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.
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.
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:
- The Ultimate Christmas Appetizer Recipes
- My Favorite Christmas Cookies
- Cheeseball Recipes for Every Season
- My Must-Try Christmas Cocktail Recipes
- 100+ Creative Christmas Ideas, Recipes, and MORE!
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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