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!

Alton Brown's Cranberry Sauce,

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.

Cranberry Orange Sauce for Thanksgiving,

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.

Perfect Cranberry Sauce from Alton Brown,

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!


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
  • 112 oz bag fresh cranberries (just about 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)


  1. Wash the cranberries and discard any soft or wrinkled ones.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in orange zest and additional honey if sweeter cranberry sauce is desired.
  5. Once cranberry sauce is cool, transfer to a small air tight container. Chill in refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
  6. Sauce can be made up to a few days ahead before you plan on serving it.