Brandied Cranberry & Orange Sauce

On a recent visit to Maine I picked up a few bags of Maine cranberries. I must say, these are the largest cranberries that I have ever seen. With fresh cranberries on hand I had to decide what do do with them. I settled on a brandied cranberry sauce with a touch of orange. It is delightful and a far cry from the dreadful canned condiment so prevalent on the Thanksgiving table. The leftovers can be used in a variety of ways and I've included a few options following the recipe.

Rebecca's Brandied Cranberry & Orange Sauce

  • 1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • ¾ c. brown sugar (you can adjust this to taste later)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3” +/-)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 Oranges (zest & juice one reserve the other two)
  • 2T Brandy
  • 1T Cointreau  (or 1 t. orange extract)
  • Water
  • Scant pinch of salt
  • ½ c walnuts
In a small saucepan place the cranberries, cinnamon stick, zests and sugar. Next measure the juice
of one orange + the brandy and cointreau then add water to equal 1 cup. Add the liquid to the saucepan.

Bring to a boil and boil for 7-10 minutes until all of the cranberries have popped. Stir in the salt and taste for sweetness. If you want to add more sugar do it while the sauce is warm so that it dissolves completely. Leave the cinnamon stick in while the sauce cools. Chill the finished sauce.

Once the sauce has chilled, peel the two remaining oranges taking care to remove all pith. Slice the oranges in ¼” slices then quarter each slice. Stir the orange pieces and walnuts into the sauce.

...and the sauce thickens

Note: I add the brandy and cointreau at the start so that much of the alcohol will boil off. I want the depth of flavor but not a boozy sauce. You can adjust this to taste as well.


  • Serve with fresh Chevre cheese. The combination is marvelous. It is worthwhile to seek out a local source for chevre. The taste is remarkably different and much better than what is sold pre-packaged in the grocery store. 
  • Serve alongside an open-faced chicken and brie melt (leftover Sage Pesto Chicken is marvelous when sliced, topped with brie and broiled to perfection) with a salad of leafy greens, apple and walnut tossed lightly with your favorite homemade vinaigrette. 
  • Create scrumptious cranberry-orange vinaigrette for a leafy green salad by adding one or two tablespoons of brandied cranberry sauce to your standard go-to vinaigrette recipe.
Back to Top