Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Dad's Secret to Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving and Christmas are my absolute FAVORITE times of year, namely because of what these holidays do to people. Families come together. People are happier, kinder and more generous. Jared and I are in a unique situation this year because for the first time ever, we will not be spending Thanksgiving with family.

When we first moved to Florida, I dreaded this time because I didn't think I could bear to miss out on the family time. Now that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, I have decided to take advantage of the situation and organize the First Ever Walker Thanksgiving. Jared and I discussed the things we have to include in our holiday, with food and football being paramount.

I still have to figure out how to cook a turkey, but in the meantime, let me tell you about a dish I must have for the Walker dad's homemade cranberry sauce.

In my experience, some people don't even know such a wondrous thing as homemade cranberry sauce exists. The canned sauce it acceptable, but I promise you will never go back once you have the real thing. My dad has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember. Even though I can't be with my dad this year, I can still make cranberry sauce in his honor.

The first secret to my dad's homemade cranberry sauce? The recipe is on the bag of fresh cranberries! However, my dad adds two special ingredients to make the sauce even better:

Homemade Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice - the original recipe calls for water. This is a delicious alteration!
  • 1 TBS. Grand Marnier - secret ingredient!!!


  1. Rinse and drain the fresh cranberries. 
  2. Place in saucepan with sugar and orange juice. Stir to combine.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering cranberries as they start to pop and cook down. This should take 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Once the cranberries are cooked down, take saucepan off the heat and let the sauce cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Add Grand Marnier. If you add the Grand Marnier while the sauce is hot, the alcohol will mostly cook out and the sauce will not taste as good.
  6. Place sauce in sealable container and cool completely in refrigerator, preferably overnight.
Another great thing about fresh cranberries is they freeze easily. I like to stock up on cranberries while they are in season so I can have homemade cranberry sauce whenever I want. The sauce is great in a parfait, over ice cream or eaten as a snack! I also typically double the recipe, especially for a crowd.

What traditional dishes are making an appearance at your Thanksgiving?