This perfectly balanced, homemade cranberry sauce is made with a sneaky, secret ingredient. Want to know what it is? That’s a secret I’ll never tell, XOXO Gossip Gi—Oh, alright. It’s Aperol.
Secret Ingredient Cranberry Sauce
Can I tell you a secret? This delicious homemade cranberry sauce has something to hide. It’s the perfect balance of tart and sweet and it’s super easy to make, but one delicious taste of this and everyone will be reaching for another, trying to place what is giving your cranberry sauce that extra je ne sais quoi. If I were more selfish, I’d never tell what gives this cranberry sauce a little extra somethin’ somethin’. But I will. It’s aperol.
I was never very good at keeping secrets anyways.
What do you need to make this homemade cranberry sauce?
If you’ve attended an American Thanksgiving then I’m sure you’ve seen cranberry sauce. You can buy it in a can or a jar, or you can make your own homemade cranberry sauce with fresh (or frozen!) cranberries with minimal ingredients, effort, and time.
Cranberries: You can use fresh or frozen whole cranberries to make homemade cranberry sauce!
Sugar: Cranberries are incredibly tart, so you’ll need a healthy scoop of sugar to sweeten this cranberry sauce up. The cranberry sauce will still be tart, but the sweetness will balance it out to a delightfully zingy flavor.
Orange: A little orange zest goes a long way in brightening up your cranberry sauce.
Aperol: A drum roll please for our secret ingredient! Aperol will impart a lovely, orange, nuanced flavor to your classic cranberry sauce.
So. What is Aperol?
Aperol is vibrant orange Italian liqueur or aperitif. It’s rich, a little bitter, a bit fruity and slightly sweet. It is the absolute perfect complement to tart cranberries and adds a nuanced, sweetness that makes a beautiful, special cranberry sauce. It won’t overpower the cranberry flavor or taste strongly, but it just adds a oompf to your classic cranberry sauce.
You can find Aperol in most liquor stores, online, or in Italy (duh). And you can use the leftover Aperol to drink Aperol Spritzes while your spending all day in the kitchen cooking Thanksgiving dinner, so it’s basically a win-win.
How to store cranberry sauce
The wonderful thing about cranberry sauce is that you can make it well in advance so that you have it on hand whenever you need. This cranberry sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just make sure you let it cool completely and store it in an airtight, freezer-safe container.
Happy almost Thanksgiving! We hope this secret ingredient cranberry sauce graces many of your tables!
Leave a comment and rate this recipe!
Just made this. I didn’t have the Aperol so had to find some last night. Since I was at the store I also bought necessities for a drink called Paper Plane. Naughty me,! This Cranberry Sauce is about the Best I’ve ever had and I’m over 75yrs. Seriously good! Very simple. A big Thank You and a Happy Thanksgiving.