Brandied Cranberries

One of the best things about Thanksgiving season is the availability of fresh or fresh frozen cranberries. We buy bags of them this time of year and freeze them so we can cook with cranberries all year long. Typically grocers stop carrying even frozen cranberries after January, so if you like all things cranberry, it pays to buy extra when they are in season. Usually for cranberry sauce, we make them the old fashioned way, boiling them in a little water with sugar. This brandied cranberry recipe is firmer than typical sauce, with jewels of spiked candied cranberries. Serve like chutney with pork, turkey or chicken.

Brandied Cranberries Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 cups.


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 Tbsp finely shredded orange zest (use microplane zester)


1 Preheat oven to 325°F. Sort through cranberries and discard any that are soft or decayed.

2 Mix cranberries, sugar, brandy, and orange zest in a 8 or 9-inch square baking dish. Bake uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Chill up to one week.

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Recipe from a Sunset recipe by Julie Wente of Wente Winery.


  1. Garrett

    Loved this when I tried it. So making them this year. =)

  2. Bob

    I like the sound of these! Do you recommend any particular brandy?

    No particular brandy recommendation. I use whatever we have on hand. ~Elise

  3. Abby

    They’re beautiful. I’d love to try them with roast pork! Great idea. Thanks!

  4. stephchows

    Do you think you would be able to can this recipe to save for use later? Maybe toss it into sterilized jars and process like normal? Or do you think it would spoil? Looks great!

    No idea. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  5. Soma

    Very Pretty!! I would love it even on a hard crusted bread:-)

  6. Ben Lyons


    Can I use a weaker alcohol? I would like to try a raspberry lambic instead. Do you think that would work?

    Why don’t you try it and let us know how it turns out? ~Elise

  7. jonathan

    Deconstructed fruitcake.
    That I actually want to eat.

    I’m with Soma on the “hard crusted bread” idea. Maybe with a schmear of nice soft chevre beforehand.

  8. Yaara

    The picture is beautiful..
    Can I use dried cranberries? (It’s the only kind we have around here) and maybe omit some the sugar..
    Thank you!

    This recipe calls for fresh or frozen whole cranberries. I wouldn’t attempt it with dried. But if you do, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  9. Sunny

    Any idea how long one can keep cranberries frozen? I sometimes buy them and freeze them, but then I forget they are in the freezer!

  10. b

    These are absolutely wonderful! Did a trial run before Thanksgiving after I saw it in Sunset and they turned out perfect.

  11. Larry

    Just got through making a double batch. Used splenda. It smells and tastes wonderful.

  12. Melissa

    I used this recipe as a fantastic inspiration for a stovetop recipe. I used dried orange-flavor cranberries (thanks Trader Joe’s!) and some fresh orange juice along with Hennesey cognac and cider and brown sugar. and WOW! that liquor makes all the difference in the world–what layers! Cranberry sauce is no longer one-dimensional! And baking it is really interesting, it gives it a very different texture from a sauce/chutney type dish to a real, hearty side dish in its own right.

  13. Chandra

    I made this substituting zest from one clementine and its juice. Probably not as citrusy as 2 tablespoons of orange zest would have been but still very interesting.

  14. phemfro

    These were FABU!! Best ever. Will make every year here on out. Delicious!

  15. Christine B

    These got great reviews on Thanksgiving! They will be done again – Thank you and your family for so many wonderful recipes. I do not have a well of relatives to turn to for recipes or cooking advise, so this site really does feel like calling mom when I need to know how to make something. Thank you :)

  16. Lisa

    Made this for thanksgiving – really good.

  17. Molly

    This is very similar to our family recipe that we’ve been using since I can remember christmas/thanksgiving dinner. I love this recipe!

    This year we tried soaking the cranberries in brandy overnight and they were even better than ever. (It was also kind of fun to just pop a cranberry or two pre-cooking)

  18. Phyllis P

    I just found this recipe and want to make it for next week. Do I serve it hot or cold? Or does it matter?

    Great question. I don’t think it matters. I think I made ahead and served cold, but you could easily serve warm. ~Elise

  19. Rachel

    I’ve made these each year for the last three Thanksgivings since you posted this recipe. I love them. I make them with brown sugar, apple brandy and no orange (citrus allergy). Thank you!

  20. Laurie

    This was a big hit at our Thanksgiving table this year. So good – and so easy. And it was delicious on turkey sandwiches.

  21. Annie

    Love this recipe! I usually don’t like cranberries, but these were so delicious. They are incredibly tasty on a turkey sandwich with a little bit of horseradish spread.

  22. Milena

    Great recipe! I usually can’t stand cranberries but these are so good. Huge hit at thanksgiving and xmas. I used peach brandy that I had at home and it still came out great! And so easy :)

  23. Qing

    These are like candies! The house smelled so good while it was baking. Thanks!

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