Spicy Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Here is a delightful spin on a fall favorite—cranberry sauce. The cranberries are cooked in Pinot Noir and spiced with curry, ginger, fennel seeds, and other spices.

A Simply Recipes reader shared this Epicurious recipe with me, which so sounded intriguing, we just had to try it!

Spicy Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir

I reduced the sugar and the curry powder a bit and the cranberry sauce came out beautifully—sweet, but not too sweet, seeped in the flavor of a good Pinot Noir, and enlivened with a rich blend of spices.

I highly recommend it if you would like to stretch a bit beyond the standard cranberry sauce.

Spicy Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 1/2 cups

Chinese 5-spice is a common spice mix for Chinese cooking. If you can't find it, we've included directions on how to make your own.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cups Pinot Noir or other dry red wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Large pinch of Chinese five-spice powder*

*How to make your own Chinese five-spice powder

Chinese five-spice powder Ingredients:
1 teaspoon peppercorns
4 star anise
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds

In a dry skillet, roast peppercorns by shaking the pan over low to medium heat until the aroma of the peppercorns is released (about three minutes). Grind the roasted peppercorns and 4 star anise in a blender or pepper mill. Mix in ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and ground fennel seeds. Grind the seasonings until very fine. Store in an airtight container.


1 Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cranberries and fresh ginger; stir until cranberries begin to burst, 3-5 minutes.

2 Add wine and sugar; boil until mixture is reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes.

3 Add crystallized ginger, curry powder and five-spice powder.

Serve sauce cold or warm.

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Showing 4 of 18 Comments

  • Basil Henneberry

    This the second year making this for Thanksgiving and everyone thought it was a excellent twist on the usual cranberry sauce

  • Lisa

    Allison, this cranberry sauce went really well with a veg shepherds pie (lentils or tvp or veggie ground round instead of hamburger). Another way to serve it would be with a casserole of cooked yam/sweet potato pureed with some olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle it with some pecans or walnuts and maybe some bread crumbs. Bake at 350F for 1/2 hour.

  • Allison

    This sounds wonderful. It’s a brisk fall day and I can’t think of a better way to use the last of the Pinot I have on my counter. Any suggestions for a vegetarian dish to serve it with?

    Gosh Allison, your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise

  • Holly Jones

    This is the absolutely best cranberry sauce my family has ever had the pleasure of eating!!!! Loved the asian influence. Very simple to make. We almost didn’t have any leftovers – that’s a first!

  • audra

    I’ve been making a cranberry sauce that is very similar to this for years. Combine 1 bag of cranberries with 1 cup wine and 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, depending on your likes and the dryness of the wine, add 1 tsp lemon zest and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Really good. I’ve also made it with apple cider, although I decrease the amount of sugar to 1/4 to 1/3 cup.

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