My Favorite Cranberry Recipes

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Looking for unique and fun ways to jazz up the humble cranberry? Look no further! These cranberry recipes show you just how versatile this little berry can be.

my favorite cranberry recipes pin

If Christmas had a food-themed mascot, there would be a lot of contenders, but my vote would be a big juicy cranberry. All of these cranberry recipes are different from each other, but they all smell and taste like the holidays.

In this roundup, we’re covering everything from cocktails to desserts. These are the best (and my favorite) cranberry recipes for the holiday and the winter season. There are so many options here to love that you may not know where to start.

By the way, there’s a reason that they are known as holiday fruit. Cranberries have been a part of holiday celebrations for hundreds of years. I enjoy the lively tartness of cranberries all year round and have featured them in various foods here on Inspired By Charm.

Cranberry Sweet Rolls on a platter.

Top tips for making cranberry recipes

While I go into details on the instructions in each individual post linked within this roundup, I wanted to give you some quick tips for having the best baking experience possible.

1. Read the instructions fully before you begin.

It’s best to be prepared ahead of time to pace yourself and be ready for what step comes next. I highly encourage any baker to read the entire recipe at least once before starting!

Even if you think you already know how to make something, read through my recipe before you begin. You never know how I’ve changed it up.

2. Use the best ingredients possible.

I really want everyone to be successful with any of my recipes – and that starts with the ingredients.

Use the best ingredients you can get your hands on, especially when it comes to flavoring agents (such as vanilla extract) and things like fresh spices and leveling agents (yeast, baking powder, baking soda, etc.). It really does make a difference!

I also prefer using fresh cranberries whenever possible. Sometimes frozen cranberries don’t do as well as fresh ones.

3. Measure your ingredients precisely. 

If you start guestimating and tossing in random amounts of flour and sugar, you will probably be disappointed. Pull out your measuring cups and measuring spoons, and be precise! I’ve been known to guesstimate when I cook, but it doesn’t work well when baking. Baking is more scientific.

4. Have fun!

Cooking and baking, especially during the holiday season, should be an enjoyable process. Turn on some holiday music (you can find all of my best Christmas playlists here), take a few deep breaths, and just enjoy!

It’s even more fun when you do it with a friend or family member, so make a day of it (or night) and have a blast!

The best cranberry recipes

Gleaming, plump, red ripe cranberries are not only beautiful, but they are also useful for adding color and a distinct tart flavor to appetizers, libations, and sweet treats. This collection offers many easy-to-prepare crowd-pleasers: we’re covering appetizers, baked cookies, breakfast treats, cocktails, and more!

No matter which recipe you’re looking for, I’m sure you’ll find it here.

Want more tasty Christmas treats and ideas? Try these:

Let’s get into these delectable cranberry-inspired recipes!

Cranberry appetizer recipes

Since you serve appetizers before the meal, let’s look at the best cranberry appetizers first. All of these ideas are perfect for parties of all sizes.

1. Cranberry Meatballs

It’s the tangy-sweet sauce that takes these meatballs to the next level. Simply combine jellied cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice, spoon the mixture onto meatballs, and bake them in the oven.

You’ll be looking for lots of occasions to make this cranberry recipe. You can make them in the oven or the slow cooker. Either way, they’re easy and delicious.

cranberry flavored meatballs on a plate

2. Cranberry Bacon and Walnut Cheeseball

You can’t miss the flavor combination in this festive cheeseball. It looks stunning amidst small pretzel sticks, hearty crackers, and purple grapes. Best of all, it’s simple to create.

The red and green colors on the cheeseball are quintessentially Christmas, aren’t they?

cheeseball with red and green colors

3. Cranberry Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

I’m one of those people who can’t resist anything bacony, including this classic hors d’oeuvre. In my take on the traditional, I use whole water chestnuts, thick-cut bacon, and a cranberry-infused chili sauce.

That burst of tartness with the bacon crunchiness is mouth-wateringly good!

bacon wrapped water chestnuts in a cranberry glaze

4. Cranberry Brie Bites

Made with rich and creamy brie, homemade cranberry sauce, and mini phyllo shells, these Cranberry Brie Bites are an easy, unique, and flavorful appetizer perfect for the holiday season. 

Cranberry Brie Bites on a platter with rosemary.

5. Turkey Bacon Cranberry Roll-Ups

If you’re looking for a simple but flavorful appetizer that’s easy to make, you need to try these turkey bacon cranberry roll-ups. They make the perfect tasty treat for any occasion – even lunch, so serve them for your guests if it’s a noon party.

tortilla roll ups filled with turkey, cream cheese and bacon

Cranberry-inspired cocktail recipes

Now let’s look at my favorite cranberry libations. These drinks could not be more different from each other. Browse the list and mix up your favorite ones!

6. Maple Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Bourbon has become a go-to liquor at my house, and this is a drink I recently made to mark the start of the holiday season. The maple and cranberry play together so well!

Even if you’re not yet a big fan of bourbon, this cranberry recipe will let you explore the medley of flavors as you sip and celebrate.

maple and cranberry bourbon cocktail

7. Slow Cooker Holiday Sangria

You know I LOVE Sangria. (I’ve featured it many times on IBC.) This version is ideal for the holidays because it’s resplendent with the season’s colors. Plus, it stays warm in the slow cooker, and your guests can serve themselves.

As it simmers in the slow cooker, it looks (and smells) like all those classic Christmases that the carols sing about.

slow cooker filled with holiday sangria

8. Cranberry Old Fashioned

I recommend having a signature cocktail for a Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or Christmas celebration. And this fabulous drink is one I often suggest. You can mix one up in a flash with cranberry simple syrup (I’ll show you how to make that, too.), a quality bourbon, and a splash of bitters.

This is less fruity and more smokey; it’s a really strong drink for anyone that wants that extra kick.

strong cranberry cocktail recipe

9. Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

The base of this cranberry recipe is equal parts bourbon and cranberry juice. I fancified it with a rosemary sage simple syrup (directions are included in the recipe) and a little lemon juice.

If you haven’t decided what cocktail to serve before the turkey and trimmings, this might be the one.

cranberry bourbon cocktail recipe

10. Naughty but Nice Christmas Cocktail

I wanted to create a holiday cocktail recipe that would work with a few different types of alcohol – this Naughty but Nice cocktail does just that. You can use the liquor you love the most! I know that everyone has different preferences, so it’s nice to have a drink recipe that suits as many people as possible. Plus, it looks so cute!

Christmas cocktails with little DIY tree stirrers in the glass

If you’re wondering about the adorable bottle brush tree cocktail stirrers, they are a DIY! I have an entire post teaching you how to make them.

11. Cranberry Manhattan

Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and cranberry sauce come together to make this delicious and festive cranberry Manhattan. It’s both dry and sweet at the same time, with ribbons of sugary sweetness from the cranberries.

This is the perfect drink to serve at fancier holiday parties.

Cranberry Manhattan drink

12. Holly Jolly Christmas Punch

A Christmas punch is always a go-to for me when it comes to holiday cocktail recipes. In this post, I’m sharing a new favorite: my Holly Jolly Christmas Punch. It’s incredibly easy to make and wonderfully delicious.

If you’re hosting a big event, I highly recommend you stir up a batch. This punch is enough for a large party of holiday guests.

bowl of holiday punch with cranberries and lime slices

13. Spiced Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

If you’re looking for an easy, delicious, and festive libation, this spiced cranberry champagne cocktail is a bubbly way to say cheers to the season. With a tart, sweet, and spiced flavor, it checks all the boxes for the perfect seasonal cocktail.

Spiced Cranberry Champagne Cocktails recipe

Cranberry recipes for breakfast and brunch

It’s always a good time for brunch, but holiday brunches stand out as some of the best! Add some festive cheer to your next brunch by making some of these breakfast recipes with juicy cranberries.

14. Cranberry Sweet Rolls

Delicious homemade dough is layered with a cranberry filling and twisted together to create these cranberry sweet rolls. A cream cheese drizzle finishes this sweet treat making it perfect for breakfast, dessert, or anything in between.

Cranberry Sweet Rolls on a platter.

15. Mascarpone Cranberry French Toast

This cranberry recipe will likely become your new favorite breakfast for the holiday and winter seasons. The creamy mascarpone and fresh juicy cranberries make this French toast appealing to the eyes and the palette.

And when life is even busier than usual, you can put this dish together in advance. Just refrigerate it overnight and bake it the next morning.

bite of mascarpone cranberry French toast on a fork

16. Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

When the air outside turns crisp and cool, this apple cranberry baked oatmeal is a hearty and flavorful way to start your day. This seasonal breakfast dish is also easy to make, packed with fresh apples, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and seasonal spices.

pouring maple syrup in a bowl of easy cranberry baked oatmeal

17. Cranberry Orange Marmalade

Tart cranberries, sweet oranges, seasonal spices, and a splash of bourbon come together to make this divine cranberry orange marmalade. Serve on buttered toast or package as gifts to share with friends. It has so much flavor that you’ll never go back to grape jelly again.

Cranberry Orange Marmalade

Must-make cranberry dessert recipes

Whenever I think about cranberries, I admit that desserts are the first type of food that comes to mind. All of these cranberry dessert recipes are delicious AND stunning.

18. Apple Cranberry Tart

In this tasty dessert, cranberries are the star, and apples and walnuts are supporting players. Bursting with cheery red color and warm, sweet, and tart flavors, this cranberry recipe is my seasonal take on a traditional apple tart.

You and your family (and guests!) will love it.

slice of crumbly apple cranberry tart on a plate

19. Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Monkey Bread

Whether you’re planning a small brunch or a big gathering, this monkey bread is the kind of sweet yumminess everyone loves. Drizzled with icing and full of seasonal flavors, this gooey cranberry recipe will be gobbled up in no time.

20. Cranberry Orange Walnut Tassies

The look and taste of these small tarts will wow your family and friends. Although this cranberry recipe appears time-consuming, it comes together pretty quickly once you’ve made the cookie dough and the filling has had time to chill.

cranberry orange mini tarts

21. Cranberry Pecan Pie

Something tells me this is a cranberry recipe your dear ones will be begging you to make! The cranberries offer the perfect counterpoint to the traditional rich and sugary pecan filling. And their ruby color gives this pie a holiday touch.

berry and pecan holiday pie

22. Apple Cranberry Slab Pie

The secret to this dessert is the puff pastry crust. Once it’s rolled out and filled with a mixture of dried cranberries, sliced apples, cinnamon, and sugar, another layer of pastry goes on top. After the pie is baked and cooled, you drizzle it with icing. I promise it will get rave reviews!

a slab pie made with apples and cranberries

23. Sugared Cranberries

To make these shimmering beauties, you coat fresh cranberries in simple syrup and then in sugar. After the sugared berries are dry, use them for snacks, garnishes, and décor.

I recently decorated a black walnut Christmas cake with them. Also, check out my gingerbread house cake, where I used these cranberries to garnish that too.

cranberries coated in syrup and sugar
black walnut cake with sugared cranberry toppers

That’s a wrap on cranberry recipes!

With all that said, let’s get into the kitchen and make some delicious cranberry-inspired recipes! I hope this collection of cranberry recipes from IBC inspires you. Enjoy your holiday preparations! Try something new or make a recipe that you know you’ll enjoy. Either way, happy holidays!

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  1. Thanks so much for this post. I was just standing here looking at 4 pints of Maine cranberries with my only thought being…freeze them all. This is just downright inspirational.

  2. Mmmm thank you for this really adorable compilation, Michael! Cranberry is my big love: it evokes the best memories of my childhood in the North: I picked these berries in the woods with my grandparents. It was really lovely up there!
    I like the way cranberries go with meat and poultry. I even have my own recipe of cranberry sauce (thinking about posting it btw). I add cranberry in pastry from time to time. This exquisite sweet and sour taste… Perfect!
    I would like to try your Sangria: I bet it is exactly what we need at the beginning of winter! Just about to try my new slow cooker!

  3. I am sooooo happy that I discovered you! You are a breath of fresh air and I am loving all the recipes and beautiful ideas. Thank you so much Michael! I needed to find a blog to follow that was full of the loveliest things imaginable and I hit the jackpot!!