Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Cranberry Sauce | Wheat-Free Meat-Free

In our last year of college, myself and some friends decided we should have a Thanksgiving dinner the weekend before we all went home to celebrate with our families. This event was dubbed Pre-T. We have continued to have Pre-T in subsequent years because everyone tends to like Thanksgiving food, so why not enjoy it twice?

This year I tried to incorporate familiar foods (green beans, cranberries, sweet potatoes) without using the typical recipes you see (cream of mushroom soup/green bean casserole, canned cranberry sauce, and that sweet-potato-marshmallow-thingy).

So without further ado, the recipe for the spiced cranberry sauce I made. This is an adapted recipe from a version found over at Culinate.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 12-ounce package whole cranberries
  1. Wash the cranberries, making sure to discard any rotten ones.
  2. Combine the sugar, OJ, and spices in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add about 2/3 of the cranberries and bring to a boil. Once bubbling, cook until the sauce darkens and thickens, 7-10 minutes. As it cooks, the cranberries will pop and deflate.
  4. Add the remaining cranberries and cook until they soften, another 3-4 minutes.
  5. The sauce can be served immediately, or you can allow it to cool to room temperature.

Serves 4-5 as a Thanksgiving side dish

I add the cranberries in two batches, as it results in a cranberry “mash” with some whole cranberries still floating around. I think it gives the cranberry sauce a bit more visual appeal as the whole cranberries tend to be lighter in color. It’s not necessary though; the whole bag can be added at once.

I cut slits in the cardamom pods, then pulled them apart to remove the seeds. You can throw the pods into the sauce if you want, but you’ll want to fish them out before the sauce is served as they’re pretty potent and not very pleasant to bite into. Even without the pods, the cardamom is pretty strong in this recipe. If it’s not a flavor your particularly like, or a flavor you’re familiar with, I’d suggest using just one pod.

The sauce is indeed saucy when hot. As it cools, it firms up into more of a jelly.

The sauce had a strong “spiced” smell, very much like a mulled wine. Mike said it was delicious, but he’d probably say that about any stewed fruit.

Looking for More Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes?

Take a look at my book, The Wheat-Free Meat-Free Cookbook: 100 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes.

A sampling of the recipes included:
  • Breakfasts: Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins, Yeasted Waffles, Gooey Butter Cake,
  • Sides: Patatas Bravas, Pea and New Potato Salad, Braised Celery,
  • Mains: Corn Waffle Sandwiches, Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Pesto Asparagus Galette, and
  • Desserts: Blueberry Mango Crisp, Baklava Rolls, Amaretto Cake.

You can see the full recipe list on the Amazon page.


  1. I tried this and it was delicious. Miss Kalinda, I love how you tell us the real-life story of making the dish. I knew not to worry when the cranberries deflated. Saving some cranberries out to put in later and create contrast was an elegant touch.

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