This easy Bourbon Cranberry Sauce is a simple and delicious sauce made with fresh cranberries, orange juice, and maple syrup.
Each fall, when the bags of little red cranberries begin appearing in the grocery stores– I get excited.
Cranberries aren’t just an affordable berry– they’re an underappreciated berry. These tart little beauties are delicious on SO MANY THINGS.
They’re amazing on buttery, rich foods that need a little “kick” of acidity or sweetness. I serve them with roasted acorn squash, add them to my oatmeal, and even swap cranberry sauce for the grapes in this seared salmon recipe.
And this particular cranberry sauce– BOURBON cranberry sauce— is a mixture of some of my favorite things ever. Bourbon, maple syrup, and lovely little cranberries.
When Are Cranberries in Season?
Cranberries are in season from mid-September to mid-November. You’ll find them in the produce section packaged in bags.
The rest of the year, the only place you might find cranberries is in the freezer aisle with the frozen fruit.
Happily, fresh cranberries freeze beautifully. Simply toss the bagged cranberries from the produce section into your freezer, and they’ll stay good for a year.
Want more FALL SIDE DISHES? Try these: Smoked Oyster Stuffing, Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic Cauliflower Mash
Can I Swap the Maple Syrup for Another Sweetener?
Yes! If you prefer, swap the maple syrup for brown sugar, raw sugar, or regular white sugar.
Can I Use Less Sweetener?
This recipe already uses considerably less sweetener than standard cranberry sauce recipes.
If you want to use less sweetener, and plan to serve the sauce cold– keep in mind that cold foods taste less sweet than the same foods at room temperature. Be sure to taste for sweetness after your sauce cools.
I Ran Out of Bourbon. Can I Use a Different Liquor or Liqueur?
You can swap out the bourbon for any other unflavored whiskey.
Alternatively, swap it out for Grand Marnier.
Can I Make this Bourbon Cranberry Sauce Ahead of Time?
Most definitely! Check the recipe card for storage directions.
How to Make Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
Start by adding the cranberries, juice, syrup, and some bourbon to a medium-sized pot.
Bring the liquids to a boil, and the berries will start to burst.
Simmer the sauce for about five minutes.
If you’d prefer your sauce to be a little boozier, add a little more bourbon.
Chill the bourbon cranberry sauce in the fridge for about two hours.
Taste the sauce and see if you want it sweeter. If you do, add more maple syrup.
Serve your cranberry sauce cool within two weeks, or freeze it for later!
Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
2 Weeks (Fridge), 2 Months (Freezer)
- 12 oz cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- ¾ cup orange juice
- ⅓ cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)
- ¼ cup bourbon, plus 1 TB (optional)
- Add cranberries, juice, syrup, and ¼ cup bourbon to a pot.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer until most of the berries burst. Continue to simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Optionally, add the remaining tablespoon of bourbon.
- Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
- This sauce is somewhat less sweet than traditional cranberry sauces. Once the sauce cools, taste it, and add more maple syrup if desired.
- Leftovers / Make Ahead + Refrigerate:Store sauce in the fridge, and use within 2 weeks.Make Ahead + Freeze: Store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze in an air-tight container for up to 2 months.
- Swap the bourbon for Grand Marnier
- Skip the bourbon (and don’t replace it) for a traditional cranberry sauce