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Maple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

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Sweet and tart with fall flavors of maple and toasty bourbon! Best of all, this maple bourbon cranberry sauce is so easy to make and can be made in advance.

Homemade cranberry sauce in a mouth with white linen on table

Move over turkey! No seriously, move over so I can put this homemade cranberry sauce on my plate.

Here’s what you will love about this cranberry sauce:

  • super easy to make
  • can be made in advance
  • great, bursting cranberry texture
  • sweet maple flavor
  • toasty vanilla hint of bourbon
  • tart fresh cranberries

While we usually only turn to cranberry sauce for special holiday meals, there’s plenty of reasons to whip this up all year!

labeled ingredients for maple and bourbon cranberry sauce


Let’s just go ahead and state what’s probably the obvious answer for our friends in the States.

Thanksgiving Dinner.

The balance of that sweet and tart flavor on the plate is just…*chefs kiss*

close up of simmered cranberries in a bowl with spoon

But beyond that, you can use your leftovers or just make this for other uses…

  • use as a jam with baked brie
  • put it on a cheeseboard
  • serve cranberry sauce with vanilla yogurt for breakfast
  • use it as a glaze to roast meat
  • add as a filling to cinnamon rolls
  • roast it with veggies for a sweet twist
  • along with chicken (or leftover turkey) pot pie

So there you have it. Never worry about extra cranberry sauce or look for an excuse to make it outside the holidays.


My favorite part about this bourbon-laced cranberry sauce is that it’s just enough of both the bourbon and the maple without going overboard. You can taste the additions but they don’t take over the dish.

pouring bourbon into a pian with cranberries and sugar

Just combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover, just leave the lid cracked a little so the steam can vent out. After 30 minutes, get rid of the lid and let it reduce further.

You can serve cranberry sauce warm or cold, which makes this a great option for making it ahead of time if you’re serving it on Thanksgiving day.

spoon in a saucepan filled with simmered cranberry sauce


If you’re looking for more of a canned cranberry sauce texture, you just need one little step.

Pulse the cranberries in a food processor first. When they cook in the sauce it’ll be smoother and less chunky than if you were to make it with whole cranberries.

This Grand Marnier cranberry sauce uses half whole cranberries and half chopped cranberries for a good mix of smooth and chunky texture.


You can add in spices and fruit to add in a pop of flavor.

  • cinnamon
  • vanilla paste
  • orange or lemon zest
  • fresh rosemary or thyme
  • if you want a no bourbon option, substitute the bourbon with orange or apple juice

Whether you add-in extras or stick to the recipe, it’ll be a fun addition to any meal to have that burst of tangy, sweet cranberry on the table!

If you made this recipe please leave a comment and rating below. I would love to see pictures of your cooking too! You can tag @hungerthirstplay on social media or post it with the pin on Pinterest for others to see too!

Maple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce is so simple to make and an easy make-ahead side dish for any occasion.  Simmered fresh cranberries with maple syrup and bourbon make for the perfect, crowd-pleasing twist on the traditional!
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bourbon cranberry sauce, homemade cranberry sauce, make ahead cranberry sauce, maple cranberry sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 248kcal
Author: Lauren


  • 1 bag fresh cranberries 12-ounce bag
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon


  • Stir. In a medium saucepan combine the cranberries, sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon over medium-high heat. Bring the ingredients to a slow boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Simmer. Once the ingredients are at a boil, reduce heat to low. Cover almost completely, leaving a small opening to vent steam and cook for 30 minutes. After the first 30 minutes, stir, and continue to cook another 30 minutes without the cover.
  • Serve. The sauce can be eaten right away warm or allow to cool before serving. This can be made several days in advance and held in the fridge until needed.


  • For a smoother sauce, pulse the cranberries in the food processor until chopped.
  • Bourbon can be substituted with any fruit juice.


Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 123mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

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