Cranberry Sauce with Ruby Port and Cinnamon

Some people really love that canned cranberry sauce.  I’ve never been a fan.  At all. I guess it’s something about the way it looks when it slides out of the can, the ribbed impressions from the can prominently present.  Does not look appetizing to me.  Hubby and Princess Nagger love that stuff.  So there’s always a can of that at Thanksgiving, too.

Some of our dinner guests that have always preferred to eat that scary-looking gel hesitantly try the fresh cranberry sauce I make each year, and are astounded at how good fresh cranberry sauce really can be.  It’s really simple to make, too.  Check it out:

Cranberry Sauce with Ruby Port and Cinnamon


1-1/2 cups ruby Port
3/4 cup sugar
3 cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon
3 allspice berries
4 black peppercorns
1 2-inch-by-1/2-inch strip of orange peel
1 (12 ounce) package cranberries, washed
pinch of salt


In a medium saucepan, combine the Port and sugar and pinch of salt. Tie the cloves, cinnamon stick, allspice and black peppercorns in a small piece of cheesecloth (or, if you don’t have cheesecloth you can tie them in a coffee filter with twine – it worked in a pinch for me one year). Add the spice bundle to the saucepan along with the orange peel. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the wine is reduced to 1 cup, about 4 minutes.

Add the cranberries to the wine. Return to a simmer over medium-high heat then lower the heat and simmer until the cranberries pop, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. This is where I pour it into the decorative serving bowl I’ll be using on Thanksgiving.  Let cool to warm, then remove the spice bundle and orange peel. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Do Ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Cranberry Sauce Tip:

Cranberry sauces (and in fact all relishes) taste immeasurably better with just a pinch of salt added. Even though seldom included in recipes for cranberry sauce, a little salt very subtly brightens and lifts the flavor.

Printable Version:

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  1. This was the best cranberry recipe EVER!. I followed some of the other tips and substituted apple cider for water and substituted some dried cherries for some of the cranberries. Did not add any more sugar as the major complaint I and my family has of cranberry sauces is that they are too sweet. This was a hit – for the first time ever we ate all the cranberries on the table. A new family tradition.