This apple cranberry sauce exists somewhere in the space between applesauce and cranberry sauce. While it of course goes beautifully with simple roast turkey it’s also quite lovely with roast duck and roast pork and so, so much more.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

The sweet-tart flavor of apples and cranberries combined with warm spices have our testers calling this their “holiday go-to recipe for cranberry sauce.” They also loved that “it’s a very impressive condiment for such little effort!”

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Cranberries–You can use fresh or frozen cranberries here. If using frozen, you don’t need to thaw them, but you may need to cook your sauce for a few extra minutes.
  • Sweet-tart apples–We love using Granny Smith apples for their crisp texture and tart flavor. This does make a tart sauce, though, so if you prefer a slightly sweeter cranberry sauce, use a firm, sweeter apple, like Honeycrisp.
  • Clementines–You can substitute regular oranges if clementines aren’t available to you.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Boil until the cranberries begin to burst and the apples soften.
  2. Cool the sauce slightly. Transfer to a jar or serving bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Common Questions

How can I use this sauce?

It will always be welcome on your Thanksgiving table alongside your turkey or pork, but our testers found some other creative uses for it. Here are a few:
– With Greek yogurt and honey (baklava granola optional!)
– Atop warm oatmeal or breakfast porridge
– On a pork sandwich
– Swirled into batter for coffee cake or muffins
– Thinned with orange juice to top pancakes or blintzes
– With brie or Cheddar on a cheese plate
– Alongside whole grilled chicken

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, definitely. The apple cranberry sauce can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before serving, or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

What’s the difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry relish?

Cranberry relish is a condiment that has a sweet-tart flavor and is sometimes uncooked, while cranberry sauce is a cooked condiment that is generally sweeter than relish.

Helpful Tips

  • This makes about 2 cups, which should serve 8 to 10 people.
  • The recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian diets as written. If you would like to make it vegan, use agave or maple syrup in place of honey.
  • This sauce is quite tart. You can adjust the sweetness to taste with extra honey.

More Great Fruit Sauce Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A glass jar half filled with apple cranberry sauce, with a second jar of applesauce in the background.

Apple Cranberry Sauce

5 / 5 votes
Apple cranberry sauce. Not quite as American as apple pie. Not until you taste this version, that is. Sweetly tart and superbly lovely with turkey and pork and so, so much more.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories84 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 sweet-tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch (12-mm) chunks
  • Zest and juice of 2 clementines (about 1 tablespoon zest and 6 tablespoons juice)
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely grated ginger
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • Scant 1/2 cup water


  • Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, the apples break down, and the cranberries burst, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before serving or transfer to a glass jar with a lid. This sauce will keep in the fridge for one week.


  1. Make-ahead–The cooked sauce can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days before serving or frozen up to 3 months before serving. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Dietary–The sauce is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian diets. To make it vegan-friendly, replace the honey with agave or maple syrup.
  3. Make it sweeter–The finished sauce will be quite tart. If you prefer sweeter cranberry sauce, choose a sweeter variety of apples or add more honey, to taste.
The Wholefood Pantry Cookbook

Adapted From

The Wholefood Pantry

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 84 kcalCarbohydrates: 22 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 3 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 17 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Amber Rose. Photos © 2017 Nassima Rothacker. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This sauce is such a nice combination of sweet-tart apples and tart cranberries. The ginger and the clove make this such a warm, inviting sauce. This will be my new holiday go-to recipe for homemade cranberry sauce.

It’s delicious on its own, but my young family especially enjoyed it cold mixed with plain Greek yogurt and honey; warm on top of quinoa breakfast porridge; mixed into a standard muffin recipe; and thinned out with a splash of orange juice on pancakes and blintzes. Next time I look forward to serving it on a cheese plate.

Although I was a little hesitant to make cranberry sauce in July, this is one recipe I will certainly be pulling out when the festive season rolls around. It’s very quick and easy and the resulting sauce is vastly superior to anything store-bought and would be lovely with turkey or a cold buffet.

I’m planning to eat this batch as a compote with Greek yogurt and granola, although it may need a little honey over the top as it’s rather tart. The flavors of all the ingredients come through beautifully and it’s a very impressive condiment for such little effort!

I like cranberry sauce year-round and found this apple cranberry sauce recipe provides an enjoyable mingling of tastes. Both the ginger and the cloves add something cranberry sauce doesn’t always have. And really, in 90-degree weather, why wouldn’t I want a fruity side dish that doesn’t include green gelatin?

I served some as a side dish with grilled chicken. Some of the rest made a nice topping on a grilled pork sandwich. And the rest got swirled into a coffee cake. I think the Pilgrims would have approved.

The finished sauce had a wonderful tangy and savory taste. I want to try this apple cranberry sauce recipe this Thanksgiving with my turkey. It’s a different spin on the traditional cranberry sauce. I served the sauce as a topping for a roasted pork loin, and it was delicious and went perfectly with the pork.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


    1. Sassafras, the print button is located in the recipe card, just above the image of the cookbook.

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been making my Cranberry Sauce exactly like this recipe but this year I will add the cloves. It’s so good I munch on it like it’s dessert!

    1. Love to hear that, Randi K! Thanks so much for trying our version. Kindly let us know what you think…

      1. 5 stars
        I made it yesterday in prep for “eating day.” Delicious with the clove spice. I used agave and a little bit of dark Vermont maple syrup instead of honey. TY for posting that recipe, I’ve already forwarded it to a family member. Happy Holiday Season to all @ Leites.