Cranberry Sauce

5 Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce

November 26, 2014

This article is brought to you by our friends at Electrolux as part of an ongoing series focusing on seasonal ingredients. This month, we're talking cranberries.

Today: Don't let your leftover cranberry sauce go to waste.

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When the day after Thanksgiving rolls around, an all-too-familar scene unfolds: We stare into our refrigerators, overwhelmed by the copious amount of leftovers. Especially the large tupperware jam-packed with cranberry sauce. So sweet, so delicious, yet so much of it -- and not a whole lot of ways to use it. But if you think of your cranberry sauce like you do your jams and compotes, you'll realize that it can do a lot in your kitchen, without giving you scary turkey flashbacks.

Whether it's in the form of a can or a sweet spoonable toppinghere are 5 ways to use up your leftover cranberry sauce:

1. Eat it for breakfast
Although cranberries are tart by nature, cranberry sauce is usually quite sweet. This means it's awesome when paired with something tangy. For an easy breakfast, try a making parfait by layering extra sauce with some yogurt and granola, or nuts. In this case, the sauce acts as a great replacement for -- or complement to -- fresh fruit. And if you have leftover whipped cream (you just ate pie, after all), stir it in and call it a fool

More: Making homemade yogurt is a breeze -- especially with a little friendly help

2. Swirl it
Take a pint of ice cream and scoop half of it into a baking pan or tupperware. Smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon, and then proceed to wildly plop down mounds of sauce, creating a Pollock-esque piece of art. Top with the remaining ice cream -- no need to worry about covering it all. Swirl the layers together with a knife to create a marble effect. If you happen to have extra pie on hand, you'd be smart to serve this on top of it.

3. Smush it
Here's the best alternative to your leftover turkey sandwich: A grilled cheese made with sharp cheddar and sweet cranberry sauce, sandwiched between two pieces of crusty, crunchy, buttery bread. 

For a twist on the classic peanut butter and jelly, try swapping out the standard grape or strawberry jam for some sauce. Use almond butter or add a few sliced bananas to really kick it up.

If you want to stick to the classic day-after-Thanksgiving tradition, make yourself a leftover sandwich. Start with two slices of bread -- think challah, rye, or even cornbread -- give one side a good smear of sauce, and pile on the leftovers. Turkey, potatoes, gravy, brussels sprouts -- leave no leftover behind.

4. Use it as a garnish -- on everything.
The post Thanksgiving breakfast is almost every bit as important as the holiday meal itself. For that reason, we highly recommend using cranberry sauce as a compote on fruit-friendly french toast and pancakes, or spreading it thick on a piece of maple cinnamon toast. If your sauce has thickened overnight, simmer it with orange juce, or another liquid of your choosing, until it's thin enough to drizzle.

If you're looking for something a little more savory, make some latkes and swap in cranberry sauce for the traditional applesauce. Or turn it into a glaze for a meaty main dish -- slow-roasted duck and pork tenderloin are both great options. Add a dash of vinegar to balance out the sweetness, or some red wine to bring out the full, fruity flavors. Sprinkle on the zest of an orange and a pinch of thyme (or mint), and you're all set. 

5. Stuff it
Cranberry sauce works wonders in sufganiyot, or jelly-filled doughnuts. If you're intimidated by frying, consider this cake, or these muffins, filled with a tablespoon of sauce pre-baking. Or just go for a classic pound cake -- topped with cranberry sauce and whipped cream, of course. 

What do you do with leftover cranberry sauce? Share your most creative concepts in the comments!

This article was brought to you by Electrolux, who's all about great taste and the appliances to help you make beautiful meals in your own kitchen. Learn more here.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Christina LaVecchia
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Kate Snider

Written by: Kate Snider


Christina L. December 13, 2016
I just swirled some into a coffee cake with cinnamon streusel—delicious!
EL January 7, 2016
Any ideas for greens with cranberry sauce? I tried lettuce on one of my sandwiches and they didn't really blend, but chard or spinach maybe?
Author Comment
Kate S. January 8, 2016
I'd go with a green that has a little bite to it, like arugula/radicchio, or one with some body, like kale/swiss chard. Seems like any would work well on a sandwich (raw or cooked), or tossed with a cranberry sauce vinaigrette. Good luck!
Windischgirl November 26, 2015
I can eat cranberry sauce right out of the container. But since our Thanksgiving was shy on desserts, I will be making my Cranberry Crumble bars this weekend,
Zensister November 27, 2014
I like it with chèvre.
Jessica November 26, 2014
I love this article!! Grilled cheese?! C'mon, that's just devilishly brilliant. Thanks for the cranberry wisdoms.
AntoniaJames November 26, 2014
I'm all in on the grilled cheese. Seriously. (Off now to hide some Manchego and boule slices for this very purpose.) Happy Thanksgiving! ;o)
Winifred R. November 26, 2014
Ah, thought those last ones were whoopie pies. Come to think of it, cranberry sauce as a thin layer on each cake before the whipped filling for vanilla whoopie pies, or stirred into the whipped filling would be darned yummy.
AntoniaJames November 26, 2014
Well, this probably doesn't qualify as "creative," but frankly, my cranberry sauce - made with bay leaves and no spices or zest -- is good enough to eat right out of the jar.

I also stir it into my "Fridge Forage Porridge" . (Pumpkin butter also works well for that.)

Happy Thanksgiving! ;o)