Red Wine Cranberry Sauce Recipe

4.67 from 6 votes
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Jazz up your holiday Cranberry Sauce with a homemade cranberry sauce with wine infusion. Add Pinot Noir and a touch of citrus and cinnamon for a head turner! This Red Wine Cranberry Sauce is sweet with a little savory, and a lot of deliciousness.

A bowl of Homemade Red Wine Cranberry Sauce with orange zest on top

Cranberry Sauce is a staple of most Thanksgiving and holiday dinners. And let’s be honest, how sad would a day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich be without some sweet cranberry sauce tucked in the middle of your savory slices of smoked turkey.

Making homemade cranberry sauce is super easy to do, and beats the living daisies off the canned version (I’m serious!). Adding wine as your simmering liquid makes this sauce absolutely drool worthy!

How Are Cranberries Grown?

Cranberries are a fruit that grow on vines. You’ll often hear of or see bogs in commercials. Cranberries do in fact grow in bogs but in very specific regions of the US (and other parts of the world) where glacial deposits created the right growing soil. Those bogs are flooded later in the growing season versus being filled throughout the cranberry lifecycle.

This is important to note because fresh cranberries, when cooked in a recipe, add a fair amount of liquid as they simmer and reduce. This is why a homemade cranberry sauce needs very little additional liquid.

You can read more about the health benefits of this superfood.

How To Make Cranberry Sauce

A slow simmer is key to a good cranberry sauce.

  1. Add fresh cranberries to a saucepan over low to medium-low heat.
  2. Pour the liquid (in this case wine) and additional flavor elements.
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes and then crush the cranberries using a potato masher or a fork.
  4. Continue to simmer an additional 15 minutes over low heat.
  5. Cool and serve.

Chefs Tip: Make the sauce a day or two before your holiday dinner.

Cranberry Sauce in a small cast iron pan

The flavor profile of this dish is slightly sweet, with a touch of cinnamon and citrus. If you wanted a sweeter version then upgrade the sugar to 3/4 cup. Wine adds acidity as well, which is a great reason the sauce can be eaten on its own or to be used in other dishes.

Which Wine to Use for Cranberry Sauce

We’ve tested this recipe with several wines (red and rosé) and it’s excellent with both options. The flavor will just vary based on what you choose.

  • Red Wine: Red wine will give it a deeper and richer flavor. Make sure to use a bright fruity red wine for this. Pinot Noir is the best choice, followed by Zinfandel or Malbec.
  • Rosé Wine: Rosé was surprisingly tasty with this recipe! Rosé will add a brighter and more fruity cranberry sauce. It won’t be as rich or deeply flavored. So if you want a brighter, sweeter, more fruity sauce, go rosé. If you want a deeper and richer sauce, go red. Both are great choices.

Other Uses

This sauce is a great glaze for other foods. Whether as a dollop on steak skewers, or as a pork glaze. Try it with these beef skewers. For more leftovers you can also make a killer appetizer with our cedar planked grilled brie topped with this cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce in a bowl

More Holiday Side Dishes

Get inspired with our full list of holiday recipe ideas or browse some of our favorites.

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Homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest garnish
4.67 from 6 votes

Red Wine Cranberry Sauce Recipe

An easy homemade cranberry sauce recipe infused with wine. A great holiday side dish.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 (12 ounce) package of fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup fruity red wine (we like Pinot Noir. Alternatively you can use rosé wine)
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Heat: In a small sauce pan over a medium low heat add cranberries, wine, sugar, orange juice, zest, and cinnamon. Stir to incorporate.
  • Simmer: Let the sauce come to a simmer while stirring for about 15 minutes. Using a potato masher, crush the cranberries and continue to stir for another 15 minutes on a low heat simmer.
  • Cool: Remove from heat and cool. Can be made two days in advance for a holiday meal.


You can make this up to one week in advance.


Calories: 92kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 13mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 12IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: dinner, Holiday, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 92
Keyword: cranberry sauce, homemade cranberry sauce
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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1 Comment

  1. My family always loved my homemade cranberry relish, but when I tried this recipe with wine it was the BOMB! Best ever, and I would rate 6 star ( above the 5 offered). This is a must recipe! Thank you, vindulge!!♥️