Alton Brown’s Cranberry Sauce (only better)
I can’t believe Thanksgiving is in just a few days. As if I haven’t been busy enough the past few months, I’m hosting dinner at my house. For almost 30 people. Will I ever learn how to say no? Until I do, I’m making the best of it and gearing up for a week filled with family and friends!
I suppose one of the nice things about hosting is I get to dole out food assignments! My dear grandma has been making the cranberry sauce for as long as I can remember. and bless her sweet little soul but it is always so damn runny. And tart. Since she’s in her 80’s, I told her she doesn’t have to make a thing as she’d payed her Thanksgiving dues over the years. Thanks goodness she didn’t offer her me her recipe. It would have been hard to turn her down.
Instead, I turned to my Food Network boyfriend, Alton brown. The glasses, the way he geeks out on the chemistry of ingredients, it’s safe to say I have a thing for him. Whenever I want to know the why and how of a certain recipe, I can count on Alton to tell to break things down for me.
Apparently using honey as the sweetener and cooking the cranberries just the right amount of time is the key. If done right, the natural pectins will release and make the perfect consistency. Under cooking doesn’t allow the pectin to release and cooking too long breaks the pectin down. Both resulting in runny cranberry sauce. At the end of the recipe, I was totally satisfied with the consistency of the sauce but I still thought his sauce was a little tart and I thought it was missing that zip so I added a bit more honey and some orange zest to brighten up the sauce. The result is perfection.
Without a doubt this is the best cranberry sauce I’ve ever had. I’ll be making a double batch so I can make sure to have plenty of leftovers for the multiple turkey sandwiches I plan to eat next weekend!
Happy Monday to you all!Print
Alton Brown’s Cranberry Sauce (only better)
- Yield: 3 and 1/2 cups 1x
The perfect cranberry sauce. It’s truly a homemade version of the beloved canned sauce that graces our Thanksgiving table every year!
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 tablespoons 100% cranberry juice, not cocktail
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1 – 12 oz bag fresh cranberries (just about 3 cups)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- Wash the cranberries and discard any soft or wrinkled ones.
- Combine the fresh orange juice, cranberry juice and honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the juice and honey to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Stir in orange zest and additional honey if sweeter cranberry sauce is desired.
- Once cranberry sauce is cool, transfer to a small air tight container. Chill in refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
- Sauce can be made up to a few days ahead before you plan on serving it.
Even though I had a bag of cranberries that I wasn’t sure what to do with I went ahead and bought about 3 more bags this weekend. And now I think I know what’s going down in my kitchen tonight… 😉
Perfect! I will have to make this for my leftover turkey sands since I won’t be hostessing this year. I saw that Pio Woman uses pomegranate juice to cook them in. Innnntteresting.
This sounds fabulous with the orange juice and no added sugar! Just the way I like it!
looks great Kelley! I am so going to make this!
What a sweet story Kelley. Grandma sounds lovely! And I’m so cracking up about your Food Network boyfriend! Love Alton. Great recipe, I also love a splash of brandy 🙂 wishing you a beautiful Thanksgiving friend!
Oh yeah, you’ve got to love Alton Brown. This cranberry sauce looks fantastic…love the orange kick.
is it 3 Tablespoons or 3 cups of OJ?
I was wondering the same thing, John. Thanks for answering, Kellys. The list of ingredients says, “3 tablespoons CUP freshly squeezed orange juice.”
Sorry….it’s tablespoons. All fixed now, thanks!
Is it 3/4 cup of honey PLUS an additional 1tablespoon of honey? Thx in advance.
I made this recipe today and it tastes great but it congealed. Should I heat it up before serving?
You have to take care not too overcook it or it will release to much pectin and get too thick. Stir in a tablespoon or two of water or orange juice.
I used this with a tiny bit of cinnamon and instead of water I used sprite . Yum!
I really love the recipe.
I enjoyed Alton’s recipe, but love the sweetness and variability of this one! I’ll use a mix of cran juice, pomegranate, and/or cherry, depending on what I have available. Always yummy.