Thanksgiving Tradition Gets a Flavor Update

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I love to experiment in the kitchen. One traditional side dish that I love is cranberry sauce — the stuff made with fresh cranberries, not the jelly mold from the can! Every year, I see so many variations of cranberry sauce recipes in cooking magazines and online, but I have never actually made my own … until now. I took some inspiration from a variety of recipes and included some traditional components such as orange. So, here's my take on a Thanksgiving favorite.

Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Recipe by Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup minced shallot
  • 2 12-ounce bags fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ⅔ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil and sauté shallots 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add cranberries, sugar, ginger, orange zest and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped and the sauce has thickened.
  3. Stir in red wine vinegar and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. zRemove from heat; cool completely at room temperature.

Cooking Note

  • If making the sauce a day or two before Thanksgiving, store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature or warm before serving. Cranberry sauce can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. One of the reasons some people don't recommend freezing cranberry sauce is that it will be too watery when defrosted.

*This recipe originally appeared on Jessica Fishman Levinson's Nutritioulicious blog in November 2012. Recipe updated by author to reduce sugar (November 2016).

Jessica Fishman Levinson on FacebookJessica Fishman Levinson on InstagramJessica Fishman Levinson on LinkedinJessica Fishman Levinson on PinterestJessica Fishman Levinson on Twitter
Jessica Fishman Levinson
Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, is a nationally recognized nutrition expert with a focus on culinary nutrition and communications. Jessica’s passion lies in the kitchen, where she develops nutritious and delicious recipes to feed her family and inspire others to do the same. She is an experienced and published nutrition writer, author and speaker. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.