Cranberry Coulis

I will never forget the year (1989) that my mom found a new recipe for cranberry sauce.  Her new sauce debuted on our Thanksgiving dinner table and the outcry that poured from my family was similar to the “shot heard round the world”.  The reaction was one that I am sure my mom wasn’t quite prepared to handle.  “Where is the cranberry sauce that we always have?”  “Why are there chunks in this sauce?” and on and on went the comments.  Needless to say her efforts were not fully appreciated at this particular Thanksgiving feast.

Next to the usual white meat vs. dark meat debate; the debate over cranberry sauce may be the most hotly contested debate at holiday tables all around the country.  Perhaps you grew up with the “jiggly” cranberry sauce that tastes slightly like the inside of an aluminum can and that is what HAS to be on the table or the entire meal is ruined for you.  If that is you, I am going to test your sensibilities with this Cranberry Coulis, but hopefully once I show you the versatility of how this cranberry sauce cousin can open new culinary opportunities for you; you might just open your mind to new possibilities.

First, lets talk about the flavor profile.  Cranberries are notoriously tart so they need a little help to balance their flavor.  In this coulis, the additions of brown sugar and orange juice, sweeten the tart little berries and help them to be a little easier on the palate.  A pinch of cinnamon helps to add a depth of flavor to the whole sauce.  Best of all, when you make your sauce, there is no metallic aftertaste.

The next key difference between this coulis and a traditional cranberry sauce is texture.  One of the things that is loved of those “jellied” sauces that come in the can, is that they are smooth.  There aren’t any off putting chunks that are often found in homemade cranberry sauces.  This coulis has all the flavor profiles of a fresh cranberry sauce, but it is run through a fine mesh sieve at the end of its cooking and  the resulting sauce is smooth, sweet, and lusciousness.

Finally, lets talk time.  For the holiday cook, every minute is precious to get that feast on the table.  If you try to add this dish to your feast, will it take all day? Be hard and cumbersome?

The answer is NOT AT ALL!

This Cranberry Coulis can be made days ahead of your feast (it’s actually better that way because the flavors all have time to make friends).  If you are in the camp that likes your cranberry sauce cold, perfect!  If you like it slightly warmed, you are in luck!  This sauce can be served hot or cold.

One of the hangup’s I have always had with cranberry sauce is that there is always a boat load left over after the holiday meal and often the leftovers end up in the trash.   That is such a shame!

This Cranberry Coulis can be repurposed over pancakes or leftover biscuits for breakfast the next morning.  It is also a fabulous companion for pork.  You could save the leftovers and use them for a fabulous round two meal the week after.  This year we are going wild and cray at our Thanksgiving feast by using this sauce two ways.  We will use it once over our turkey and then again over a vanilla bean cheesecake.


Why not give your holiday meal a new twist this year with this Cranberry Coulis?  No waste, no metallic taste, and an easy, make ahead side is always a huge help to the chef.

Cranberry Coulis

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins


  • 16 oz. Bag Frozen Cranberries
  • 3/4 Cup orange juice
  • 5 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring sauce to a boil.
  2. Once sauce has boiled, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. The liquid should have reduced and sauce should have thickened slightly.
  3. Once sauce has thickened slightly, remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into serving dish. Using the back of a spoon, press out all of the liquid from the berries. Stop when you are left with a paste in the sieve.
  4. Serve your Cranberry Coulis hot or cold.

Recipe Notes

*Try using this sauce over pancakes or biscuits. *This coulis pairs perfectly with pork. *Use sauce to compliment a custard, vanilla bean pudding, or over cheesecake.


User Rating

5 (6 Votes)



You May Also Like