Wondering what goes with cranberries? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.
Knowing what goes well with cranberries gives you a starting point for putting meals together using the ingredients you already have on hand.
Whether you want to reduce food waste, get more creative in the kitchen, or improve your cooking skills, it starts with understanding what flavors pair well together.
What Are Cranberries?
Cranberries are small, round fruits high in antioxidants, ranging in color from bright to deep red with shiny skins. Their flavor is very tart, so they need some type of sweetener to balance out their flavor no matter how they're being prepared.
They're grown in the Northern states such as Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, and Oregon, as well as parts of Canada. They grow on bushy vines and take 16 months to mature.
The vast majority of cranberries that are produced go to making juice, canned cranberry sauce, and dried cranberries. Only around 5% are sold fresh or frozen during the holiday season.
When To Buy
Cranberries are in peak season from September through December. Look at the seasonal produce guide to see what's in season right now.
What To Look For
Look for cranberries with firm, smooth skin without any squishy or bruised berries.
How To Store
If you bought fresh cranberries in a plastic bag, you can just store them like that in the crisper drawer in your fridge. If you purchased them from a farmer's market, transfer them to an airtight container before storing them in the fridge.
When properly stored, they last in the fridge for about 3 weeks or in the freezer for a year. If using frozen cranberries, you can use them straight from the freezer, no need to defrost them first.
What Goes Well With Cranberries?
Ginger, jalapeno peppers, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.
Apples, apricots, lemons, limes, oranges, peaches, pears, quince, and tangerines.
Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, kosher salt, pepper, and star anise.
Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and walnuts.
Goat cheese, cream: cashew cream or coconut cream for dairy-free, and cream cheese: or dairy-free cream cheese.
Chicken, pork, and turkey.
Chocolate: white and dark, cognac, currants, honey, orange liqueur, maple syrup, oats, raisins, sugar: brown and white, vanilla, and white wine.
What To Make With Cranberries
Cranberries are most commonly used in baked goods such as scones, cookies, pies, cobblers, or quick breads. You can also make fruit salads or jams with them.
Forget the American store-bought canned cranberry sauce with its weird gelatinous texture that feels more like a science project than a condiment. For your next Thanksgiving or holiday meal, make homemade cranberry sauce instead. It's easy to make, has simple ingredients, and comes together quickly.
You can make infused simple syrup with fresh cranberries. Make a cranberry vinaigrette with dried cranberries for a fall harvest salad or add them whole to any salad such as broccoli salad for a nice textural contrast and a hint of sweetness.
To grab more inspiration, look in your fridge and see what ingredients you have from the above list.