Cranberries with Orange Zest and Port

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Cranberries with Orange Zest and Port - Andrea Meyers

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Every year we look forward to Thanksgiving day and start planning well in advance. The boys are still only slightly interested in the holiday, though they seem to enjoy turkey more than they used to. One of my favorite parts of the holiday meal, even more than the turkey, is the cranberries, but you would never know if you came to our home for Thanksgiving dinner. Every year I make cranberry chutney or some kind of cranberry side dish, and about half the time I forget to serve it along with dinner. It remains in the refrigerator, forgotten and forlorn while everyone dives into the turkey, potatoes, gravy, beans, salad, and rolls.

This year I promise myself that I will remember to serve it, especially since I tried a new recipe with port. Sipping a glass of port while making it was half the fun, and I may have to make another batch on Thanksgiving day because I doubt this one will last until then. It’s technically a side dish, but it’s dessert, too, and I can easily imagine spooning this over cheesecake.

It’s an easy make ahead side, just store covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.

[Updated November 15, 2009.]


Adapted from Food & Wine, 1998.

Makes about 4-1/2 cups.


large deep skillet with lid


1 cup (240 mil) ruby red port
6 cups fresh cranberries (1-1/2 pounds/680 g), picked over and rinsed
1-1/2 cups (263 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fine orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. In a large skillet, bring the port to a boil over high heat. Add the cranberries and cook, stirring, until they begin to pop, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the sugar, orange zest and salt and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture returns to a simmer, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool before serving. Garnish with strips of orange zest.

More Dishes for Thanksgiving

More Cranberry Recipes From Around the Blogs

Pinch My Salt – Buttermilk Cranberry Scones

Karina’s Kitchen – Cranberry Crumble

Kitchen Parade- Cranberry Chutney

Sweetnicks – Cranberry Conserve

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  1. says

    “Sipping a glass of port while making it was half the fun.” My kinda cookin’. I submitted my cranberry chutney to the local paper once a few years back and couldn’t BELIEVE they omitted the brandy, without asking. Ha! Yours looks lovely!

  2. says

    I’ve forgotten to serve the cranberry dish more time than not, too. Usually I make chutney, because I like the hot-tart addition to the meal and I don’t have a huge sweet tooth. Also the chutney lasts a long time in the fridge — plenty long enough for the turkey leftovers!

  3. says

    We kick up our whole berry sauce with the addition of jalapeño pepper (chopped) for some warmth. I hadn’t thought of starting with port rather than water though. What a great combination that might be!

    Have a lovely holiday with your family and enjoy your meal – all at once – or Now and Later – however that works.

  4. says

    I love cranberries and this is the perfect time of year for them. I make cranberry bread every year and recently started making fresh cranberry sauce – I don’t know why anyone would buy the canned when the fresh kind is so simple and easy to make. I make a cranberry relish with walnuts and pineapple, which is actually very refreshing but your recipe with port sounds so savory and warm!

    mariss last blog post..Stuffed

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