Craving Cranberries? Try These 44 Not-so-Basic Recipes That Use Fresh and Dried Berries This Holiday Season

It’s that time of year! We’re getting excited for the chance to brighten up holiday menus with any number of creative cranberry recipes. These pretty, deep red berries are loaded with tart, juicy flavor, making them the perfect foil on your Thanksgiving table (all that rich gravy!) and at Christmas too. Cranberry recipes are often a home cook’s go-to when it comes to appetizers, like a cheese ball coated in dried cranberries, and festive cocktails, such as cranberry gin and tonics made with cranberry simple syrup. To get your holiday menus in order, stock up on bags of fresh berries, which freeze beautifully for weeks, and dried ones, too, so you’re ready to bake when the season starts.

Related: Ready For Thanksgiving? Here’s How Many Bags of Cranberries You’ll Need

Cute cranberry ideas for holiday drinks

When it comes to cranberry recipes, most folks think of cranberry sauce or cranberry walnut pie when they spot a bag of fresh cranberries. Or breakfast granola springs to mind when dried ones are in the pantry. But a whole world of other creative uses for cranberries exists beyond these common go-tos. For example, cranberries can (and should!) pop up on your home bar since these gorgeous orbs are delightful when spied in a cocktail glass and they stain drinks with a lovely ruby shade that’s the epitome of holiday cheer.

You could consider muddling a few cranberries at the bottom of your mixing glass when making a Manhattan (add liquor and strain as usual). Or float a few cranberries on top of a glass of Prosecco or in a kir royale. And cranberry juice is ideal in a Christmas punch, along with an ice mold in the center of the bowl that contains frozen cranberries and orange slices.

Related: 70 Classic Thanksgiving Recipes That’ll Cover Your Whole Menu

Cranberry recipes that use dried berries

Dried cranberries may be an afterthought when you’re deciding on which cranberry recipes to try this year. But remember, these rosy nuggets can do anything a raisin can—and maybe even better. Mix dried berries into your morning oatmeal or yogurt, or top a salad with cranberries, especially one made with baby spinach, sliced red pepper, walnut pieces and feta. Dried cranberries also add oomph to basic white rice (mix a handful in toward the end of the cooking time so they plump up a bit, along with toasted pine nuts and lemon zest). And don’t forget to use dried cranberries in every kind of sweet this holiday season, from pies, muffins and quick bread to Christmas cookies made with white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Related: Make it Ahead! Here are 21 Thanksgiving Recipes to Prep the Night Before

Thanksgiving and Christmas menu inspiration

Creating a holiday menu can be tricky since you don’t want to repeat what you served last year and you need to consider certain food preferences and allergies. And then if you have a lot of kids coming to your house, you’ll want to make dishes that appeal to young palates too. To help you get ready, start with your table setting. If you arrange your tablescape a day or two in advance, you’ll feel more prepared. Next, your holiday bird, which is a very common centerpiece at Christmas as well as Thanksgiving. Side dishes are a big deal on both of these holidays as you need at least four or five if you’ve invited a sizable crowd. Lastly, the best part—dessert. These Christmas desserts and Thanksgiving sweets will please everyone at your table.

Best Recipes with Fresh and Dried Cranberries

Cranberries are vibrantly red, a little tangy, a little sweet—and very versatile. They give both sweet and savory dishes a pop of red that instantly ups their festive feel, and they look so pretty on a Thanksgiving or Christmas table. Each preparation—raw, candied, or cooked—brings a new flavor profile. Make any one of these recipes featuring cranberries to liven up your holiday menus.

<p>Danae Halliday</p>

Danae Halliday

<p>Clare Barboza/Bonnie Matthews</p>

Clare Barboza/Bonnie Matthews

<p>Photo by Lauren Volo</p>

Photo by Lauren Volo



<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Pam Beth;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Pam Beth</a></p>
<p>Alison Ashton</p>

Alison Ashton

<p>Photo by: Getty</p>

Photo by: Getty

<p>Alison Ashton</p>

Alison Ashton





<p>Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn</p>

Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

<p>Mark Boughton Photography/Styling by Teresa Blackburn; Cindy Ord/Getty Images for George Foreman and BLACK+DECKER</p>

Mark Boughton Photography/Styling by Teresa Blackburn; Cindy Ord/Getty Images for George Foreman and BLACK+DECKER



<p>Photo by: Andrew McCaul</p>

Photo by: Andrew McCaul

<p>Photo courtesy of Puesto</p>

Photo courtesy of Puesto

<p>Photo by: Steven Mark Needham</p>

Photo by: Steven Mark Needham



<p>Jon Ashton</p>

Jon Ashton

<p>Photo: Getty Images</p>

Photo: Getty Images



<p>Everyday Mom's Meals</p>

Everyday Mom's Meals

<p>Photo by Nate Bregoli</p>

Photo by Nate Bregoli

<p>Alison Ashton</p>

Alison Ashton

<p>Callie Blount</p>

Callie Blount



<p>Alison Ashton</p>

Alison Ashton

<p>Photo by Mark Boughton / Styling by Teresa Blackburn</p>

Photo by Mark Boughton / Styling by Teresa Blackburn

<p>A Virtual Vegan</p>

A Virtual Vegan

<p>Photo by: via Flickr</p>

Photo by: via Flickr

<p>Elysa Wietala</p>

Elysa Wietala

<p>Mark Weinberg</p>

Mark Weinberg

<p>Andrew Purcell for Dash; Food styling, Carrie Purcell; Prop styling, Stephanie Hanes</p>

Andrew Purcell for Dash; Food styling, Carrie Purcell; Prop styling, Stephanie Hanes



<p>Photo by: Veer</p>

Photo by: Veer

<p>Photo by: Veer</p>

Photo by: Veer

<p>Krista Marshall</p>

Krista Marshall

<p>Photo by: Getty</p>

Photo by: Getty

<p>Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen</p>

Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen

<p>Teresa Blackburn</p>

Teresa Blackburn

<p>Kalisha Blair</p>

Kalisha Blair

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