Ever since the first time I had turkey with cranberry sauce, I no longer think I can go without. Turkey just tastes bland without it (hopefully I haven’t just been eating bland turkey). It’s like cereal without milk, or popcorn without butter.

Our family has tried several variations of homemade cranberry sauce over the years–even the kind made from the cranberry sauce you get from a can. Yes, the kind that sort of just flops out, still retaining all of its can-formed glory (shudder). This year, we opted to spice it up a little. My sister showed me a recipe of a cranberry sauce sweetened with maple syrup, made by the lovely Ree Drummond (aka “The Pioneer Woman”). You can find the original recipe here.

What? Maple syrup in cranberry sauce? I was a little skeptical at first, especially seeing that the recipe called for a whole cup of it. But once I tasted, I believed. Using pure maple syrup in place of regular white sugar gives the sauce a different type of sweetness–it’s a more wholesome, well-rounded flavor. There’s just something really comforting about the maple, especially on a cold night in. Oh, and it’s festive, too. Win-win-win.

Try it out. Both you and the turkey need it.

Plus, takes less than 10 minutes to make.

3 cups (12-oz) fresh cranberries
1 cup pure maple syrup (not the pancake kind)
1 cup cranberry juice
3 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp orange zest

*Note: When zesting your orange (using a microplane preferred), make sure you don’t get any of the rind–that’s the bitter part!

1. Give your cranberries a quick rinse or two. Throw ‘em in a saucepan.

2. Add your cranberry juice, maple syrup, orange juice, and orange zest into the pan.

3. Heat everything and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.


4. Once it’s reached boiling point, leave for a couple minutes and turn the heat down to medium low. Let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes, or until its reached a thick, syrup-y consistency. Make sure you leave some cranberries intact (i.e. don’t let them all turn into mush), because it makes the texture and presentation that much better. Hint: Keep in mind that it’ll thicken further when the sauce cools, too.

5. Pour into a nice serving container, and get ready for some crazy good 1-on-1 turkey-cranberry action.


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