What can I use instead of cranberry sauce? The best substitute for cranberry sauce is lingonberry sauce. Other alternatives include dried fruit chutney, pomegranate sauce, plum sauce, apple sauce, and bacon jam.
Cranberry sauce is traditionally served as a condiment alongside roast meat dishes at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a chunky relish with a sweet, tangy, fruity taste. Although it is called a sauce, the mixture is technically cranberry jam since the basic mix only consists of cranberries and sugar. The pectin in the fruit causes the boiled mixture to thicken.
The Best Cranberry Sauce Substitutes
The best substitute for cranberry sauce is lingonberry sauce. It can be purchased ready-made, or you can buy frozen lingonberries to make homemade sauce.
Lingonberries are small red berry-like fruits native to some of the coldest regions on earth. From the arctic tundra to northern areas of Europe, Asia, and South America, these small fruits have been used to flavor food for centuries.
Lingonberries are also often referred to as mountain or lowbush cranberries. They are an exact color match when made into cranberry sauce and provide the same fresh-fruity taste with a slightly tart edge.
Lingonberry sauce can be served in the same way as cranberry sauce. It is the best one-on-one substitute.
Dried Fruit Chutney
Dried fruit chutney can be made from various dried fruits, but it usually contains apricots, raisins, ginger, and spices. It has a similar chunky texture and piquant taste profile to cranberry sauce.
Fruit chutney can be purchased or homemade. Dried fruit should be left to soak in a sugar mix to re-plump and add sweetness before being stewed with vinegar and spices to create a hearty sweet and sour condiment.
Dried fruit chutney is usually a warm, amber color that complements the harvest colors of your Thanksgiving table. It is, however, not a good color match for cranberry sauce if you require a rich red sauce for your festive table.
Thick fruit chutney can be served in place of cranberry sauce as a condiment with any dish.
Pomegranates are Mediterranean stone fruit that are becoming increasingly popular in cooking worldwide. They offer a naturally sweet, juicy flavor with a deep red, clear juice.
Take note that Grenadine, which is a pomegranate syrup, is not the same as pomegranate sauce. It cannot be used as a replacement where a condiment or meat relish is required.
A better taste option would be pomegranate molasses, which is a thick sauce that can be used as a decadent fruity basting while preparing meat dishes.
It can also be added as a full-bodied ingredient to flavor fruity condiment mixtures.
The similarity in color and fruity flavor between cranberries and pomegranate is unmistakable.
The substitution works particularly well if you are making sauce from scratch and can replace the required cranberry juice in the recipe with pomegranate juice.
The main ingredients of plum sauce are ripe plums, brown sugar, and vinegar. The result is a deep purple-color fruit sauce that is an excellent substitute for cranberry sauce.
Plum sauce is one of the best substitutes for cranberry sauce because it imparts the same rich festive feeling. It is a bit unusual and can add an opulent element to traditional holiday meat roasts.
Like cranberry sauce, plum sauce combines a sweet taste with a tart edge. It is an excellent alternative to cranberry sauce and can be served in the same way.
Apple sauce is a staple ingredient in many households. In its purest form, it only contains cooked apples and offers a high-fiber, naturally sweet substitution for cranberry sauce.
While apple sauce is not a good color match for cranberry sauce, it is an excellent substitution that will not require added sugar.
Choose varieties like Pink Lady or Granny Smith apples for a sweet yet tart taste when making apple sauce to replace cranberry sauce.
Apple sauce pairs well with a variety of meat dishes. It is also an excellent substitution for cranberry sauce if you have young children who prefer a more familiar taste.
There are variations on the bacon jam recipe, but staple ingredients always include bacon, onions, brown sugar, and some kind of vinegar, usually balsamic.
The result is a satisfying chutney-type condiment that tastes both sweet and savory.
Bacon jam can work very well as a substitute for cranberry sauce, especially on special occasions. It pairs perfectly with any roast meat dish.
One notable difference is that bacon jam is a brown caramel color compared to the rich red of cranberry sauce.
Unlike cranberry sauce, bacon jam may be a specialty item at most grocery stores. However, homemade batches can last several weeks if refrigerated, so it can be made in advance.
Serve bacon jam exactly as you would cranberry sauce. It also works well as a spread on bread.