There is a never-ending debate amongst friends and family that gets very heated around Thanksgiving every year and that is the debate between canned cranberry sauce and homemade cranberry sauce. Luckily this super simple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce is the perfect in-between using canned cranberry sauce as the base, but taking it up a notch to make it look and taste homemade. The best part is that it takes less than 10 minutes of work, and it tastes so good your guests will never know it started with a can!
This Kentucky Bourbon Cranberry Sauce is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish, but it's so simple to make that you can easily have this sweet and delicious dish any time! If you love a sweet and fruity treat, you may also like Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies or Sangria Pop Tarts.
Why this Recipe Works
This simple southern Bourbon Cranberry Sauce takes a basic Thanksgiving side dish to the next level. It's sweet and fruity and perfectly complements turkey. The smoothness of the bourbon and the sweetness of the jello is the perfect balance against the tartness of the cranberries making it the best of both worlds!
Ingredients and Notes
Canned Cranberry Sauce - Be sure you're using whole berry cranberry sauce and not jellied cranberry sauce. These cans will usually be right next to each other and essentially look exactly the same so be sure to read the label! Most, if not every brand will likely have both options.
Bourbon - I highly recommend a cherry bourbon in this boozy recipe. The sweet and smooth flavor is the perfect addition to this side dish. But it's most important to use a bourbon that you like. This epic side dish only uses two tablespoons of bourbon which means you'll have plenty left for drinking so you should use one you enjoy. Even an airplane bottle or a nip will leave you with extra to drink!
Mixed Berries - I love to use frozen berries for this simple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce. They come in the perfect sized packaging so you don't have to worry about measuring them out, they don't require any prep, and they can be bought in advance without having to worry about them going bad!
Black Cherry Jello - The black cherry flavor works really well with the tart cranberries, but feel free to try out different jello flavors to find what works best for you! Black cherry is my personal favorite, but orange, strawberry, or even lime could be delicious!
Can Crushed Pineapple - I like to use a can of crushed pineapple because it's easy, but you can also use fresh or frozen pineapple, or you can skip the pineapple altogether and replace it with another fruit!
Mixed Berries - One of my favorite parts about this super simple recipe is that you can use whatever mix-ins you like! I think the flavor of the berries works well with the tart cranberries, but feel free to change it up to whatever excites you!
How to Make this Recipe
Step 1: Combine all the ingredients except the pineapple and mixed berries in a medium saucepan.
Step 2: Heat over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes.
Step 3: Remove from heat and stir in mixed berries and pineapple.
Step 4: Pour into an 8x8 baking dish and refrigerate about 4 hours till set. Serve cold.
This easy Bourbon Cranberry Sauce is sweet. Cranberries are very tart so we add the fruit, jello, and sugar to offset that tartness with sweetness.
It is delicious by itself, but on Thanksgiving I really enjoy eating this on turkey. It would go well on the sandwiches you make with your leftover turkey, or you could even put it over vanilla ice cream for a dessert.
I think this Bourbon Cranberry Sauce is best cold. It can be served at room temperature, but I would not recommend serving this recipe warm.
Tips & Tricks
Tip #1: The best part of this easy recipe is how flexible it is! You can change up the flavor of the jello, you can change up your mix-ins to other fruits or nuts, or you can change up the measurements of your mix-ins. If you want less pineapple or less berries, use less! If you want to add walnuts or mandarin oranges, go for it!
Tip #2: The night before Thanksgiving, throw this together and place in the fridge before you go to bed. It takes just a few minutes to make and then you'll have one less thing to worry about making on Thanksgiving day!
Bourbon Cranberry Sauce should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Did you try this recipe? Leave a review below, and tag @flourdeliz on Instagram!
Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
- medium saucepan
- 8x8 pan or any shallow dish
- 14 oz can whole berry cranberry sauce approx. 1 ½ cups
- 3 oz package black cherry jello approx. 5 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cherry bourbon or straight bourbon
- 15 oz can crushed pineapple
- 2 cups mixed berries 12 oz bag frozen berries
- Mix the cranberry sauce, jello, sugar, and bourbon in a saucepan and heat over medium-low for approximately 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and add pineapple and berries.
- Pour into shallow pan and refrigerate until set, 4 hours to overnight.
- Transfer to serving dish or serve right out of the shallow pan!
This recipe was originally posted on November 19, 2017, but was republished with new photos, additional information about the recipe, step-by-step instructions, FAQs, and tips and tricks in October of 2023.