Red Wine Cranberry Sauce With Honey Recipe (2024)

By Melissa Clark

Red Wine Cranberry Sauce With Honey Recipe (1)

Total Time
40 minutes, plus chilling
Read community notes

What does a chef in Napa Valley do to jazz up her cranberry sauce? Add wine, of course. This recipe was inspired by Cindy Pawlcyn, the Napa Valley chef and cookbook author, and includes smashed fresh ginger for extra verve. It’s more tart than most cranberry sauce recipes, so if you like yours sweeter, feel free to add more sugar or a little more honey.

Featured in: Class Up Your Cranberry Sauce

Learn: Melissa Clark’s Thanksgiving

  • or to save this recipe.

  • Subscriber benefit: give recipes to anyone

    As a subscriber, you have

    10 gift recipes to give each month. Anyone can view them - even nonsubscribers.

    Learn more.


  • Print Options

    Include recipe photo



Yield:10 to 12 servings

  • 2(12-ounce) packages fresh cranberries (6 cups)
  • cups dark brown sugar
  • 1cup dry red wine
  • 3tablespoons honey
  • 4(¼-inch-thick) slices fresh gingerroot, smashed
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ½teaspoon black pepper

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (12 servings)

139 calories; 0 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 0 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 32 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 27 grams sugars; 0 grams protein; 18 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.

Powered by

Red Wine Cranberry Sauce With Honey Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the cranberries, sugar, red wine, ½ cup water, honey, ginger and salt. Simmer gently until most of the cranberries have popped and the sauce is thick and syrupy, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the black pepper. Chill thoroughly before serving.



out of 5


user ratings

Your rating

or to rate this recipe.

Have you cooked this?

or to mark this recipe as cooked.

Private Notes

Leave a Private Note on this recipe and see it here.

Cooking Notes


Excellent base. Modified using 2 cups water, 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon, 3 tablespoons honey plus 4 tablespoons granulated sugar. Added dry spices: ginger and cloves, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, zest of one lemon, lemon peel and orange peel.

Mari Chollet

I love this sauce, but I didn't smash the ginger. I left the full slices and took it out after the sauce was ready. The ginger flavor is there but without the fibers. Great sauce!

M. B. Greene

I've made a similar cranberry sauce with red wine but I use candied ginger instead of regular ginger and add some small pieces of peeled bartlett pear.

J Andrew McTyre

Very nice. Tried it with Sherry and was even more delighted.


This will be the third year I'll be making this recipe for Thanksgiving (I also make this for Christmas dinner as well). Everyone raves about it and it's usually gone by the end of the dinner. For all of you beginner cooks out there, this is a fool-proof recipe that will be sure to impress! Thanks Melissa!


Recipe is even better with grated orange rind and Grand Marnier! (leave out the red wine)


Can this be made with good results using less sugar? 1 3/4 cups seems like an awful lot of sugar!


Fresh and powdered ginger behave very differently, especially in cooking rather than baking. Powdered will be much stronger and more harsh, especially since the ginger slices are removed here and you don't want the ginger to overwhelm. You could add just a pinch of powdered ginger, or maybe try a different spice: a whole cinnamon stick or a few whole star anise if you have them?

Stephen F

Some recipe directions can be skimmed and modified on the fly. Others can't. This falls in the latter category. Be sure to cook the cranberries long enough for almost all (preferably all) of them to pop. You won't get the texture and sweetness you want if you don't release the pectin in the berries.


This was delicious, exactly what I was looking for, and very easy. I did use less sugar, 1 cup where it says 1.75, and it was just right for me. As for the wine, I used a $10 Rioja which was a nice flavor profile match. In a second batch I also added in 1/3 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice. Still a thick cranberry sauce; I feel like there are no wrong decisions with this forgiving recipe.


I've made a similar cranberry sauce with red wine but I use candied ginger instead of regular ginger and add some small pieces of peeled bartlett pear.

Bill McGrath

I have made a variant of this for years. I skip the water, ginger, and pepper, and add some lemon juice, lemon zest, and orange marmalade instead. A little experimentation is needed to strike an acid balance that you like, but it's forgiving and oh, so yummy. I'm thinking of trying a version in my Instant Pot, maybe with a touch of tamarind paste.

naomi dagen bloom

Simple sauce used with leftover pork.


Not sweet enough? It has 1 3/4 cup of brown sugar. And honey. Humm, seems pretty sweet to me. Does anyone who made this think it was on the tart side?


This is an easy recipe that works so well. I had people who didn't care for cranberry sauce absolutely enjoy this.


I haaaaaaaaaaate cranberry sauce. And loved this recipe. I think because it is more tart than most others, and I tend to be a bit more on the tart side. heh.


Terrific! Used preserved ginger.


Fabulous just as is. It serves more than two people. For my family, about 8.


Add zest of one orange.Used Pinot noir.

Janina O'Brien

I halved the recipe and added a peeled and sectioned clementine. I also did not smash the ginger, but the flavor seems to have made it out just fine. I love what the wine does with the cranberry. This is my favorite cranberry relish, ever.

Katherine Stevens

I made this today, without changes or substitutions. We all loved it—delicious and a welcome improvement over our traditional too-sweet cranberries. Thank you, Melissa Clark!


Added ground cloves, because I like spicy cranberry sauce. Delicious. Adding this to my standard Thanksgiving menu.


Excellent recipe. I didn’t have ginger on hand but after reading some comments from others who made this, thanks to MB Green noting use of candied ginger which I happened to have. I used that and added additional honey at the end. Really nice sauce and so easy to make.


Add in orange peel, cinnamon stick and sliced ginger root (not crushed).

Karma M

Reduced sugar to one cup, packed and 1/4 cup avocado honey, which is dark and rich. I added a fresh thyme bouquet garni and used only French Bordeaux blend of merlot, cabernet and cabernet franc. Very pleased with the results! Will add some finely grated orange zest before serving.

Carrie Blanche

Based on others' comments I opted to cut the sugar in half, which still made my sauce sweet. To the ingredients, I added the zest of an orange, giving my sauce a deep tart aspect. So simple and so heavenly!


I substituted candied ginger


Can i make it 2 days ahead and refrigerate it till thanksgiving day?




Yes, it gets even better with time, the flavors really come together.


Actually, I meant to say, cut the sugar in half...


Far too much sugar! I would cut the sugar to half cup.


that's to bad

Private notes are only visible to you.

Red Wine Cranberry Sauce With Honey Recipe (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lidia Grady

Last Updated:

Views: 5724

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lidia Grady

Birthday: 1992-01-22

Address: Suite 493 356 Dale Fall, New Wanda, RI 52485

Phone: +29914464387516

Job: Customer Engineer

Hobby: Cryptography, Writing, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Calligraphy, Web surfing, Ghost hunting

Introduction: My name is Lidia Grady, I am a thankful, fine, glamorous, lucky, lively, pleasant, shiny person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.