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Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce is a fun and tropical twist on the classic Thanksgiving condiment. If you’re looking for an alternative to the same ol’ cranberry sauce that you have year-after-year on your holiday table, look no further! This whimsical recipe has the defining flavors of beloved cranberry sauce encased in a coconut-ty and pineapple cocktail base. Plus, it has a unique texture! Read on for more.
With so many cranberry sauce recipe options out there, it could be difficult to figure out which to make for the big meal. I am a firm believer in making more than one variety for my holiday dinner–a traditional and classic Cranberry Sauce with Orange and a second, more innovative variety. One type is just not enough for me! (Check out these other fun versions of the holiday staple: Cranberry Apple Sauce with Marsala, Aperol Spritz Cranberry Sauce, Nutty Cranberry Sauce with Cognac, and Raw Cranberry Pomegranate Relish.)
This Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce is a unique twist on the classic. With lots of coconut flavor from shredded coconut and sweetness from pineapple chunks, pineapple juice and rum, this is basically like a Piña Colada cocktail in cranberry sauce form. These familiar flavors pair well with a hearty meats like turkey, ham and pork. And, not only is this recipe well-balanced from a flavor perspective, but it also has great texture from the addition of the pineapple pieces and coconut . . . win-win if you ask me! The pineapple also mutes the deep, cranberry color a bit, offering some visual variety around the holiday table.
Easy To Make!
This is a super easy recipe to make. 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!
If you have never made cranberry sauce from scratch before, I hope that this recipe will inspire you to try your hand at it! Enjoy!
To make this Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce recipe, we will be using the following:
- Fresh Cranberries: Frozen can be substituted!
- Rum: The rum contributes to the signature flavor in this dish–it is a must add! I prefer white rum for this recipe, but dark can be used as well. If you prefer to make a booze-free sauce, just replace the rum with additional pineapple juice and reduce the sugar a bit. Along with the pineapple juice, the rum provides the liquid needed to help turn the cranberries into a sauce.
- Coconut: Shredded coconut gives loads of coconut and tropical flavor to this dish, really channeling its inner piña colada-ness. You can increase or decrease the amount of coconut based on your preference. Shredded coconut seems to work best in this dish as it incorporates well into the overall sauce. Also, use unsweetened coconut, if possible, as it is always best to control the level of sweetness yourself. If you use sweetened coconut in this recipe, just cut back on the sugar a bit.
- Pineapple and Pineapple Juice: Adds sweetness and tropical flavor to the overall dish, as well as the necessary liquid to transform the cranberries into a sauce. Fresh or canned pineapple can be used.
- 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 Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce:
- Gather and prep all ingredients. Then, combine pineapple, rum, pineapple juice and sugar in a skillet over medium heat and stir together. Once the sugar has dissolved, stir in the cranberries and coconut.
- Simmer mixture for a few 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 few minutes. (Simmer less time for a chunkier sauce and more time for a smoother sauce.)
- 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 craziness! I suggest up to one week in advance.
Recipe Variations for Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce
Here are a few ideas for variations on this Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce recipe:
- Change the Sweetener: For the most part, you can substitute your favorite sweetener for the 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 Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce
Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce recipe pairs perfectly with your Whole Thanksgiving Turkey, Baked Ham and all the trimmings.
In addition, there are lots of great ways to serve this Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce recipe 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! It especially goes well on a ham sandwich!
- 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 Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce
To make this Piña Colada 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
- Potato masher
- Wooden and/or silicon spoon
- 10″+ sauté pan or skillet
- Dutch oven
- Large serving bowl and serving utensils
More Holiday Favorites
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!
Piña Colada Cranberry Sauce
- 2 cups small diced pineapple (or 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple, drained)
- 1 cup white rum
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 pound cranberries, rinsed
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (See Note: Use less sugar if sweetened.)
- Gather and prep all ingredients according to specifications above.
- Combine the pineapple, rum, pineapple juice and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir. Simmer lightly for 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the alcohol taste has cooked off.
- Then, stir in the cranberries and coconut and bring the mixture up to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.
- After simmering for 1 to 2 minutes, the cranberries will begin to pop. Begin smashing them with a fork or potato masher to your desired level of chunkiness. Continue to simmer a few more minutes (about 7 to 8 minutes total). Simmer less time for a chunkier sauce and more time for a smoother sauce.
- Remove pan from heat and cool.
- Bring the cranberry sauce to room temperature before serving. Buon Appetito!
- Either fresh or canned pineapple can be used.
- Use unsweetened coconut, if possible, as it is always best to control the level of sweetness yourself. If you use sweetened coconut in this recipe, just cut back on the sugar a bit.
- 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.