5 Cranberry Sauce Alternatives To Serve This Thanksgiving

According to a new study conducted by Instacart, nearly 50% of Americans think canned cranberry sauce is “disgusting.” Even worse, the study found that one-third of Americans buy it and eat it anyway because they view it as a “tradition.” Sounds like it may be time to start some new traditions.

Instead of giving my guests just one sauce to choose from, this year I’m going to give them five. Each one has different flavor profiles that will stand up to all the other deliciousness on my plate.

First up is a dried fruit chutney. It has a similar flavor profile to a homemade cranberry sauce without the tart, bitter cranberries. I stew dried cherries, raisins and apricots with ginger, brown sugar and spices. I add a little bit of orange juice and zest to cut the sweetness while adding a fresh flavor.

Next is a pomegranate fig mostarda. Traditionally, mostarda is an Italian fruit and mustard condiment that takes days, sometimes even weeks to make. Nobody has time for that, so I’ve sped up the process by cooking dried figs and fresh pomegranate arils in red wine, mustard seeds and apple cider vinegar. It’s sweet, it’s tangy and has a little bit of a spicy kick.

Third on my list is a classic homemade applesauce. We all know applesauce pairs well with pork, so why not serve it with turkey? My secret ingredient is butter ― it adds richness to the tart apples and makes for a silkier texture.

Fourth is bacon jam. My philosophy in cooking is when in doubt, add bacon. That rule applies to your Thanksgiving plate, too. Bacon jam is made by slowly cooking bacon, onions, brown sugar, maple syrup and vinegar until it’s thick and the consistency of jam. It’s sweet, it’s salty, its tangy and it’s the perfect accoutrement to your turkey.

The last sauce I’ll be serving this year is chimichurri. It’s untraditional, but it’s one of my favorite condiments. I blend parsley, cilantro, dill and basil with capers, red wine vinegar, olive oil, shallots and garlic until it resembles pesto. The acidity from the vinegar and saltiness from the capers make this my favorite of them all. I’ll be slathering it on my turkey and my mashed potatoes.

Make one or make them all this Thanksgiving.

Spiced Dried-Fruit Chutney

Spiced Dried-Fruit Chutney

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 shallot, finely diced

  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled, finely minced

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Zest and juice of 1 orange

  • 3/4 cup water, as needed

1. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat in saucepan.

2. Add shallot, ginger and coriander seeds. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add apricots, cherries, raisins, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, orange juice/zest and water.

4. Bring to a simmer and cook, adding more water if too thick, until fruit is soft and liquid is almost completely evaporated. Let cool before serving.

Fig Pomegranate Mostarda 

Fig Pomegranate Mostarda 

Fig Pomegranate Mostarda

  • 1/2 cup red wine

  • 1/4 cup white sugar

  • 1/4 cup apple wine vinegar

  • 1 cup dried figs, chopped

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup water

1. Add all of the ingredients to a large saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring to a simmer and cook, adding more water if too thick, until fruit is soft and liquid is almost completely evaporated. Let cool before serving.



Homemade Applesauce

1. Melt butter on low heat and add remaining ingredients

2. Cook over low heat 45-50 minutes, until the apples are soft and most of the water is cooked off.

3. Mash with a fork or potato masher.

Lower left: Bacon Jam

Lower left: Bacon Jam

Bacon Jam

  • 1 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 yellow onion, finely minced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional

1. Heat large skillet over medium heat.

2. Add bacon and cook until crispy and browned. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving about a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan.

3. Add onion to bacon fat and cook until lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes.

4. Stir in garlic, brown sugar, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, water, cayenne pepper and cooked bacon.

5. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced and thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled

  • 2 cups packed parsley leaves

  • 2 cups packed cilantro leaves

  • 1/2 cup fresh dill

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 3 tablespoons, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil

1. Add all ingredients in a blender or food processor except for the olive oil.

2. Pulse for 30 to 60 seconds to break down the herbs. Use spoon to scrape down the sides as needed.

3. Slowly add olive oil while the machine is running, until all the ingredients are combined but still a little chunky. Taste sauce and season with additional salt if needed.