Take your classic cranberry sauce to a new level! This Apple Cranberry Sauce with Port Wine is delightfully tart, sweet, and unique. No doubt, it’s the perfect topping on your Thanksgiving dinner!Jump to Recipe
Homemade cranberry sauce with a twist
You’ve never had cranberry sauce as rich and delicious as this Apple Cranberry Sauce with Port Wine! It’s a must-have around the holidays and can even be frozen months ahead of time.
The tart and sweet flavors from the fresh cranberries are elevated thanks to a splash of port wine, orange juice, and fresh orange zest stirred into this cranberry apple sauce recipe. Sliced apples add even more substance and a sweet flavor that’s more than welcome on top of the Thanksgiving turkey, stuffed into brie puff pastry pockets, or served next to the mashed potatoes. In just 15 minutes, this easy cranberry sauce is ready to eat and will wow all of your guests!
Apple cranberry sauce ingredients
- Cranberries – Fresh cranberries are best when making homemade cranberry sauce but frozen cranberries will work as well.
- Apples – Any kind of apple you love will work in this recipe.
- Ruby port wine – This sweet fortified wine is easy to find and often inexpensive. With notes of red berries, ruby port wine is much more sweet and richly flavored compared to other types of wine. If you end up with extra, serve a glass with dessert or a cheese plate!
- Orange – Both the zest and orange juice help combat the tartness from the cranberries.
- Sugar – It’s hard to avoid sugar in cranberry sauce because it’s so crucial to the balance and overall flavor. If you’re looking for a sugar free or keto cranberry sauce, try replacing the sugar with granulated erythritol for similar results.
How to make apple cranberry sauce with port wine
Once you try making your own cranberry sauce from scratch, you’ll never want the canned stuff again! All it takes is 20 minutes and one pot.
- Melt the sugar.
Heat the sugar in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Leave it alone to melt. It’ll turn into a rich caramel color after a few minutes.
- Cook the cranberries.
Add the cranberries and salt to the same pan and stir to combine. Cook until the cranberries soften.
- Add the apples, port wine, and orange.
Stir in the sliced apples and leave them to cook for a few minutes. Pour the port wine in and lower the heat. Finally, add the orange zest and juice, then let it all simmer so the cranberries and apples can break down slightly.
- Store or serve.
Once the sauce is thick, either serve it right away or keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
Tips and variations
- For a warm flavor – Simmer the cranberry sauce with a cinnamon stick or fresh ginger.
- More add ins – Stir in lemon zest, ground cinnamon, berries, pecans, or raisins.
- Keto cranberry sauce – To make this recipe keto-friendly, omit the wine and orange juice, and replace the sugar with granulated erythritol.
- Less sugar – While I don’t recommend omitting all of the sugar from this recipe, you can use honey or maple syrup in place of some of the white sugar.
- Cranberry sauce uses – Fresh cranberry sauce is a must at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any holiday celebration. Serve a dollop on top of the sliced turkey, ham, or on the side of the veggies. The leftovers can be used on sandwiches, cobblers, galettes, baked into quick breads or dessert bars, or even served on a holiday charcuterie board.
Frequently asked questions
You can easily replace the ruby port wine with another fruity red wine, like a Chianti, Merlot, or Zinfandel. If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic replacement to the port, use red grape juice.
You can serve cranberry sauce chilled or fresh off the stove. I particularly love this port cranberry sauce served warm to bring out the rich flavors.
Yep! Keep finished and cooled cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. It’ll stay fresh for 3 to 4 days.
Yes! Keep the cranberry sauce in an airtight container or sealed bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
Enjoy your apple cranberry sauce with these Thanksgiving favorites
- Prime Rib Roast
- Wild Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing
- Miso Butter Glazed Carrots
- Creamy Cauliflower Mash
- Delicata Squash Salad
Did you try this Apple Cranberry Sauce with Port Wine? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below and giving this recipe a rating! Don’t forget to take a picture tag me on Instagram or use #lenaskitchenblog to be featured in my stories! I love seeing what you come up with!
Apple Cranberry Sauce with Port Wine
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 12 oz cranberries fresh
- 2 apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup ruby port wine
- 1 large orange zested and juiced
- In a non-stick pan over a medium heat and add the sugar. Let it melt (without stirring) until it turns a rich caramel color. It will take about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the cranberries and salt, gently stir to combine with a rubber spatula. Cook the cranberries until they just start to soften.
- Now add the thinly sliced apples and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir to coat all the fruit in the caramel sauce.
- Add in the port, reduce the heat to low, then zest the orange and juice it. Bring to a simmer and cook for an additional 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that some of the cranberries and apples break down completely and thicken the sauce. I use a spoon and gently break up the apples if needed.
- Transfer to a serving dish. If not serving immediately, cool and keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Warm on low heat before serving.