the citrus for variety. Plus, it freezes well, and tastes great on/with a lot of stuff (ex: bagel, cream cheese, cranberry lemon or orange relish).

Now I need to go find some...
posted by OhHaieThere at 7:41 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

they're wonderful in very grown up brownies. That bright sour tannic kick against the rich sweetness of chocolate... so good.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:25 PM on November 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

Please add them to waffles. There's something magical that happens when they hit the hot iron and the flavor pairs beautifully with maple syrup.
posted by mezzanayne at 9:01 PM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

Dorie Greenspan's All-in-one holiday bundt cake. It's a delight with all the holiday flavors mixed together in a wonderful way. I omit the pecans.
posted by skunk pig at 9:17 PM on November 19, 2022

Dang, now I’m craving my mother’s cranberry relish mold.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:19 PM on November 19, 2022

Going savory, as sweet has been pretty well covered...

I remember this from a cooking show (now forgotten) I watched back in the late 80s or early 90s on PBS - slices of baguette, cranberry sauce/cooked cranberry/whatever you might have spread on it, then cheddar on top. Bake them, and boom: tasty. I suspect I'd go for a fancy grilled cheese these days; maybe a variation that leans more into the cheddar and savory aspects of it.

Cranberry + pork is also a combination I'm fond of. If I'm not working with a recipe I'll usually do pork chops with a sauce thrown together with whatever I have on hand. Cranberries, of course. Apples? Chuck 'em in. Onions are nice. So is ginger. Or mustard? A splash of apple cider vinegar for tang perhaps. Have fun with it, and make a lovely pan sauce.

I don't have a recipe, but I have to assume you could also make a party meatball sort of thing with cranberries in the sauce.
posted by daikaisho at 9:34 PM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

Put washed whole cranberries in alcohol (Vodka is what I use) and steep them in there for several months. Decant, sweeten, if you like, with white sugar or whatever you prefer, sip on a cold night.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:14 PM on November 19, 2022

Cranberry kisiel is a traditional Christmas staple in Poland - boil cranberries until soft, push them and their water through a sieve or blend them to remove the hardest parts, then measure the amount of liquid you have and put it back for a very slow boil, adding sugar to taste. In a separate small bowl, take 2 teaspoons of potato or corn starch per half a liter of that liquid, then add enough cold water to make a thin slurry of starch. Pour it into the cranberries, stirring all the while as you increase the heat to bring it briefly to the boil - shouldn't take more than a minute or two for the entire pot to thicken.

This way makes a drink. If you use tablespoons instead of teaspoons to measure the starch, it'll be thick enough to eat as a pudding.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:34 PM on November 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

Lithuanian kisielis (cranberry puddding)
posted by yyz at 5:44 AM on November 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

NPR listeners are familiar with Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish which always sounds like an abomination each year but is apparently really tasty. This is a bizarre savory relish.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:29 AM on November 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

Cranberry salsa
2 large oranges: grate peel & place in a bowl. Remove remaining peel and white membraine, cut out flesh (supremes) and coarse chop. Drain in a sieve over a bowl (you may want to use the rest of the juice).
2 cups fresh cranberries: rinse and drain thoroughly. While they are draining, prepare:
1 tablespoon mince fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon mince fresh ginger
1 small serrano or jalapeno, seeded and mince
Coarse chop cranberries by hand or in a food processor. Add to bowl with orange pieces, add cilantro, ginger, and chile. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon neutral oil and 1/4 teaspoon crystal salt, stir to combine. Taste, further salt as needed. Chill for an hour or overnight.
This goes very well with barbecued turkey or pork tacos or in quesadillas or grilled cheese.
posted by winesong at 8:29 AM on November 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

Seconding the smitten kitchen cranberry orange bread. I like it without nuts. I also LOVE her pumpkin bread with fresh cranberries.
posted by bookworm4125 at 9:14 AM on November 20, 2022

they make the most superb brisket.

(make a basic cooked fresh cranberry sauce. Sieve it. Brown the brisket with salt and pepper. Braise in the sauce.) It's unbelievable.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:51 AM on November 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

metonym, you can plug nearly any paywalled link into the Wayback Machine and get a version you can read. This one is also very similar. The only difference is the combination of lemon and orange zest and juice rather than all orange. Also, a cookie crust instead of a nut crust (again: unnecessary.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:12 PM on November 20, 2022

You’ve gotten a few other Smitten Kitchen recommendations already but I have to recommend this Cranberry Frangipane Tart - every year I look forward to the season when you can find fresh cranberries in stores so I can make this dessert and I has always been met with rave reviews.
posted by exutima at 1:52 PM on November 20, 2022

I love -- love -- this recipe for boozy baked cranberries. You end up with whole berries in a not-too-sweet glaze, and they're fantastic for cutting through rich food. I make them for thanksgiving, and secretly love them even more as leftovers on a sandwich, if they last that long. They don't often last that long.
posted by nadise at 4:04 PM on November 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

My friend made this Strawberry/Cranberry Christmas jam and it is so good
posted by CathyG at 8:02 PM on November 20, 2022

Sugared cranberries -- it was one of my favorite candies when I was growing up. The version I ate was cranberries inside confectioner's sugar -- little balls very sweet on the outside and then very tart when you bite into them. Absolute deliciousness! I still buy them in Russian supermarkets in NYC sometimes.
posted by virve at 9:34 PM on November 20, 2022

I like to freeze them and add them to frozen berry mixes (something like this).

Then you can used this souped-up frozen berry mix for whatever you use frozen berry mix for, including just eating it.

Frozen cranberries are a little overpowering all on their own (though I have used them that way - add them to yoghurt, put them on pancakes, or whatever you might do with say frozen blueberries). But mixing them with a bunch of relatively sweet frozen berries, they add more of a hint of tartness that makes the whole mix a little bit better.
posted by flug at 12:56 AM on November 21, 2022

Our other fresh cranberry trick is to make a traditional cranberry sauce - such as the recipe you might find on a bag of cranberries at the supermarket - but use like 1/4 the sugar those recipes usually call for. You can experiment with how little sugar to add and still have it palatable according to your palate.

This is, obviously, similar to traditional cranberry sauce but reducing the sugar this much puts into a pretty different taste category. I can barely tolerate the traditional highly sugared cranberry sauce now.
posted by flug at 1:02 AM on November 21, 2022

I coat fresh cranberries with tempered semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Then you can eat them as snacks or use them to decorate cakes.
posted by obol at 3:18 PM on November 21, 2022

This quick bread with candied ginger and lemon. It's absolutely heavenly.
posted by BekahVee at 8:08 AM on November 22, 2022

Nantucket Cranberry Pie / Cake I don't add any nuts, though. It's one of my favorite cakes!
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:47 PM on November 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Fermented Apple Cranberry Chutney
From Cultures for Health web site

This pairs really well with strong cheeses.

• 3 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
• 1 cup Granny Smith or Fuji apple, peeled and chopped
• 1 cup organic raisins
• 1 cup dates, pitted and sliced
• 1/4 cup honey (optional)
• 1 cup onion, chopped
• 3/4 cup celery, chopped
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
• 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
• 1/4 cup whey (strained from plain yogurt)

1. Combine all ingredients except whey in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes, until slightly thick.
2. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, sterilize four 8-ounce jars.
3. When chutney is cool, divide among jars, leaving 1 to 2 inches headroom.
4. Stir 1 tablespoon of whey into each jar and cap securely. Ferment at room temperature for 2 days before refrigerating.

Use within 2 months.

[Freezes well.]
posted by Frenchy67 at 9:50 AM on November 25, 2022

Response by poster: Thank you for all of these! I'm looking forward to many tasty cranberry dishes.

By chance (or season) I got some salsa with some tamales that included cranberries with pickled jalapeños and can add that that was a good combo.
posted by sepviva at 7:56 AM on November 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

I forgot the most important thing: in our family we call them “crabnerries.”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:41 PM on November 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

Smitten Kitchen is apparently the goddess of cranberries! I love her cranberry pie with pecan oat crumble. Fantastic.
posted by exceptinsects at 9:57 PM on November 27, 2022 [1 favorite]


My family grows cranberries, we're on it.

* The steamed cranberry pudding up above is something one of my aunts used to make for us every Thanksgiving.

* Cranberries are interchangeable with blueberries in muffin/tea bread recipes. So if you have a blueberry muffin recipe, you've got a cranberry muffin recipe.

* Throw a handful of cranberries in with the apples when you make apple pie or apple crisp.

* This cake. I've made it a few times and it's pretty easy.

* Ocean Spray also has you covered.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:46 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]

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