41 Best Cranberry Recipes, For The Holidays Or Anytime

There's no mistaking when cranberry season rolls around: Bags of fresh, ruby-red cranberries suddenly appear in produce aisle bins and grocery store displays, especially as Thanksgiving draws near. Since fresh cranberries are easy to freeze for later, and other cranberry products like juice, dried fruit, and canned sauce are always stocked in stores, you can turn to this collection of sweet-tart cranberry recipes year-round to create irresistible drinks and dishes.

For the holiday dinner and dessert tables, try recipes for a classic fruit cake, a Christmas-themed Old Fashioned cocktail, Instant Pot cranberry applesauce, or a big batch of Jingle Juice. There are plenty of healthy cranberry recipes here too, including broccoli salad, copycat salads from Panera and Wendy's, and a fall salad made with roasted butternut squash. 

If you're into baking, you'll love treats like cranberry orange cookies, baked cranberry oatmeal, and pumpkin cranberry cake. There's even a recipe in this round-up that's perfect for Halloween: cranberry juice gets added to a dark red punch that holds spooky, floating "eyeballs." 

Check out these recipes and bookmark your favorites, so you can add cranberry flavor (and color) to every meal and drink of the day. 

1. Copycat Panera Fuji Apple Salad

Dried cranberries give this favorite Panera salad a little sweetness and chewy texture throughout — and as it turns out, this recipe is really easy to make for yourself at home. Use cooked chicken breast leftover from dinner, or get it from a rotisserie chicken, and dice the meat into small pieces. The fresh greens are tossed with sliced tomatoes, onion, cranberries, apple chips, and feta cheese. We'll show you how to make the quick vinaigrette, or use whatever salad dressing you prefer. 

Recipe: Copycat Panera Fuji Apple Salad

2. Christmas Old Fashioned

Get into the holiday spirit by raising a glass of this tasty spirit. A traditional Old Fashioned is made with whiskey, sugar, bitters, and orange peel — in this seasonal twist, cranberries are muddled into the mixture to add a refreshing, tart flavor. Sprigs of fresh rosemary give the cocktail an intriguing herbal component, and as a bonus, it looks like a little evergreen branch, making for an attractive, festive garnish.

Recipe: Christmas Old Fashioned

3. Cranberry Muffins

When bags of fresh cranberries go on sale, grab an extra one and stash it in your freezer — that way, you can make a batch of tender cranberry muffins any time of the year. This sweet and simple recipe shows you how to mix up the muffin batter with whole cranberries in just ten minutes. Bake the muffins until they're puffed and golden brown. They're delicious served with soft butter or orange marmalade, and you can also freeze the baked muffins to make them last. 

Recipe: Cranberry Muffins

4. Joel McHale's Cranberry-Orange Whisky-Glazed Pork Shoulder

In this exclusive recipe shared with Mashed by "Crime Scene Kitchen" host Joel McHale, shows you how easy it is to create a gorgeous pork roast for a holiday or Sunday dinner. McHale makes his roast with a spiced, sweet glaze that features cranberries, orange juice, and a nip of scotch whisky. Allow time for the overnight marinade and several hours of low-and-slow cooking, but don't worry: Most of this work is hands-off, leaving you free to relax with your own nip of whisky. 

Recipe: Joel McHale's Cranberry-Orange Whisky-Glazed Pork Shoulder

5. Holiday Trifle

Trifles have been a favorite English dessert for over 200 years, and are made by layering fruit with custard and pieces of cake that are often soaked in liqueurs. Make this holiday trifle recipe from Susan Olayinka in a large, clear glass bowl so the pretty layers are visible. It's made with strawberry Jell-O, vanilla pudding, berries, cranberries, and pound cake, all topped with whipped cream and slivered almonds. It's easy but elegant, and there are 10 servings, making it perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings. 

Recipe: Holiday Trifle

6. Cranberry Orange Cheese Ball

Dried cranberries add a playful pop of color to this festive cheese ball appetizer perfect for your next gathering. The recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes, and it can even be made in advance to pull from the fridge as your guests arrive. Cream cheese is blended with orange, cranberries, and chopped nuts, then shaped into a ball and rolled in more of these ingredients to create an eye-catching coating. Serve this cheese ball with sturdy crackers or sliced bread.

Recipe: Cranberry Orange Cheese Ball

7. Christmas Meatballs

You may not have thought about folding cranberries into your meatballs, but they're a surprisingly delicious addition. The sweet-tart flavor works so well with the savory flavor of these beef and pork meatballs, which are made with thyme and sage. For a finishing touch, they're briefly simmered in a glaze of stock and brown sugar. Larger meatballs can be served with potatoes as a main dish, or make mini meatballs to set out with toothpicks as an appetizer for your next party.

Recipe: Christmas Meatballs

8. Cranberry Fluff

This recipe is a nod to old fashioned, ambrosia-style desserts but with a decidedly holiday feel. The creamy treat is made with sliced, fresh cranberries folded into a blend of cream cheese, marshmallows, and cream. You can even add extra dimension with flavors like vanilla, rum, or orange. The dish is quick to assemble and just needs to be chilled before serving, for least an hour or as long as overnight. Cranberry fluff is sure to be a velvety, unique addition to your dessert table. 

Recipe: Cranberry Fluff

9. Chef Nyesha Arrington's Chocolate Cranberry Ganache Tart

This decadent tart recipe was shared with Mashed by Chef Nyesha Arrington, who has appeared on "Top Chef" and co-hosted Gordon Ramsay's "Next Level Chef." It's a gorgeous dessert that's surprisingly easy to make. Arrington's tart features a base made of crushed chocolate cookies, and it's topped with a chocolate-cranberry-orange zest ganache that comes together in minutes on the stovetop. While the tart cools and sets, make a batch of homemade whipped cream to serve with each slice.

Recipe: Chef Nyesha Arrington's Chocolate Cranberry Ganache Tart Recipe

10. Jingle Juice

Be merry with this delicious punch that looks absolutely gorgeous on the party table. The drink is a combination of rosé, Cointreau, vodka, and orange juice, plus some sparkling cider for fizziness. The recipe makes 12 servings and takes less than 10 minutes to assemble. Garnish the punch with loads of ruby-red cranberries, orange slices, and fresh mint. Or better yet, try Food Network's idea to create a lovely ice ring with the cranberries and orange slices that will keep your punch chilled.

Recipe: Jingle Juice

11. Instant Pot Cranberry Applesauce

Not only can this treat be enjoyed as a more flavorful twist on regular applesauce, it can also stand in for cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table. It has a balance of sweet and tart flavors without all the added sugar that's normally found in store-bought and homemade cranberry sauces. Use your Instant Pot to pressure cook the fruit for only 10 minutes, then mash and allow it to cool. Your cranberry applesauce can be served warm or made in advance and chilled. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Cranberry Applesauce

12. Cranberry Bread

Quick breads like this one are so easy to make, since they require no kneading or rising time. The bread batter is made with orange juice, sugar, and cranberries; either fresh or frozen cranberries work well in the recipe. Be sure to chop the cranberries before adding them to the batter so that the pieces are well-distributed in the bread. (Whole berries will sink to the bottom.) This is a lovely bread for brunches, and it makes a thoughtful holiday food gift.

Recipe: Cranberry Bread

13. Broccoli Salad

Looking for a fresh-tasting side dish or mid-week salad? We have an excellent suggestion: This broccoli salad recipe that features the sweet-tart bite of dried cranberries. Along with broccoli florets, the salad includes crunchy apple, carrots, peanuts, and red onion. Make the creamy dressing with mayonnaise, honey, and apple cider vinegar. The recipe is easy to prepare and makes 12 servings, which means you can feed a crowd or enjoy it all week as a make-ahead lunch. 

Recipe: Broccoli Salad

14. Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

We love a good oatmeal raisin cookie, and this recipe makes it even more interesting. These cookies are made with dried cranberries instead, as well as orange zest for a bright, citrusy note. That's not all — toasted, chopped pecans give the treats a little crunch. You can make and eat these cookies quickly since the batter doesn't require any chilling. Make a batch for a cookie exchange, to share at Friendsgiving, or to give away as holiday food gifts. 

Recipe: Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

15. Thanksgiving Rice Pilaf

Everyone expects to see mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and stuffing as sides on the Thanksgiving table, but here's a recipe idea for something new – and really delicious. This rice pilaf is full of herbs and other savory flavors, plus sweet bites of cranberry. It simmers on your stovetop for just under an hour so the wild rice can soften and soak up all the flavors. Red pomegranate seeds and chopped, green parsley add festive color to the finished dish. 

Recipe: Thanksgiving Rice Pilaf

16. Fall Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash

The fall and holiday months are full of sweet desserts and heavy foods; to balance things, try this kale salad that's full of fall flavor but also healthy and fresh. Start by roasting cubes of butternut squash until they're tender and flavorful, and this step can even be done in advance to make assembling the salads even faster. Dinosaur kale becomes tender under a dressing of lemon juice, oil, and Dijon mustard. Toss the kale with the squash, pepitas, apple, and dried cranberries. The salad is a great side to roasted meats or a hearty chili. 

Recipe: Fall Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash

17. Cranberry Crumble Bars

If you want to add flavorful cranberries to your baking, look no further than these delectable cranberry crumble bars. They're an easy treat to make — simply press the crumbly batter into the pan and set a little aside to go on the top. Make the fruity filling on your stovetop by simmering whole cranberries with orange juice and sugar. The bars take only 20 minutes to prepare and about 30 minutes to bake. They're yummy for holidays or just for after-work snacking. 

Recipe: Cranberry Crumble Bars

18. No-Bake Cranberry Orange Cheesecake

You can assemble this lovely, no-bake cheesecake dessert in just 25 minutes, and have it waiting for you in the fridge to serve to guests or to bring to the party. Make the crust yourself using crushed Nilla Wafers cookies, or purchase a premade cookie crust. The filling is a blend of cranberries, cream cheese, orange zest, and whipped cream. There are lots of ways to garnish the chilled cheesecake: Add twists of orange peel, candied whole cranberries, a layer of whipped cream, or even a few curls of dark chocolate. 

Recipe: No-Bake Cranberry Orange Cheesecake

19. Cranberry Brie Bites

This is definitely a recipe worth bookmarking, because it's really two recipes in one. You'll first learn how to make sparkling, sugar-coated cranberries — it's so easy to do and you can use them to decorate all kinds of holiday dishes like cakes, cranberry sauce, pies, and mousse. The recipe also shows you how to use these candied cranberries to make a simple appetizer with a sliced baguette, Brie cheese, and honey. The sweet and savory flavors are perfect together, and the tart, cheesy bites are elegant enough for any party.

Recipe: Cranberry Brie Bites

20. Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

What a simple, delicious, and hearty dish to make for your breakfast! Because this recipe makes eight servings, it's a great choice when you have overnight guests or if you want a dish you can reheat for breakfast all week. Whole cranberries are baked with oats, milk, and flavorings like cinnamon and maple syrup, which gives the finished oatmeal a fluffy texture and lots of flavor. You can experiment with adding other fruits in addition to the cranberries, like diced apples or pears. 

Recipe: Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

21. Cranberry Jell-O Salad

Jell-O salads reigned supreme throughout mid-century America, and it was rare to find a potluck or community supper table without one. Though some of those salads went a little overboard (and contained questionable ingredients like tuna fish) many of them were actually very tasty. This recipe from Miriam Hahn for cranberry Jell-O salad is a perfect example, suspending pineapple, whole berry cranberry sauce, and pineapple chunks in sweet raspberry Jell-O. Since it needs to set overnight, it's a great make-ahead dessert option, and delicious served with whipped cream. 

Recipe: Cranberry Jell-O Salad

22. Sweet Kale Salad

This is a delicious salad any time of the year, but especially in fall and winter when you want a fresh side to balance out all the heavy foods of the season. Dinosaur kale is massaged to make it tender, then tossed with a sweet-tangy dressing of poppy seeds, orange juice, and olive oil. Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, and diced apples give the salad color, texture, and autumn vibes. The recipe makes six servings to enjoy with dinner or to pack for work week lunches.

Recipe: Sweet Kale Salad

23. Turkey Salad With Cranberries And Pecans

You might choose this recipe as a tasty way to use up leftover turkey after Thanksgiving, but it's a great choice any time of the year you want a flavorful sandwich filling. If you'd rather not cook a whole turkey, pick up a bone-in turkey breast: They're smaller and cook through more quickly than a whole bird. Toss the shredded, cooked turkey with mayonnaise, pecans, red grapes, and dried cranberries. Enjoy the salad on hearty bread, flaky croissants, or even wrapped inside lettuce leaves.

Recipe: Turkey Salad With Cranberries And Pecans

24. Fruit Cake

Cranberries play a starring role in this recipe for classic holiday fruit cake. Though it's often maligned, this recipe from Kristen Carli proves that, when made well, fruit cake is absolutely delicious. Slices are full of sweetness thanks to dried cranberries, apricots, figs, cherries, and other fruits, plus a generous glug of dark rum. The recipe makes two loaves, so you can enjoy one and give the other one as a gift. Serve slices of fruit cake with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 

Recipe: Fruit Cake

25. Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake

One of the best breakfast treats out there is coffee cake. (Which, despite the name, usually contains no actual coffee.) It's sweet, full of flavor, and looks stunning even though it's easy to make. This coffee cake recipe by Autumn LeAnn folds sweet-tart cranberry sauce with orange zest into the batter, and candied orange slices are lovely on the powdered sugar-dusted cake top. The cake takes about an hour to bake, and it can be made in advance for an easy morning or afternoon nosh.

Recipe: Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake

26. Pumpkin Spice Granola

The beginning of autumn means it's time to celebrate cranberries AND the flavors of pumpkin spice. This homemade granola recipe brings them together in one dish that you can enjoy as a healthy breakfast or hearty snack. Toss dried cranberries, pumpkin pie spice, canned pumpkin puree with oats, pumpkin seeds, and chopped nuts. The mixture bakes up in about 30 minutes, and is lightly sweetened with maple syrup. Once the granola is cool, you can add other mix-ins like chocolate chips, and enjoy servings with milk and fresh fruit. 

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Granola

27. Halloween Eyeball Punch

Need a recipe for this year's Halloween party? You can make this blood-red punch in just 10 minutes, but beware because it has a spooky surprise: eyeballs! The punch is sweet and flavorful, made with cranberry, orange, and pomegranate juices. To make the "eyes," look for canned lychees, a tropical fruit from China with a sweet, floral flavor. Canned lychees are pitted, which leaves a hole in the center of the fruit — push a blueberry into each one. Each time someone stirs the punch, they'll see the lychee roll over to reveal the deliciously spooky blueberry eyeball. 

Recipe: Halloween Eyeball Punch

28. Copycat Wendy's Apple Pecan Salad

This favorite Wendy's salad is so easy to recreate, and making it at home means you can customize it any way you wish. Toss salad greens with diced apples (both red and green) then add in whole pecans and tart, dried cranberries. Don't have time to cook up some chicken? Use chicken leftover from dinner or shredded rotisserie chicken. The final touches are crumbled blue cheese and a sweet pomegranate dressing. Make this salad for lunch for the week, or as a light side dish with soup or chili. 

Recipe: Copycat Wendy's Apple Pecan Salad

29. Thanksgiving Pizza

A refrigerator full of Thanksgiving dinner leftovers means home cooks have to find really creative ways of using them all up. This recipe is one of the most creative ones out there! Make a homemade pizza crust, or if you're pressed for time use store-bought pizza dough or a prebaked pizza crust. Top the crust with mashed potatoes, shredded turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. A mixture of goat cheese and Cheddar cheese melts in the oven to bring all the ingredients together. 

Recipe: Thanksgiving Pizza

30. Cranberry Pineapple Marshmallow Salad

Looking for a Thanksgiving or holiday dessert, but don't want to go with the usual pies and cookies? Your family will love this fruity, creamy salad. Assembling this sweet, refreshing salad couldn't be easier: Just stir together diced cranberries, pineapple, cream cheese, and marshmallows. Allow a few hours for the salad to chill, which lets the flavors meld and the texture set (you can even prepare it the day before), and then it's ready to serve. 

Recipe: Cranberry Pineapple Marshmallow Salad

31. Copycat Trader Joe's Chicken Salad

It's hard to beat the convenience of grabbing prepared salads at Trader Joe's, but here's a reason to try making this one at home: It tastes even better! The salad includes tender pieces of chicken, dried cranberries, pecans, and poppy seeds, all with an apple cider vinegar and honey dressing. It's delicious in sandwiches (especially on croissants) and on flatbreads. Save time by using precooked chicken breast or shredded rotisserie chicken. The recipe makes four cups of salad, so you can enjoy it for days. 

Recipe: Copycat Trader Joe's Chicken Salad

32. Non-Alcoholic Christmas Punch

This recipe makes a holiday punch that everyone can enjoy: It has so much sweetness and flavor and no alcohol is needed. The recipe by Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert combines cranberry juice with pomegranate juice and seeds, plus ginger ale. What really sets it apart is a rosemary-infused simple syrup, which gives the drinks a wonderful herbal note. Serve glasses of this punch with an extra dose of festive color by garnishing with fresh rosemary sprigs.

Recipe: Non-Alcoholic Christmas Punch

33. Pumpkin Cranberry Cake

Not only will this easy pumpkin cake look great placed front and center on the holiday dessert table, it's also simple enough that you can make it mid-week to enjoy with coffee or tea. The cake batter includes Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices, and fresh cranberries. Chop the cranberries first so they will stay distributed throughout the cake and not sink to the bottom. Your cake will be ready in about 35 minutes, and is delicious served with whipped cream or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Recipe: Pumpkin Cranberry Cake

34. Jungle Juice

Use your cranberry juice to make a sweet and fruity punch that's a little boozy, too. Vodka is the spirit of choice in this party cocktail, which lets the flavors of the other ingredients shine. Blend cranberry juice with orange juice and fruit punch, along with sliced fruit. The recipe makes 12 servings and you can even prepare it ahead of time and have it waiting in the fridge. Want a nonalcoholic version that everyone can enjoy? Just replace the vodka with more juice or extra sliced fruit. 

Recipe: Jungle Juice

35. Thanksgiving Leftover Egg Rolls

One of the best things about Thanksgiving dinner is coming up with tasty ways to use and enjoy all those leftovers. If you agree, then you just have to try this recipe that piles Thanksgiving leftovers like turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce into egg roll wrappers. A little cheese is added in there too, so that each bite is melty and divine. Fry the wrapped egg rolls until they're brown and crispy, then serve them more leftover cranberry sauce or even leftover gravy.

Recipe: Thanksgiving Leftover Egg Rolls

36. Apple Walnut Salad

It's amazing the way dried cranberries make a salad so much more delicious, giving each bite a potent dose of sweet-tart flavor. Kristen Carli's recipe features peppery arugula greens tossed with fresh, diced apples and crunchy walnuts, plus feta cheese and dried cranberries folded in. The dressing is perfectly simple: a blend of red wine vinegar, oil, and honey that has a bold tang but doesn't obscure the other flavors. The recipe makes enough salad to serve four, or to take to work for lunch all week. 

Recipe: Apple Walnut Salad

37. Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

With this recipe on your side, you don't have to make the trek to IKEA for Swedish meatballs. And making them in a slow cooker means the meatballs are a cinch to prepare for dinner or as an appetizer. A traditional accompaniment for Swedish meatballs is lingonberry jam, but this recipe uses cranberry sauce, an ingredient that tends to be easier to find in the States. It pairs really well with the savory meatballs, and the tartness of cranberry balances the richness of the meat and gravy. 

Recipe: Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

38. 15-Minute Granola

Today's the day you stop buying granola and start making your own. With store-bought granola you're letting someone else decide what goes into the mixture; when you make your own you get to choose more of your favorite ingredients and skip any unwanted ones. This recipe has a blend of oats, nuts, and dried fruits like cranberries and raisins, and it all bakes together to become browned and crunchy. Use your 15-minute granola to make trail mixes, energy bars, or enjoy it with milk or yogurt for breakfast. 

Recipe: 15-Minute Granola

39. Cowboy Ciao Salad

This salad was one of the best-loved menu items at the former Scottsdale, Arizona restaurant Cowboy Ciao. Not only is it full of healthful ingredients like pepitas, smoked salmon, and couscous, the ingredients are laid out in rows over the arugula base, making it striking in presentation. Build your Cowboy Ciao salad with dried cranberries, shoepeg corn, and feta, along with a homemade pesto ranch dressing. It's delicious for lunch or for a light dinner served with slices of crusty bread.

Recipe: Cowboy Ciao Salad

40. Fruit Bread

Think of this loaf as an easy-going cousin of the ornate holiday fruit cake. The recipe is an easy quick bread that's full of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, plus raisins and dried cranberries for sweet and chewy bites in every slice. The loaf bakes up in about an hour, and the fragrant, flavorful slices are delicious spread with butter or softened cream cheese. Serve the bread for breakfast, brunch, or with afternoon tea. 

Recipe: Fruit Bread

41. Holiday Chicken Salad

Include this salad as a healthy option on your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables this season — or prepare it as a light, fresh lunch. Using cooked chicken breast from leftovers or a store-bought rotisserie chicken, this recipe comes together in only 10 minutes. The salad combines spring mix greens with diced bell pepper, dried cranberries, pecans, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Variation idea: Instead of chicken, make this salad using shredded turkey leftover from your holiday meal. 

Recipe: Holiday Chicken Salad