Cranberry Sauce with Cointreau

A cranberry sauce holds the Thanksgiving dishes together but you don’t want to spend too much time on it. Our recipe is quick and delicious.

Cranberry Sauce with CointreauHappy Thanksgivukkah everyone!

This is going to be a quick post because we’re in the midst of Thanksgiving cooking madness and if I’m gone too long, Matt will glaze the dog and confit the chickens.

If you haven’t made your cranberry sauce yet (don’t panic, there’s still time!), this is a very simple, tasty recipe that is ready in minutes. You’ll want to cool it before serving and next year, you can make it up to 4 days ahead.

This is a great place to use Cointreau (orange liquor) if you have it, but Triple Sec is a fine, much more affordable alternative.

You’re aiming for a balance of tartness (more berries) and sweetness (more sugar) – it’s not a bad idea to have extra of both on hand in case you decide you want to shift the taste either way.


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4.67 from 3 votes

Cranberry Sauce with Cointreau

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
Author: Emily Clifton - Nerds with Knives


  • 1 1/2 pounds 2 bags fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup water depending on how juicy the oranges are
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 oranges zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau


  • In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar, salt, and zest. Add the orange juice to a measuring cup and top with water so you have 2 cups of liquid, total. Add to pot with cranberries. Stir to blend.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, nutmeg and Cointreau. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole. Allow to cool before serving. It will get quite a bit thicker when chilled.
Tried this recipe?Mention @NerdsWithKnives or tag #nerdswithknives!


9 thoughts on “Cranberry Sauce with Cointreau”

  1. I love this recipe. My only changes are that I zest 1 orange, use less water and slice the orange, and use allspice for a little kick instead of nutmeg. I’m considering using Fireball whiskey this year just for giggles.

    • How can you love the recipe when you altered it and didn’t try as it was written? Lol.

      This recipe is fantastic! We loved every bite. Perfect as-is.

  2. I LOVE this recipe. i usually make 2 batches, one for the big day and one for me to eat while i am cleaning up, it is that good. thanks so much

  3. Amazing cranberry sauce! We celebrated an early Christmas dinner in order to be at another dinner on Christmas Day! I’ve never made cranberry sauce before…it was so easy to make and we all loved the flavours! So glad that I doubled the recipe to gift on Christmas Day! Absolutely no need to alter this recipe!!!


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