Cranberry Sauce With Pinot Noir Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Jenn Louis

Adapted by Jeff Gordinier

Cranberry Sauce With Pinot Noir Recipe (1)

Total Time
20 minutes, plus cooling
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Some of the best wine on the planet comes from Oregon, and with this recipe Jenn Louis, the chef behind Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, has found a way to weave it into the Thanksgiving feast: as a boon companion to cranberries. “Many deep red wines, or port, can overwhelm the punchy berry,” said Ms. Louis. “Instead, Oregon pinot noir keeps the cranberry sauce bright and clean.” The recipe here doesn’t hold back; it is shot through with allspice, cloves, peppercorns, rosemary, cinnamon, vanilla and honey, in a mix that calls to mind the rusticity and abundance of the Pacific Northwest. —Jeff Gordinier

Featured in: The United States of Thanksgiving

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Yield:2½ cups

  • 10whole allspice berries
  • 10whole cloves
  • 10whole black peppercorns
  • 4cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • cups Oregon pinot noir
  • 1cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1cup clover or wildflower honey
  • 1cup fresh orange juice
  • 6strips orange zest, about 1 inch by 3 inches, removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 2(4-inch) sprigs rosemary
  • 1small cinnamon stick
  • 1vanilla pod

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (5 servings)

756 calories; 2 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 0 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 166 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams dietary fiber; 107 grams sugars; 13 grams protein; 182 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Cranberry Sauce With Pinot Noir Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Combine allspice, cloves and peppercorns in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and pulse until finely ground.

  2. Step


    In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, wine, brown sugar, honey, orange juice, orange zest, rosemary, cinnamon stick and ground spices.

  3. Step


    With the tip of a paring knife, split vanilla pod lengthwise. Use the back of the knife to scrape seeds from pod. Add seeds and pod to pot.

  4. Step


    Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring often, until cranberries have burst and liquid thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and discard zest, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon stick and vanilla pod. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool.



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Cooking Notes

Lisa Middlebrook

For those that don't have whole spices: We ground up 10 peppercorns, it resulted in 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Since the recipe calls for equal parts, we added 1/4 teaspoon of ground clove & 1/4 tsp ground allspice because that's what we had on hand. Used vanilla pod & cinnamon stick. It tastes AMAZING!!!


Make ahead; flavor improves with time.

Alyson Hardin

If you want the sauce to "gel" more, I think you could perhaps add 2 quarters of an apple (the "whole" quarters seeded and stemmed) and depending on how long you cook still be able to fish them out. The pectin in the apple will make the sauce "gel" without affecting the otherwise intense flavor. Even 1 quarter would work.

Karen L Davis

If it were possible to give something 10 stars, every one at our table this past Christmas would have done so. All agreed this is the best cranberry sauce we've ever tasted by a factor of 10.

Alan C Brownmd

Just came across this. I have been making cranberry orange relish from the old NY Times cookbook (Craig Clairborne - page 496) for at least 40 years. Last year, this recipe caught my eye and I made it. I was disappointed in the flavor that the wine imparted to the dish. I guess I like sweetness. Yesterday I made my old standard and will not be wavering for the rest of my days.


This is a terrific cranberry sauce, good for folks who cry out (as my Dad does) "It's too TART!" Definitely moves toward the more chutney-esque flavor with the warmth of the spices and wine (not the texture). If it doesn't gel the way you'd like it too, you can warm it up a tad, toss in a bit of cornstarch or kuzu, and rechill. I used all pre-ground spices, I suspect the difference is negligible.


Pomegranate juice? Apple cider?


This is totally incredible! But as some other folks said, too much liquid. Last time I made it I cut back on the liquid a little bit and removed the cranberries when they were done and boiled down the liquid to what amount looked about right (to me). That also concentrated the flavor.


guests raved and raved over this cranberry sauce! it goes amazing with green bean casserole and turkey of course. I halved the sugar because I have no sweet tooth. The rosemary was the strongest herb/spice for me and I really enjoyed it. Would happily make this again. For thicker sauce, just simmer it longer.

Kelli from Oregon

I NEVER liked cranberry sauce growing up. To be fair, I was a 90s kid and my mother made it with cranberries out of a can. I started making this three years ago because I needed something to bring to a potluck Thanksgiving and I’ve always admired Jen Lewis’ recipes. So I gave it a shot! Holy mackerel! I’m a convert. Everyone raves about it (except for my random friend who actually likes canned cranberries because nostalgia is a tempting mistress). She thought it was good, too, though. 10/10

Shannon C.

Truly the best cranberry sauce, ever. I've now made this for four years, and both sides of my family consistently ask every Thanksgiving if I'm making it again. As a standalone, a sandwich condiment, cheesecake topping, etc. You just cannot go wrong.


Very sweet, and did not fully gel. It's a saucy sauce. Next time, I'll increase the cranberries.


This was an exceptional recipe. I doubled it but was a touch short on the wine. If it looks too soupy, don’t worry, it will gel into a lovely sauce that has more movement than a typical cranberry sauce. Will make again next year!


Made this with all the spices, vanilla pod and zest but used about half a cup of dark brown sugar, 3/4 cup orange juice, 1 cup Pinot noir, no honey at all. Quite tart this way but fully agree the spice profile and wine combo is next level. I did cook it down a bit longer and threw in a couple of chunks of apple as recommended for texture. Also a convert to Pinot over a heavier red or port, it adds flavor but doesn’t overwhelm the cran.

New chef

We all agreed this was the best cranberry sauce we’ve ever had. Very rich flavors. So fantastic. I made it 3 days in advance so maybe that’s why I didn’t have the runny issue others have mentioned. I made it exactly as written, using fresh squeezed OJ and fresh grinding the spices. Truly a special treat.


Holy moly this is amazing. I halved the recipe. I ground the whole spices with a coffee grinder followed by a mortar and pestle. Great jammy consistency after 30 min and sublime flavor. Now I’m sorry I only have enough to fill a 16oz container.


This recipe delivers on taste and depth of flavor. A couple of review have notes it's runny and it does not thicken up. The prep recommends 15 minutes of sauteing, but it's more like an hour at a medium simmer. I made mine with fresh cranberries and i let it simmer for as long as it needed to thicken up and it eventually did. The flavor is out of this world--just give it time.


I have to use this recipe as the base for mulled wine in the future. This tastes amazing and I am just midway thru cooking.


Very unhappy outcome with a lot of work and expensive ingredients. The spice was overpowering. I thought it might be too sweet with a cup each of brown sugar and honey. but that was not the problem. It was the spice. Also, as others found, it is too liquid. A slotted spoon was a solution to that problem but it remains to be seen if the concoction gets eaten. I will serve two cranberry sauces on Thanksgiving and we will vote. At least I didn't waste my high-end Oregon Pinot Noir.


Edie’s comment about too much liquid is spot-on. Otherwise delicious but will up cranberries and decrease liquid next time!

Kim A

Thank you to everyone who warned about the possibility of not jelling. I used 12 oz of fresh cranberries 1/2 cup of Pinot and 1/4 cup Grand Marnier and 1/4 cup of orange juice. I added one cup brown sugar and left out the honey. The sauce is delicious and setting up beautifully.


This is a totally wonderful use of cranberries. Great taste, good balance of flavors. However, you knew there had to be one, the sauce did not 'set up' and was quite runny, even after 24 hours in the frig. Solution: Reheat and add one teaspoon of pectin. And I will try again.P.S. I reached out to NYT Cooking about the 'set up' fail. In addition to taking too long to respond, there were no suggestions for a fix. The pectin was my idea, which, to their credit, agent said might work.

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Cranberry Sauce With Pinot Noir Recipe (2024)
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