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Festive Cranberry Balsamic Sauce

Well, the decision’s been made to move away from our southern hemisphere tradition of a seafood-based Christmas lunch to have turkey and all the trimmings this year.  I’ve already stocked up on cranberries and started experimenting with sauces and chutneys like this cranberry balsamic sauce to accompany the Christmas bird.  

Cranberry & Balsamic Sauce

While working my way through multiple trials and test batches I was constantly looking for additional ways to use the cranberry balsamic sauce as we just don’t eat that much turkey. It goes equally well in a grilled chicken burger, alongside any poultry roast and on a chicken and brie pizza. I’ve also enjoyed it with a vegetarian brazil nut loaf and a cheese platter. It’s also a great topper for this luscious baked camembert.  

It seems I associate the jewelled cranberry tones with white food (cheese, chicken, turkey and nuts), while these are all very good I might need to stretch my horizons.

While working with this recipe I knew I wanted a less ‘jammy’ consistency than the store-bought brands and  I wanted to keep as much of the whole fruit texture as I could.  It needed to be savoury, not too sweet and retain a little of the sharpness the cranberries offered with being too sour.  

I was cautious of over sweetening it but ended up being surprised at how much sugar it needed to get the balance right.

I experimented with adding orange juice and zest which we found a bit sweet but settled on balsamic vinegar which gave the depth and faintly acidic bite I was after.  So I give you our new traditon … cranberry and balsamic sauce.

What big feasting holidays do you celebrate in your home country and what dishes make it extra special for you and your family this year?

Cranberry & Balsamic Sauce

Cranberry balsamic sauce


  • 500 g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • pinch of salt


    1. Place all the ingredients in a covered saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.
    2. Leave the lid of the pan slightly ajar to allow steam to escape and the liquid to evaporate.
    3. Simmer for around 20-minutes until the berries split and the sauce to thicken.
    4. As the sauce will continue to thicken once removed from the heat remove it a little before it looks 'ready'.
    5. Rover the sprigs of rosemary and allow to cool to room temperature.
    6. Transfer to a glass jar and store in the fridge.


If you prefer your cranberry sauce to have a thicker chutney consistency then allow it to cook a couple of minutes longer.

Did you make this recipe?

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I made our sauce with frozen cranberries, while I do always prefer to buy fresh and local they aren’t something I’ve ever seen grown locally in Australia or even for sale fresh. Also if they are in season in the northern territory they would definitely be out of season for our Christmas down here in the heat of summer.  Of course, if you live somewhere with access to fresh fruit then by all means use that.

If cranberries aren’t available locally or you want to try something a bit different with the holiday roast then you might like to take a look at our Blueberry and Bourbon chutney.  It’s another delicious option that would go perfectly on the festive table, have dozens of other uses in the pre-season entertaining and be equally useful in jazzing up the leftovers.

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Festive Cranberry & Balsamic Sauce
Festive Cranberry & Balsamic Sauce

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