Skip the Sauce: 7 Thanksgiving Dishes Capitalizing on Cranberries

Filled with tart, tangy, and sweet flavors, cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving must for many. While it is a popular turkey day favorite, you shouldn’t just be enjoying your cranberries in sauce form. You can replicate those same piquant tastes in other delicious Thanksgiving dishes, creating one-of-a-kind appetizers, sides, and salads. With these 7 recipes, you can add rich and aromatic cranberry flavors to your corn bread, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and dips. Sorry, turkey — it looks like cranberries are stealing the spotlight this year!

1. Cranberry-Topped Brie

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Betty Crocker delivers a simple Thanksgiving appetizer that your guests will devour. Warm and creamy brie, sliced almonds, and cranberry sauce create a zesty dish that pairs perfectly with whole-grain crackers. If you’re hoping to add another homemade element to this app, we recommend whipping up Don’t Waste the Crumbs’ 3-Ingredient Homemade Crackers.


  • 1 round (8 ounce) brie cheese
  • ½ cup cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • ½ package (9.5-ounce size) baked whole-grain wheat cracker squares

Directions: Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cheese on cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes or until softened. Spoon cranberry sauce over cheese; sprinkle with almonds. Bake about 5 minutes longer or until sauce is heated. Serve with crackers.

2. Cream Cheese Cranberry Dip

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Layers of cream cheese, cranberries, green onion, and cilantro await you with Julie’s Eats & Treats recipe. It’s another exceptionally easy appetizer that your friends and family can enjoy while you put the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving feast. For delicious dipping, serve with a side of crisp and crunchy crackers.


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
  • ⅛ cup chopped cilantro
  • ⅛ cup chopped green onion
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions: Spread cream cheese on the bottom of a pie plate. In a mixing bowl, beat together cranberry sauce, cilantro, green onion, cumin, and lemon juice. Spread on top of cream cheese. Serve with crackers.

3. Cranberry-Pineapple Gelatin Salad

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Paula Deen’s recipe via Food Network creates a light and fresh-tasting salad that will cleanse your palate. It’s topped with cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and whipped cream, creating a decadent dish that will contrast wonderfully with your savory sides. It yields 16 servings.


  • 2 (3 ounce) packages raspberry gelatin
  • ½ envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple packet in its own juice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts


  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream
  • ¼ cup walnuts

Directions: Spray a 4-cup gelatin mold or a 9-inch square pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a medium glass mixing bowl, combine the raspberry gelatin and unflavored gelatin. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir with a metal spoon continuously for 2 minutes, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in ½ cup cold water. Add the pineapple and juice, cranberry sauce, and walnuts.

Stir with a metal spoon until all ingredients are completely incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared mold, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. About 1 hour before serving, invert the mold onto a serving platter and allow to sit at room temperature; the salad will release itself and come clean from the mold. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, whipped cream, and walnuts in bowl. Spoon into the center of the mold.

4. Cranberry Corn Bread

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This is a Thanksgiving recipe that’s able to combine both sweet and savory flavors into one dish.’s Cranberry Corn Bread is a great alternative to a standard dinner roll and is fairly low maintenance — it only requires 15 minutes of prep time.


  • ½ cup chopped cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1⅓ cups milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish. Stir cranberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar in a bowl. Whisk flour, cornmeal, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Whisk milk, eggs, and melted butter together in a third bowl. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir cranberries into batter; pour into prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven until corn bread is golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely in pan before cutting into squares for serving.

5. Maple-Cranberry Sweet Potatoes

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Good Housekeeping’s Maple-Cranberry Sweet Potatoes will taste terrific as a side to your turkey. If you’d like to get a head start on assembling this dish, you can make the sweet potatoes and syrup up to 1 day in advance, refrigerating separately. Just make sure to let them both come to room temperature before baking. This recipe yields 10 servings.


  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
  • Salt
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1½ cups cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Directions: In covered 6-quart saucepot, heat whole sweet potatoes with 1 teaspoon salt and enough water to cover to boiling on high. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, about 30 minutes or just until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat maple syrup to boiling on high. Reduce heat to medium, and boil gently 10-15 minutes or until reduced to ½ cup.

Stir in cranberries, butter, and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook just until cranberries pop, about 5 minutes longer. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut cooled sweet potatoes crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices and arrange in shallow 3-quart ceramic or glass baking dish, overlapping slices if necessary. Spoon maple-cranberry syrup evenly over potatoes. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes or until hot.

6. Sausage, Cranberry, and Corn Bread Stuffing

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If you’ve been searching for a stuffing that your guests are guaranteed to remember, Gourmet’s recipe via Epicurious is just what you need. By combining cranberries, Italian sausage, pecans, corn bread, and seasonings, you will create a lively dish that your tastebuds will welcome. It yields 12 cups.


  • 1½ loaves corn bread
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 7 leeks (about 1 pound; white and pale green parts only)
  • 3 celery ribs
  • ¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ½ pound sweet Italian sausage (about 3 links)
  • 2 cups fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut corn bread into ½-inch cubes and in 2 large shallow baking pans bake in middle of oven until just dry, about 20 minutes. Transfer corn bread from 1 pan to a large bowl and in the pan, toast pecans in oven until insides are golden, 10-20 minutes. Halve leeks lengthwise and then cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces. In a bowl of cold water, wash leeks well and lift from water into a sieve to drain. Chop celery.

In a 12-inch skillet, cook leeks and celery in butter with salt and pepper to taste over moderately low heat, stirring, until leeks are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove sausage from casings and break into small pieces. Add sausage to leek mixture and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through. In a small heavy saucepan, cook cranberries with sugar over moderately high heat, stirring, 5 minutes, or until some begin to burst. Chop parsley.

To the bowl of corn bread, add remaining corn bread cubes, pecans, sausage mixture, cranberries, parsley, broth, and salt and pepper to taste and toss together. Cool stuffing completely. Stuffing may be made up to this point one day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring stuffing to room temperature before proceeding. In a shallow baking dish, bake stuffing in preheated 325 degrees oven for 1 hour.

7. Apple Cranberry Galette with Cream Chantilly

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If you’d like to offer a non-pie dessert, Not Just Baked has a delicious alternative. It consists of a buttery, flaky crust and a filling that combines cranberries, apples, and orange juice. This galette can be frozen with the fruit filling for up to 6 months, so feel free to get a head start on your Thanksgiving baking!



  • 12 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces frozen or super cold butter cubes
  • 4-6 ounces super cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • 4-5 apples, sliced into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • Cranberry Filling (Note: You can also use an already made cranberry sauce if you have one available.)

Cream Chantilly:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the oven rack at the bottom of the oven for best results, and to prevent a soggy bottom. To make the dough, place the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl, whisk. Add the super cold cubed butter chunks, and rub the flour into the butter with hands until pea sized butter is achieved, working quickly but gently, as to not overwork the dough. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to bring the dough together, you may need to add more. Place the dough on a lightly floured counter, and bring the dough together with your hands.

Cover with plastic wrap or towel and place in the fridge for 15 minutes. Start working on the apple filling. Place the apples, sugar, salt, orange juice, and flour in a bowl. Add the cranberry sauce to the apples, once the cranberries have cooled down. Take the dough out after 15 minutes and roll it out to ½-inch thick. Take ⅓ of it and fold it in, then fold the other ⅓ inch. Place in fridge again for 15 minutes. Remove dough from fridge. Lightly dust counter with flour. Cut dough in half using a bench scraper or knife. Roll dough out to ¼ inch thick. Place rolled out galette dough on a sheet pan.

Place the apple cranberry filling in the center of the galette. Fold sides of the dough over the fruit. Brush sides with the egg wash. At this point, bake for 40 minutes, or place the sheet pan in the freezer. Freeze raw galette with filling for 30 minutes. Place in a freezer bag. Remove and place in the oven to bake when needed. If baking frozen galette, bake for 50 minutes. For the cream chantilly, place the cream, salt, and sugar in a bowl. By hand, use a whisk until whipped cream soft peaks are formed, or use a mixer with whisk attachment until soft peaks are formed. Serve with galette.