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This is not just another cranberry sauce recipe. With a spritzy and modern twist on classic cranberry sauce, this Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce will surely be a hit around your Thanksgiving table! Made with beloved Aperol liqueur and bubbly Italian prosecco, its tart yet sweet flavors are well-balanced in a decidedly adult way. Keep reading for more about this new holiday classic.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce is one of the easiest dishes to make for your holiday dinner, and it is absolutely worth the effort! I generally make at least two versions of it every year–a more traditional Cranberry Sauce with Orange and a second, more innovative variety. One type for Thanksgiving just doesn’t seem like enough for me! (Check out these other fun versions of the holiday staple: Cranberry Apple Sauce with Marsala, Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce, Nutty Cranberry Sauce with Cognac, and Raw Cranberry Pomegranate Relish.)
This Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce recipe definitely fits the bill for the more “innovative” version of the classic. In fact, I like to think of it as an Italian aperitivo in cranberry sauce form. Made with beloved Aperol liqueur and bubbly Italian prosecco, its tart yet sweet flavors are well-balanced in a decidedly adult way. I personally love how nicely its citrus flavors complement rich, dark turkey meat–perfect for The Big Meal!
This Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce will be a new favorite on your holiday menu! And, homemade cranberry sauce is, quite honestly, leaps-and-bounds better than the canned stuff. If you have never made it from scratch before, I hope that this recipe will inspire you to try your hand at it!
A Cinch To Make . . .
This is an incredibly easy and foolproof recipe. In fact, cranberry sauce, in general, is one of the easiest holiday dishes to make, so volunteer to bring it to your next Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner if you can! Also, it can be made up to one week in advance and held in the refrigerator, so helps to take pressure off the hustle-and-bustle of the big day. All you really need to do to make this recipe is combine the ingredients, simmer, and let it thicken. Done and done!
Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce is not only beautifully sweet and tart, but it will surely win over ALL the canned cranberry sauce fans around your table! Plus, all recipes should have a dash of la cucina Italiana in them, in my humble opinion. Just sayin’ . . .
Skip the canned cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving and make this Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce right in your kitchen! Enjoy!
To make this Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce recipe, we will be using the following:
- Fresh Cranberries: Frozen can be substituted!
- Aperol and Prosecco: The Aperol provides the signature flavor in this dish–it is a must add! Both the Aperol and prosecco add sweetness to offset the cranberry’s tartness, as well as the liquid needed to turn the cranberries into a sauce.
- Orange Juice: Adds lots of citrus flavor and sweetness, as well as the necessary liquid to transform the cranberries into a sauce.
- Orange Zest: Fortifies the orange flavor and adds lots of brightness to the overall dish.
- Cane Sugar: Cranberries are very tart! The sweetness from the sugar offsets this tartness and makes the cranberries more enjoyable. I tend to not over-sweeten my cranberry sauce. Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar up or down based on your individual preference.
A complete and detailed list of ingredients with amounts and instructions is included in the recipe below.
Step-By-Step, Pro-Tips included!
Here are the main steps for how to make Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce:
- Gather and prep all ingredients. Then, combine orange juice, prosecco, Aperol and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk together. Once the sugar has dissolved, stir in the cranberries.
- Simmer mixture for about 5 minutes, then start “popping” the cranberries by mashing them lightly with a fork or potato masher, leaving the sauce somewhat chunky (based on your desired consistency) and continue to simmer for another 3-5 minutes. (Simmer less time for a chunkier sauce and more time for a smoother sauce.)
- Remove from heat, stir in the orange zest & cool. Bring the cranberry sauce to room temperature before serving. That’s it!
- PRO-TIP: Make the cranberry sauce in advance of the big day, so there is less to do amidst all the hustle and bustle! I suggest up to one week in advance.
- PRO-TIP: Top the cranberry sauce in the serving bowl with some long strands of orange zest for an extra special presentation.
Recipe Variations for Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce
Here are a few ideas for variations on this Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce recipe:
- Change the Sweetener: For the most part, you can substitute your favorite sweetener for the cane sugar in this recipe, be it brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut sugar, agave, cane sugar or something else.
- Use Frozen Cranberries: When fresh cranberries are not an option, frozen can be substituted without a problem!
What to Serve With Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce
Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce is designed to pair perfectly with your Whole Thanksgiving Turkey, Baked Ham and all the trimmings.
In addition, there are lots of great ways to serve this Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce outside of the big holiday meal. Here are a few ideas:
- As a sandwich spread–with turkey the day after Thanksgiving and all year-round!
- Stir some into mayonnaise for a creamy sandwich condiment.
- Pair it with a variety of soft and hard cheeses on a cheese board at your next get-together.
- Make it the “J” in your next PB&J–why not???
Kitchen Tools & Cookware for Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce
To make this Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce recipe, you will need the following:
- Cutting board with non-slip mat underneath (I use shelf liner)
- Sharp chef’s knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Multiple bowls to hold prep
- Microplane zester
- Potato masher
- Wooden and/or silicon spoon
- 10″+ sauté pan or skillet
- Dutch oven
- Large serving bowl and serving utensils
More Great Recipes to Try
If you’ve tried this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, please let me know how it went in the comments below — I love hearing from you!
Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce
- Zest and juice from 2 oranges (about 1 cup juice and 1 ½ Tbsp zest)
- 3/4 cup prosecco (or your favorite sparkling wine)
- 1/2 cup Aperol
- 1 1/3 cup cane sugar
- 24 ounces cranberries, rinsed
- Gather and prep all ingredients according to specifications above.
- Combine the orange juice, prosecco, Aperol and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir or whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
- Stir in the cranberries and bring mixture up to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.
- After about 7 minutes, start “popping” the cranberries by mashing them lightly with a fork or potato masher, leaving the sauce somewhat chunky (based on your desired consistency) and continue to simmer for another 5 to 6 minutes. (Simmer less time for a chunkier sauce and more time for a smoother sauce.)
- Remove pan from heat, stir in the orange zest and cool.
- Bring the cranberry sauce to room temperature before serving. Buon Appetito!
- Campari can be used in place of Aperol, but it is a bit stronger or more intensely-flavored, so reduce the amount slightly.
- Garnishing Suggestion: Just before serving, top the cranberry sauce with some additional orange zest or orange peel.
- Make the Cranberry Sauce in advance of the big day, so there is less to do amidst all the hustle and bustle! I suggest up to one week in advance.
- Leftover Cranberry Sauce lasts for some time in the fridge and freezer! Store it in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.