This homemade cranberry pear sauce is perfectly spiced, a little tart, and full of cranberry flavor. Sweet pears are the perfect addition to make regular cranberry sauce elevated. This festive dish belongs on every holiday table!
One of my favorite Thanksgiving sides is homemade cranberry sauce. However, this spiced cranberry-pear sauce isn't your ordinary cranberry sauce recipe. It has the addition of warm spices and ripe pears for a perfectly balanced side dish. It belongs on every Thanksgiving menu!
Whether it's on your Christmas table or Thanksgiving table, this delicious cranberry pear sauce recipe is a lovely compliment to all holiday feasts. Between the warm spices, zesty citrus, and tart cranberries this recipe screams holiday season. Next time you're headed to the grocery store, add fresh cranberries to your shopping list and give this pear cranberry sauce recipe a try! You will never want the canned stuff again!
Cranberries: This cranberry sauce recipe uses fresh cranberries. You can also use frozen if it is all you can find, just be sure to reduce the liquid out. Fresh cranberries can typically be found in the produce section from September to January. You will need 12 ounces.
White sugar: ¾ cup of granulated white sugar is added for sweetness. You can use less amount of sugar if you prefer a more sour cranberry sauce.
Brown sugar: Light brown sugar is added for molasses flavor. Just ¼ cup makes it perfectly sweet.
Water: 1 cup water boils to burst the cranberries and eventually reduces.
Spices: This cranberry pear sauce uses cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg for a warm spiced flavor. You can also simmer the sauce with a cinnamon stick instead of ground cinnamon, just be sure to remove the stick before serving.
Orange: Orange zest and fresh orange juice are added to the sauce for a citrus flavor and to brighten up the decadent sauce. You will need 2 tablespoons of orange juice and 1 tablespoon of orange zest.
Citric acid: I use Lemi Shine's 100% food-grade citric acid in this recipe to cut the sweetness in the cranberry sauce. Citric acid packs a citrus flavor without adding additional liquid to the cranberry filling. This recipe calls for only ½ teaspoon of citric acid. To learn more about citric acid, check out this page. To purchase this kitchen staple for your home, check it out on Amazon.
Pears: I use Bartlett pears for this recipe because they become beautifully tender when simmered. They also offer a bright, crisp flavor to the sauce. You will need 2 pears.
Find the full ingredient measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!
variations & substitutions 📖
Change the sweetener used. In this simple cranberry pear sauce, I have found the combo of brown sugar and white sugar is the perfect amount of sweetness. However, you can also use maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar.
Switch up the citrus. I love the flavor combo of orange and cranberry, but you can use any citrus that is your favorite! Try fresh lemon juice instead of the fresh orange juice. Or even lime and grapefruit would be great citrus substitutes.
For Thanksgiving, make a double batch of this sauce and use some to make the appetizer air fryer brie bites with cranberry sauce. This recipe is a great small bite to serve before Thanksgiving dinner that pairs buttery brie with tart cranberry.
tips & tricks 👩🏻🍳
To make the cranberry sauce a smoother consistency, use a potato masher to mash the cranberries. If you like your cranberry sauce to be a smooth jam, mash the cranberries with a potato masher. This will also thicken the cranberry sauce more since it will release more pectin.
Make a double batch of this sauce to use for leftover recipes. This cranberry pear sauce is amazing to eat the day of but maybe even better the next day when it can be incorporated in new recipes. You can use it as a sandwich spread with your Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. You can add it on top of vanilla ice cream for a deliciously tart sweet treat. It can even top pork roast or pork tenderloin to balance out the decadence. There are endless ways to use this spiced cranberry sauce with pears!
step by step instructions 🔪
Step 1 - Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Combine cranberries, white sugar, brown sugar, water, cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg, orange juice, orange zest, citric acid, and pears in a saucepan.
Step 2 - Cook over medium heat covered until the cranberries pop. Cover and cook on medium-high heat until the berries burst open and the pears are tender. This should take about 10 minutes.
Step 3 - Cook uncovered to thicken. Then uncover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes until it’s thickened to a jam-like consistency.
Step 4 - Cool and serve. Remove from the heat and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then place in a serving platter alongside a wooden spoon for serving.
serving suggestions 🍽️
Serve this easy cranberry pear sauce after cooling in a serving dish with extra orange zest on top.
storage & reheating
Store leftover cranberry pear sauce in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Homemade cranberry sauce can also be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container or ziploc bag.
To reheat, stir in 1 tablespoon of water per cup of cranberry sauce and microwave in 30-second intervals until warm throughout.
Yes. Cranberry sauce will become its final thick consistency after it has cooled for at least 30 minutes.
If your cranberry sauce has a bitter taste or weird aftertaste, this is most likely because your cranberries cooked for too long. Be sure to just cook until the cranberries pop and then simmer until the consistency is jelly-like. If fresh cranberries cook for a long time, they become bitter and have an unpleasant taste.
My favorite tip for fixing homemade cranberry sauce that is too sweet is adding a little bit of food-grade citric acid. Citric acid balances out the sweetness and adds tartness.
This is completely up to preference! Some people serve it warm fresh out of the pot on their Thanksgiving dinner table to pair with warm turkey or decadent stuffing, whereas others serve it chilled on the side.
other side dishes
It warms me up to see you make my recipes! Tag me on instagram @essenceeats so I can see your remakes. If you made this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, please leave a star rating while you're there ☆