5 Ingredients or Fewer

Canal House's Cranberry-Port Gelée

November 13, 2012
14 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 2 cups
Author Notes

A DIY cranberry jelly for anyone who loves the stuff in the can (and even the ones who don't). Thanks to natural pectin in the cranberries, the gelée sets up all on its own, without gelatin or agar. Adapted very slightly from Canal House Cooks Every Day (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012) —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup port (or red wine or Madeira)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries (about 4 cups -- frozen can be substituted)
  1. Put the port, sugar, juniper berries, and peppercorns into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the cranberries burst and are very soft, about 10 minutes more.
  3. Strain the sauce into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing the solids through the screen with a rubber spatula. Stir the thin and thick portions of the strained gelée together.
  4. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl. (A funnel or liquid measuring cup with a spout can be useful for transferring without splashing the sides.)
  5. Cover and refrigerate. It will firm up within a few hours, or can be made several days ahead.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Sara DePasquale
    Sara DePasquale
  • enbe
  • DianeT
  • Nancy W
    Nancy W
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

88 Reviews

Taylor S. November 23, 2023
AMAZING! I think I'm ruined for other cranberry dishes now. I followed the recipe to a T and it turned out beautifully. I can see experimenting with other wines/spices/herbs would be fun in the future... This was an excellent addition to my Thanksgiving spread this year! And it is especially delicious on leftover bread smothered with brie.
Debbie November 24, 2022
This is the best cranberry gelee we have ever had!!! We did have to modify it for the ingredients we had on hand as we decided to make it last minute. We used a simple red blend wine. And we didn't have juniper berries so we used cardamom pods, pink peppercorns, a Cinnamon stick and a bay leaf! I know it's different than yours, but you were the inspiration! Thanks! It set SO WELL and is delicious!
Licia November 26, 2021
Made this, once again (10 years in a row), and I am amazed, year after year, how people respond to this dish. Intense flavors, great texture, amazing taste... Spread it over cheese, in sandwiches, over mashed potatoes, on your charcuterie board... This recipe is so good that it deserves its place all year long and not just at Thanksgiving. Can also be made with frozen cranberries so pack them up in your freezer and make this a staple at your table.
Sara D. November 26, 2021
I've always been kinda "meh" about homemade cranberry sauce. But this was a revelation. I never want to eat any other kind cranberry sauce ever again. I had no problems and got a nice firm set. I did cook it much longer than indicated until all cranberries are popped and collapsed. I was also VERY aggressive about straining the results, pushing as much pulp through as possible. Mine was about the consistency of applesauce when I poured into jars.
neighome December 1, 2020
I've made this successfully numerous times. I cook 10 mins, blend with high speed blender, then pass it through a fine mesh sieve. This year, in an attempt to reduce the carb count at the table, I made it with Classic Lakanto sugar substitute (combination of erythritol and monkfruit.) It dissolved without difficulty and gelled up as usual. The tastes is slightly different, but still good.
jjr November 25, 2020
Made this today and it turned out perfectly. Following tips from reviewers, I added one ounce more cranberries and cooked the sugar, port, peppers and juniper berries for 5 minutes longer. The sauce was thickening by the end of cooking. I used a food mill with finest screen and it could not have been easier. Used Trader Joe's Ruby Port. Thanks for all the tips.
arcane54 November 18, 2018
I think I solved the set issue. The first time I made this (last year) it was perfect! Beautiful color, smoky flavor, set up like it came right out of the can!... a real winner. This year, it did not set. I made a batch yesterday and this morning it was the consistency of cold honey... though still delicious. I rewarmed the sauce and added 1 tablespoon of gelatin that I had bloomed in about 1/4 water. Happy to report that it is on its way to being jellied! It might not be as firm as the canned stuff, but it is holding its shape.
arcane54 November 18, 2018
Also, anyone know why there would be such varying results? I wonder if more mature berries have less pectin? Mine are from the Oregon coast -Bandon and only have to travel 100 miles to our stores. They did seem pretty ripe to me where I’ve had a larger percentage of young, less ripe berries in the past.
enbe November 17, 2018
Looking this recipe up for Thanksgiving because it's been my go-to for the past few years. Absolutely delicious.
arcane54 November 17, 2018
Mine too! This year I found a pretty antique gelatin mold to use (although putting it in a lightly oiled soup can has been my practice). Has anyone tried it with pomegranate juice or other deep, dark juice instead of the wine/port? I occasionally cook for friends who can’t have any alcohol (even the supposedly “cooked out” kind).
Kamilah November 17, 2018
I've made this for Thanksgiving as long as the recipe has been in print - delicious. I've made it as written, but also with any red wine I have around the house and extra aromatics like a strip of orange peel, star anise, slice of ginger, etc. Thinking of lime and cardamom this time... Always comes out divine.
lynx60489 November 9, 2018
Any thoughts on making this with erythritol (fake sugar)? I think the taste would be fine, but do you think it would set as well?
DianeT October 19, 2018
I use a clean 15oz diced-tomato can as a mold - so it has the rings when I unmold it and display standing on a plate. Fold seem to love the rings . . .
Nancy W. November 26, 2019
Me too! People love the old familiar rings!
kaminka November 23, 2017
Have been making it for the fourth year in a raw! Absolutely the best!
cosmiccook November 20, 2017
Just made this again; tasted it somewhat sweet so I added fresh juiced cranberries and some pulp to the mix--came out great! Started jelling almost before I finished putting it thru the food mill. I should have done a final fine sieve step to eliminate some of the tiny pulp residue but that would have reduced my overall amount. Since I use the cutest little cranberry William Sonoma Cranberry mold, needed what I had. For others, if you have extra cranberries, add a little extra to the pot to ensure it will gel! Added some Satsuma juice & peel, ginger slice, star anise and Grains of Paradise to what is already in the recipe.
Robo November 15, 2017
Anyone notice any difference between using Tawny vs Ruby Port in this recipe, or does everyone just use the domestic stuff?
gretch374 November 15, 2017
I usually use Merlot, with great success.
Rob November 14, 2017
I have reviewed the comments and was wondering if there is a community agreement as to what to use for the alcohol? Are most people using the port?
Meaghan A. November 14, 2017
i've used port and Madeira
neighome November 15, 2017
Combination of port and red wine
arcane54 November 17, 2018
This year, mostly red wine with about 30% port.
jennifer November 22, 2016
should this be covered before going in the fridge
Meaghan A. November 22, 2016
I cover it, as suggested in step 5. Enjoy!
asthmagirl November 22, 2016
I cover it with plastic wrap!
pvanhagenlcsw November 20, 2016
Lovely dish. I used a food mill instead of a strainer and it worked perfectly.
cheribarry December 30, 2015
I made this for our Christmas turkey. It was delicious but mine didn't gel up either. I will certainly try it again but go the blender route to see if I can get it to gel.
neighome December 11, 2015
I cooked mine for a full 10 minutes. I found it was gelling even before being removed from the heat. Borrowing the idea from Janet L Davies, I used a high power blender to liquify it, and then ran it through a sieve to remove the ground up spices. I chilled in an bowl with scalloped edges, and then unmolded it for serving. I thought is was terrific, and the star of my table. Will definitely be making this again.
neighome November 17, 2016
Experimenting with adding some heat this year. We'll see how it turns out.