For a lot of people, it wouldn't be the holidays without a turkey, and it wouldn't be a turkey without the cranberry sauce. It's an essential side that complements the rich flavor of the turkey, but there's also a huge variety of cranberry-based dishes beyond that familiar standby. This year, while cranberries are cheap and plentiful in stores, add color and flavor to the season by trying a few of these easy, delicious recipes.
If there's a holiday recipe that's easier to make than cranberry sauce, it's hard to imagine what that might be. The classic recipe has only three ingredients — berries, sugar and water — and takes just minutes to make. Fresh-made cranberry sauce tastes better than the commercial kind, with a brighter and fresher flavor, and it won't take time away from the rest of your holiday preparations. That's a solid win.
Orange Cranberry Sauce
When you make holiday meals for the family, there's always a fine line to walk. Some people absolutely have to have their traditional favorites every year, or it just doesn't feel like the holidays. Others get tired of the "same old same old" and want to shake things up from time to time. One easy way to please everyone is to swap out plain cranberry sauce for this orange cranberry sauce recipe. It's a subtle enough difference to not ruffle the traditionalists' feathers, but brings something agreeably new to the table for those who like novelty. Also, it's just plain delicious.
When holiday entertaining season rolls around, it's handy to have a collection of easy recipes for casual grazing. The best can double as either appetizers or part of a buffet meal, and that's exactly what you get with these baked cranberry meatballs. They take just a few minutes to mix and a few more to shape, and you can either bake them right away or make them ahead and freeze them for later. Once they're ready, serve them immediately or set them out in a preheated slow cooker so people can help themselves.
Cranberry Brie Flatbread
Baked brie is a great company dish, but it means your guests have to cluster around the serving dish to enjoy it. These cranberry Brie flatbreads are a great way to enjoy all those same flavors, but in handheld form. They're ideal for mixing and mingling, and they come together in just minutes from ingredients you can easily keep on hand all through the holidays. They're great as appetizers or an unusual and elegant dessert, and you can even make miniature versions to pass around on trays.
No-Churn Cranberry Ice Cream
When the weather turns cold, it doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying frozen treats, especially if they're perfectly seasonal and holiday-appropriate. After all, it's warm indoors, right? You don't need any special equipment to enjoy this no-churn cranberry ice cream — just a few minutes of your time and a few inches of space in your freezer. It starts off much the same way as orange cranberry sauce, and in fact you can save time by doubling that recipe and then separating half to become ice cream. Whipping your cream gives it the lightness you'd otherwise get from churning.
Freshly Cooked Cranberries
If you've ever tasted a raw cranberry, you know they need cooking to bring out their distinctive flavor and bright color. In some baked goods, that's fine because the berries cook as they bake, but for many other recipes, you'll need to know how to cook fresh cranberries. The process is a simple matter of boiling them with water and sugar until they're syrupy. Once they're done you can spoon the berries over pancakes, waffles or warm scones, use them in a seasonal cobbler, drizzle them over cheesecake or add them to an apple pie to give that classic dessert a holiday "spin." If you have a dehydrator, drain the berries and dry them for a raisin-like treat. Don't discard the syrup, though, because it's great in holiday cocktails or your mulled wine.