Amazing Ways To Use Cranberries (That Your Guests Will Actually Love)

It doesn't matter what the occasion, a dish of cranberry sauce — or that weird stuff that's still in the shape of a can — shows up on every autumn dinner table. It's tradition, right? But do you ever notice there's always a lot leftover? That's because you're not alone, and no one actually likes it. It's a shame, because cranberries can be amazing — and they don't have to be served as a sauce. Let's talk about some other ways you can use this seasonal treat to guarantee there won't be any leftovers.

Sweet pies

Pumpkin pie, apple pie, even pear pie... they're the staples of autumn desserts, and it's time you added cranberry to the list, too. There are a ton of brilliant ideas out there on how to whip up the cranberry pie, but one of our favorites is this cranberry gingersnap pie from The View from Great Island. It's got two amazing autumn flavors rolled into one pie, and you can't beat that.

Oranges and cranberries can make a perfect pie, too — like this cranberry orange custard pie from The Creative Bite. In case cranberry-orange has been ruined by years of Thanksgiving missteps, Sally's Baking Addiction has an apple-cranberry pie that might be more your thing, or you could try this lime-cranberry pie from Bon Appetit. We mentioned pear, and we're not going to leave it out: Baker By Nature's pear-cranberry pie tastes as good as it looks.

Savory pies

Sweet pies are great for dessert, but how about some savory pie ideas? There are only so many turkey sandwiches you can eat, so try these turkey and cranberry hand pies from the Reluctant Entertainer for a lunch everyone can get behind. And this doesn't have to be a turkey-only thing, either. Cranberry goes just as well with chicken, as Almond to Zest found out when they made their delicious cranberry, chicken, and brie pies.

We can't forget about the vegetarians in the group, and A Happy Food Dance has a recipe for pie bites that'll be a favorite of carnivores, too. Their pastry bites are filled with blue cheese, cranberries and walnuts for a mouthful guaranteed to be just the right amount of creamy and crunch.


We can't leave cheesecake out of the dessert rotation. We'll start with a standard flavor, turned into this awesome cranberry-orange cheesecake from Crunchy Creamy Sweet. Looking for something a little more different? We have you covered there, too.

If you can't get enough of pumpkin, try this pumpkin cheesecake with a sweet cranberry layer, via Taste of Home. And since you'll have some eggnog in your fridge by the time December rolls around, put it to good use in this eggnog, cranberry, and gingersnap cheesecake from Carlsbad Cravings

This cranberry cheesecake from Simply Made Recipes will change your mind about white chocolate, too, since they pair perfectly for a holiday dessert that looks as festive as it tastes.

Cobblers and crumbles

Just like you spend the hot summer months craving cold desserts like ice cream, the winter months call for something warm and comforting. That's cobbler, and if you've never made a cranberry cobbler, you need to start with this one from Cake-n-Knife. Why? Because it's made in a cast iron skillet! You can make this as a slow cooker dessert, too — just check out this cranberry and peach cobbler from The Magical Slow Cooker for a dessert you can throw in while you're cooking dinner and have ready for your post-dinner relaxation.

If you prefer the lightness of crumble, check out this apple and cranberry crumble from the Certified Pastry Aficionado. Is there a better way to use all those autumn apples? Tortillas and Honey has a different version of an apple-cranberry crumble that uses both red and green apples, pecans, and old-fashioned oats. It's so good, it doesn't even need ice cream.


Sometimes, the pre- and post-meal cocktails are the best part of the evening. If you like to kick back and catch up with friends over a few drinks, these cranberry margaritas from Gimme Some Oven are just the thing. If rum is more your style, the Certified Pastry Aficionado has you covered with these amazing cranberry mojitos. And don't worry, we couldn't forget about the vodka-lovers. Cranberry and vodka were pretty much made for each other, and the Self Proclaimed Foodie went farther than the usual to make their cranberry screwdrivers.

Are you looking for something above-and-beyond? For your new go-to drink, check out these vanilla and cranberry mimosas from Honey and Birch. They're elegant, beautiful, and perfect for any table. Just as amazing is this reimagining of a classic Moscow mule. Noshing with the Nolands adds cranberry to this ginger beer favorite, and it'll be so popular you'll absolutely justify picking up those copper mugs you've had your eye on.

Sweet and savory pinwheels

Pinwheels are just the right combination of pastry and filling. Let's start with sweet, and take a look at these cranberry and walnut pinwheels from Diethood. They're the perfect bite-sized treat that's not going to weigh you down, but if you're looking for something even more filling, that would be these cranberry orange sweet rolls from Live Eat Learn. They're amazing with or without the icing, and... who are we kidding, just make extra icing.

You can absolutely go savory with the pinwheel idea, too. Dashing Dish uses tortillas for their pinwheels, filling them with feta, turkey, and cranberry for some super-easy appetizers that would make a great lunch. Let's Dish Recipes has a creamy, meat-free version using cranberries, feta, and cream cheese for a brilliantly festive-looking appetizer with only minimal work.

Cakes and cupcakes

Let's say it right upfront: there's no need to wait until a party to make any of these amazing cranberry cakes. Lunchtime (or dinnertime, or snack time) is the only occasion you need, especially for these spiced apple cider cranberry cupcakes from American Heritage Cooking. They're filled with a cranberry sauce that's the perfect compliment to the cream cheese frosting, and what better way could there be to finish off any meal?

Maybe — just maybe — that's these white chocolate and cranberry cupcakes from Inside Bru Crew Life. There's white chocolate ganache, cranberry frosting, and a chocolate center, so what's not to love? We also have to mention this cranberry and orange cake from A Latte Food, which is packed full of fruity sweetness without being too overpowering. And for something completely different that will definitely be the hit of any party, try this vanilla buttermilk cake from Julia's Album. It's loaded with apples, cranberries, and pecans, and if you're looking for one special, show-stopping dessert, this might be it.


No holiday gathering is complete without a cookie platter or two, and while there's certainly nothing wrong with those old favorites, it's also the ideal time to try something new — and show off a bit, while you're at it. A great place to start is with these cranberry, orange, and almond shortbread cookies from Craving Something Healthy. While they're not exactly healthy, they're not horrible for you, either — unlike these Crisco-heavy (but delicious) cranberry sugar cookies from Good + Simple. But hey, holiday calories don't count, right?

Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen has another great option in these white chocolate cranberry cookies, and even if you're not a huge fan of white chocolate, you shouldn't scoff. It goes great with cranberries, and do you know what else goes great with cranberries? Pistachios! Garlic and Zest uses pistachios and cranberries to completely transform Mexican wedding cookies — those dry, powdered-sugar-coated cookie balls — into something completely different everyone's sure to love.

Trifles and truffles

Trifles and truffles might not seem like they have too much in common, but have you ever served up a single-serve glass of trifle with a few truffles on the side? It's the different textures that make this one a sure-fire win, and cranberries are the perfect flavor. Let's start with the trifle, and this cranberry and cream trifle from Spend with Pennies. With a dash of cinnamon and the lightness of vanilla and pound cake, it's the perfect thing to pair with these cranberry and pistachio truffles from OMG Chocolate Desserts. They're decadent without being heavy, exactly what you want to follow a big meal.

Now, let's talk about more chocolate. Taste of Home has this brilliant cranberry and white chocolate trifle that's made with more than a dash of raspberry liqueur, and you need to serve this one up with a few of these chocolate cranberry truffles from CakeWhiz. It's also ideal for those busy times, as trifle can be made a day in advance and truffles are a breeze. Easy, amazing, and convenient? We're not going to lie — wants and needs are very different, and this combination dessert is both!


Tarts are more suited to a close family meal than a giant get-together, but there are plenty of those around the holidays, too. Some the Wiser has whipped up this cranberry, pear, and almond cream tart, and since it's full of autumn spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and almond, it's sure to be a hit. Martha Stewart adds a bit of cognac to her cranberry tart, and not only does it have a nut crust every bit as tasty as the filling, but it uses fresh cranberries that guarantee a beautiful presentation. If your family isn't big on sweets, try this cranberry, pancetta, and brie tart from Bakerita for a dessert that's not going to lead to a sugar crash.

We saved the most delectable for last. If you love eggnog, bourbon, and all the lusciousness only heavy cream can bring to the table, try this cranberry eggnog tart from Epicurious. If you're serving it right after dinner, just be sure to warn everyone they're going to need to save some room.

Muffins and scones

We can't, in good conscience, forget about breakfast. That means muffins and scones, and don't worry, they're just as good with an afternoon cup of tea as with your morning coffee. Try these lemon cranberry muffins from Bake. Eat. Repeat. for a delicious treat that comes covered with a powdered sugar glaze. Eat Cake for Dinner has another cranberry muffin that uses oranges, and we all know how well those two flavors mix.

Muffins are always a good thing, but scones? Scones are amazing, and you'll want to try these orange and cranberry scones from Sally's Baking Addiction. Scones have a reputation as being somewhat dry, boring, and bland, but they don't have to be — and these buttery, fruity slices of goodness prove it.

Cranberry sauce (that yes, you'll love)

It's the elephant in the room, isn't it? Cranberry sauce is a staple, and even after you've made some lovely appetizers and desserts, you might still think the table looks bare without it. So, let's talk about how to make cranberry sauce that will disappear rather than be left behind. One sure-fire way is to make it with booze, like Far From Normal does with their vanilla bourbon cranberry sauce. Just that combination of words sounds delicious, doesn't it? We can also take a look at Averie Cooks, and this recipe for a cranberry sauce using blueberries and cabernet, because yes, please.

You can definitely go alcohol-free, too. Just take a look at this cranberry sauce from Culinary Hill. It's made with apples and cinnamon for a whole different flavor profile, and if that sounds good, you'll love this pineapple and cranberry sauce from Carlsbad Cravings. You will never, ever buy canned cranberry sauce again, and no one's going to miss it in the least.