For all our Canadian friends, Thanksgiving was celebrated over the weekend.  Thanksgiving in October, you say?  Yup.  And although we were in British Columbia, I hardly was able to participate in the festivities.  After my husband and I went back to California a couple weeks ago, the rest of my family went back this past week.  And honestly, I kept forgetting.  Looks like we will be feasting in November like most of you  after all.  Of course that certainly means we can start gathering and sharing those tried and true recipes- and even some new ones, too.

As you may know, I never baked or cooked until college.  I think Thanksgiving might have been one of the first times I actually cooked for my family.  Probably when I was about 20 years old, my mother and I attempted our first turkey.  And although it wasn’t quite  the perfectly browned bird I imaged it would be, it was still pretty tasty.  Even though I never was part of the turkey-baking since then, I gladly took on the roll of providing sides and desserts.  It might not have been that first year, but I’ve been making fresh cranberry sauce for at least half a decade.  Tart, sweet and savory all at the same time, this recipe is a major win.  These flavors are as vibrant as the color of cooking cranberries.  My family has certainly come to love it and now expect.  It’s one leftover that actually gets fought over.

To be honest, I never understood that canned stuff or what to do with it.  Cyndrical jelly?  Now that can’t be natural.  What really boggles my mind is, why would anyone ever want to “slice” into this incredibly foreign “sauce” when making fresh cranberries is so easy and delicious?  We rarely get a chance to cook with fresh cranberries, so why not go for it?  Once you try this recipe, you’ll be finding all new ways to incorporate it into all sorts of dishes even after the turkey and stuffing is long gone.




Citrus Vanilla Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split with seeds removed
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place cranberries, water, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pods in a medium saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium-high until water starts to bubble and cranberries start to pop.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-low and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, or until a majority of the cranberries break down.
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer on low until thickened (about 5 more minutes).
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Remove vanilla bean pods before serving.
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12 Responses to Citrus Vanilla Cranberry Sauce

  1. Diny Slamet says:

    Hi writing to you from Australia where we don’t have fresh cranberries but can get frozen (I have 2 kilos of the fruit). How much is contained in your “bag of cranberries”? Hoping to hear from you soon

    • Tessa says:

      Great question! There are 3 cups of cranberries in the 12 ounce bags that I use. I apologize for the confusion. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Ellen says:

    I am in the UK. How long will this last? When would be the best time to make it for Christmas ?

    • Tessa says:


      I would say you are safe to make it about 3-4 days in advanced. It may last longer, but might not be as fresh. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. […] can be made before schedule (and even in the slow cooker), but I’m excited to try this Citrus Vanilla Cranberry Sauce from Style Sweet […]

  4. Christina says:

    Can you can this in jars?

    • Tessa says:

      I’m not sure, but that sounds like an idea worth trying. You’ll have to let us know if it works out!
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. Gloria says:

    Tessa- what if I don’t have vanilla beans – if I use vanilla how many teaspoons? I made your cranberry bread and butter ~ it was Delish! Love all your recipes…

    • Tessa says:

      Thank you, Gloria!
      If you don’t have vanilla beans, then I’d try about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. For the tarts, I’d also cute the dijon in half, or skip it all together. It adds a nice tang, but might not be best in the tart filling. Up to you ;)

  6. […] Citrus Vanilla Cranberry Sauce Tangy, sweet, and a little bit savory Fresh Cranberry Sauce. Made with vanilla bean, orange zest, and a touch of dijon.For full “Citrus Vanilla Cranberry Sauce” recipe click here […]

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