How To Make Cranberry Sauce With Dried Cranberries

How to Make Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cranberries: Full Guide

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Shari Mason

On Thanksgiving, my renowned cranberry sauce recipe with dried cranberries became a standout when fresh cranberries were scarce, presenting a new twist on the classic dish.

Surprisingly, it was a delightful alternative, bursting with sweet and tart flavors.

If you’re in a similar situation or want to try something new, I’m here to guide you through the simple steps on how to make cranberry sauce with dried cranberries.

Ingredients Needed To Make Cranberry Sauce Using Dried Cranberries

Person Making Cranberry Sauce
  1. Dried Cranberries: These are the star of the show! Dried cranberries [1] are slightly sweet and chewy, adding cranberry flavor to your sauce.
  2. Sugar: Sugar provides the sweetness that balances the tartness of the cranberries, creating a harmonious flavor profile in your sauce.
  3. Water: Water is the liquid base of the sauce, helping to rehydrate the dried cranberries and form a saucy consistency.
  4. Orange Juice: Orange juice adds a zesty and citrusy note to the sauce, enhancing its overall taste with a hint of freshness.

“According to the supermarkets, there is no such thing as ‘out of season.’ Berries in the middle of February? Why not? Seafood flown in from Japan? Sure. While it all adds up to appetizing and varied meals throughout the year, regardless of the weather, it comes with a price tag – both ethical and financial.”

– Homaro Cantu, American Chef


How Do I Prepare The Dried Cranberries?

  1. Rinse the Dried Cranberries: Place the dried cranberries in a fine-mesh strainer or a colander. Rinse them thoroughly under cold running water. This step helps to rehydrate the cranberries slightly and removes any excess sugar or dust.
  2. Drain Well: After rinsing, allow the cranberries to drain well. Shake the filters or gently pat them with a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water.
  3. They’re Ready to Use: Dried cranberries can be used in your cranberry sauce recipe once drained. Add them to the saucepan with the other ingredients to create a flavorful and delightful sauce.

What’s The Basic Cooking Process?

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a saucepan, combine the rinsed dried cranberries, sugar, water, and orange juice. The measurements may vary depending on your recipe, but typically, you’ll use about 1 cup of dried cranberries, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of orange juice for a basic cranberry sauce.
  2. Heat and Stir: Place the saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture well to ensure the sugar dissolves and the ingredients evenly combine.
  3. Simmer: Once the mixture is well-mixed, let it become a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to low to maintain the simmer.
  4. Cook Until Cranberries Burst: Let the mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the dried cranberries soften and start to burst. Stir occasionally during this time to prevent sticking and burning.
  5. Mash If Desired: If you prefer a smoother sauce, use a spoon to mash some cranberries as they cook gently. This will thicken the sauce and create a pleasing texture.
  6. Cool and Serve: Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature. As it cools, it will continue to thicken. Once cooled, transfer it to a serving dish, and it’s ready to be enjoyed!

How Do I Achieve The Desired Consistency?

Bowl of Cranberry Sauce From Dried Cranberries

You can follow a simple trick to achieve the desired consistency for your cranberry sauce with dried cranberries. 

As the mixture simmers, use the back of a spoon to gently mash some of the cranberries against the side of the saucepan.

“Transforming dried cranberries into cranberry sauce is like adding a touch of culinary magic to your kitchen – a simple recipe, a burst of flavor, and endless moments of delicious joy.”

– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

This will break them down and release their natural pectin, which helps thicken the sauce. 

Continue to simmer and stir until the sauce reaches the thickness you prefer. This method allows you to control the sauce’s texture, whether you prefer it chunky or smoother, ensuring it’s just suitable for your taste buds.

Can I Add Any Extra Flavors?

  1. Orange Zest: Add some freshly grated orange zest to infuse a bright, citrusy note that complements the cranberries beautifully.
  2. Cinnamon: A pinch of ground cinnamon adds warmth and a subtle spice that pairs wonderfully with the cranberry’s tartness.
  3. Vanilla Extract: A drop or two of vanilla extract can impart a sweet and aromatic depth to your sauce.
  4. Nuts: Chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans [2] can provide a delightful crunch and nutty flavor, elevating your sauce to new heights.


u003cstrongu003eHow long do you soak dried cranberries?u003c/strongu003e

To rehydrate dried cranberries, soak them in water for 15-30 minutes.

u003cstrongu003eAre dried cranberries healthier than fresh ones? u003c/strongu003e

Dried cranberries are generally less healthy than fresh ones because they often contain added sugar, increasing their calorie content and reducing some nutritional benefits.

In Conclusion

Making cranberry sauce with dried cranberries is a straightforward culinary adventure that brings the vibrant flavors of cranberries to your table. 

With a handful of simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, you can craft a sweet and tangy sauce that elevates special occasions and everyday meals. 

By rinsing the dried cranberries, combining them with sugar and other ingredients, simmering them to perfection, and personalizing them with extra flavors, you create a delightful sauce that adds flavor to your dishes. 

So, savor the joy of homemade cranberry sauce with dried cranberries, whether it’s a holiday feast or a simple weekday dinner.


Shari Mason

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