This Cranberry Grape Sauce is a fun twist on the classic! It’s so delicious and takes less than 20 minutes to make. Grapes add great texture, and balances out the sweetness and acidity from the cranberries.
This cranberry grape sauce is a simple, make-ahead and freezer-friendly recipe that will make Thanksgiving prep a breeze!
I’m a huge fan of cranberry sauce, especially this Cranberry Grape Sauce! It’s so easy to make that there’s absolutely no reason to use the canned stuff. Seriously!
Grapes add incredible texture – chunky and rustic – and balance the sweetness and acidity of the cranberries. This may sound counterintuitive because grapes are naturally sweet, but cooking them mellows out their sweetness, making them a perfect addition to cranberry sauce.
Every Thanksgiving, I make sure to serve turkey or glazed ham (Slow Cooker Turkey Breast for us this year), cornbread stuffing, bacon green beans, turkey gravy (ahem, mandatory!), and cranberry sauce.
This year, we’ll be making a batch of it and also a more classic Cranberry Orange Sauce. The best of both worlds.
And hey, if you have some extra cranberries, try these wonderful Cranberry Crumble Bars!
Why we LOVE this cranberry grape sauce:
- So delicious! Not a fan of cranberry sauce? Well, this cranberry grape sauce may change your mind.
- Amazing texture: Grapes add a rustic, chunky texture that I absolutely love.
- Quick and easy: It takes less than 20 minutes to make from start to finish.
- Make-ahead and freezer friendly: Cranberry sauce, in general, stores really well for days. If you’re looking to plan ahead, this one is a great one to make in advance.
The key to flavorful cranberry sauce is using freshly squeezed orange juice. Below are a few ingredient notes from recipe testing. Per usual, quantities are listed in the recipe card down below.
- Fresh or frozen cranberries: Don’t use canned cranberries here – the texture will be affected.
- Red grapes: Fresh or frozen.
- Freshly squeezed orange juice: Adds a sweet and tangy flavor profile. It brightens up the cranberry grape sauce.
- Orange zest: Before squeezing the orange, make sure to zest it. This is one is my favorite citrus zester tool.
- Granulated sugar: I’d recommend using granulated sugar rather than brown sugar for this recipe.
You need less than 20 minutes to make this cranberry grape sauce from start to finish. It’s super easy!
Step 1 | Combine all ingredients
In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, grapes (whole), orange zest, fresh orange juice, and granulated sugar. Combine all the ingredients evenly.
Step 2 | Simmer until thickened
Bring to a boil, and decrease to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally. As it simmers, the cranberries will start to burst and pop, and the grapes will soften. Stir occasionally to make sure all the cranberries get a chance to pop, and the right consistency is achieved.
I like my cranberry sauce chunky, but if you want a smoother sauce, use a potato masher or spoon to press and break down the chunky parts.
What I enjoy about homemade cranberry sauce is that it can be made ahead of time. Allow the sauce to cool completely before refrigerating for 1 to 3 days.
Even better, the flavors will continue to develop, making it even better the next day!
Storage and Freezing
Store leftover cranberry sauce in containers for up to 5 days. You can use it as a spread for sandwiches or crackers.
As for freezing, I like to pre-portion my cranberry sauce in my Souper Cubes. You can also freeze them in small freezer-friendly bags or containers. They will last about 3 months in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge if you’d like to enjoy it cold, or reheat over the stovetop until warm.
Pairing and Serving Ideas
Cranberry sauce is a must for Thanksgiving! You also need to have some sort of gravy! Try my easy turkey gravy without drippings recipe. These two are pretty much mandatory in our family!
You can also double-down on the cranberry sauce and make my tried-and-true Cranberry Orange Sauce as well.
Main dishes and sides to pair with:
Yes! You may just need to cook the sauce a little longer.
Yes, make it up to 3 days ahead. Serve cold or reheat over the stovetop until warm.
I think freshly squeezed orange juice is best for flavor, but if you want to use bottled, that will work well too.
About 10 to 15 minutes, or until desired consistency. The longer you cook it, the thicker it will be. Also, it will continue to thicken as it cools down.
This recipe was originally published in 2018 and updated in November 2023 to include new photos and information, plus a few recipe modifications.
Tips for Success
- Both frozen or fresh cranberries and grapes will work well here.
- For best flavor, I’d recommend using freshly squeezed orange juice. However, bottled will work too.
- Make sure you use medium-low heat to simmer the cranberry grape sauce. If you use high heat, the cranberries may pop too hard and make a mess.
- I like whole grapes in the sauce (chunky cranberry sauce is the best!), but if desired, you can smash them as it simmers until desired consistency.
- The sauce will thicken as it simmers – cook until desired thickness. Also, it will continue to thicken as it cools down.
Cranberry Grape Sauce
- Small saucepan 3-quart
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 cups red grapes - whole
- Zest of 1 orange
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice - (from about 2-3 oranges)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Add all ingredients in a small or medium saucepan. Mix to combine.
- Bring to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer (medium-low heat) for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. The cranberries will burst and pop, and the grapes will soften. The longer it simmers, the thicker it will get. Also, it will continue to thicken as it cools down.
- If desired, press with a spoon or masher to break down any chunks until desired consistency. I personally like very chunky cranberry sauce, so I don't even bother to do that.
- Serve warm or cold. Up to you. Enjoy!
- This recipe makes about 2.5 cups.
- Both frozen or fresh cranberries and grapes will work – the sauce may just need a few extra minutes. I prefer to use fresh.
- Use low or medium-low heat to simmer. This will prevent the cranberries from popping too hard and cause a mess in the kitchen.
- Serve warm cold? Either way works! Some people I know like it cold, so I refrigerate a batch for a few hours until ready to serve.
- Fresh orange juice: Bottled will work in a pinch.
- Add-ins: For extra flavors, add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg. You can also throw in a small sprig of rosemary to infuse the with aromatic tones.