The first Thanksgiving I spent away from my family was the first I spent with my future husband’s family. It was also the first Thanksgiving for me where cranberry sauce commanded a place on the table. (Two kinds! His grandmama’s homemade and, hilariously, a straight-from-the-can cylinder served on crystal.) The classic dish just wasn’t part of my family’s tradition, but the gift of sharing other people’s tables is a chance to see—and taste—the world a little differently. If you’re eager to refresh your holiday meal, a simple, foundational dish like cranberry sauce is an ideal canvas to experiment or introduce new flavors. And that’s the beauty of Thanksgiving: a time to remember that no matter what’s on it or when we gather around it, the table brings us all closer together.

SWEET CHERRIES & CRANBERRIES //

Cranberry sauce is rarely the star of the Thanksgiving spread, but this candy-like variation just might give the crowd favorites a run for their money. Serves 8-10


Ingredients:

1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 ½ cups (9 oz.) dried cherries
1 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup pure cranberry juice
¼ cup. fresh squeezed orange juice (about ½ navel orange)
Kosher salt to taste

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the salt and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

2. Lower the heat slightly and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the sauce is jammy, about 15–20 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and let cool. Season with salt to taste and serve, or store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Can be served cold or at room temperature.

MULLED WINE CRANBERRY SAUCE //

Warming spices—the same ones used in classic mulled wine—steer this jammy sauce in a decidedly holiday direction. Serves 4


Ingredients:

12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup dry red wine
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground allspice

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until berries start to burst, about 5 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to gently press berries against the side of the pan, and continue cooking until berries have broken down and the sauce becomes thick and jammy, about 10 minutes more.

3.Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator. Can be served cold or warm.

AUTUMN HARVEST CHUTNEY //

Fall apples, pears, and walnuts give the hearty cranberry chutney a bit of heft that’s delicious for Thanksgiving and beyond. Serves 8–10


Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 orange, peeled and pureed
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup chopped dried mixed fruit
1 ¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves, stirring.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the sauce comes together.

3. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve warm or store in the refrigerator to serve later.