Brandied Cranberries

Side DishThanksgivingCondimentCranberry

Fresh cranberries baked with sugar, brandy, and orange zest.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

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Usually for cranberry sauce, we cook cranberries 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 it like a chutney — with pork, turkey or chicken, or as a topping for baked brie or a festive component of a cheese board.

The recipe comes from a recipe by Julie Wente of Wente Winery in Sunset Magazine.

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 Sort and discard bad cranberries: 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 2-quart baking dish.

3 Bake: Bake at 325°F 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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29 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Bryce

    Holy crap! My oven just exploded!!! I made this with Brandy-based orange liqueur, Gran Gala, and 10 minutes into baking it exploded while and blew the oven door open. Scared there hell out of me! I wondering if I left a can of Pam in the oven or something before I realized it was the alcohol. It didn’t break my oven glad though, but I jumped so hard I think it popped out my hernia. Suggestion: start this with the oven door open. I’ve made this maybe 10 times for holidays, I love this recipe, and this is my first kitchen explosion. I have pics!


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  2. Kelly K

    I brought this to a Friendsgiving this year. Everybody was RAVING about it. A must make, for sure.


  3. Debbie

    I made this for Thanksgiving to serve with red-wine braised turkey thighs – they were a big hit. I’m serving them on Christmas eve with Tourtiere. I use Grand Marnier and the flavor is great.


  4. Louise Slawson

    I’ve made these for years, and I’m not allowed at Thanksgiving dinner without bringing them. I feel a little guilty because they take such little effort for something everyone loves. I let it set overnight and serve in a cut crystal bowl; its beautiful as well as delicious.


  5. Cheryl

    I have made this every year for Thanksgiving…this is the most amazing dish each year. My only variation is usually the brand of brandy on hand…I an already excited about making it this year!!!


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