Canal House's Cranberry-Port Gelée

By Genius Recipes
November 13, 2012

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

Makes: 2 cups


  • 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.

More Great Recipes:
Condiment/Spread|Fruit|Serves a Crowd|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Make Ahead|Thanksgiving|Fall|Winter|Christmas|Vegan|Vegetarian|Gluten-Free

Reviews (74) Questions (5)


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 . . .
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 J. November 14, 2017
i've used port and Madeira
neighome November 15, 2017
Combination of port and red wine
jennifer November 22, 2016
should this be covered before going in the fridge
Meaghan J. 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.<br />
Rosie November 23, 2015
Can anyone guess why mine didn't gel? It's been in the fridge for a day. Tastes delicious, though!
asthmagirl November 23, 2015
I put mine in the fridge from the night before the past couple times I made it. Did you make sure to squeeze all the gel out until you cannot stand it anyone and then mix it up best you can? my friend once made it but added water when she cooked them which made that happen before.
asthmagirl November 23, 2015
I would also like to add that I cooked it longer than 10 minutes.<br />
Rosie November 23, 2015
Thanks! I made a second batch, cooked it a bit longer and pressed more of the solids through the sieve. It is considerably thicker already and has only been in the fridge for a couple hours. It's super tasty--worth the mistake.<br />
Claire D. November 23, 2015
Is the alcohol all boiled out? I have a number of recovering alcoholics coming to my Thanksgiving this year and it's okay with them for me to serve number that *tastes* like it may be flavored with alcohol, but anything that has a percentage of alcohol still in it could set them off. Thanks!!
asthmagirl November 23, 2015
I find that the port flavor is subtle. I end up cooking it for close to 20 minutes, so I think cooking it a bit longer than 10 minutes will make it burn off more. Additionally. you don't put much on your plate! I think it would be fine.
Catherine I. November 22, 2015
Answering my own question--the answer is yes, you can unmold it. Mine came out very stiff. I put it through a food mill, as someone suggested. Very pretty.
Grace S. November 22, 2015
I made one batch and added one star anise pod and several whole allspice berries. It is wonderful. Wish I had some slow-roasted boar to put in on. I'm going to try another batch without the anise and allspice, and add a bit of dried orange peel. It's like making grown-up candy!
Aderck November 22, 2015
Just made this and in the fridge for Thanksgiving. But I did lick the bowl and it is the best cranberry anything I've ever tasted. Can't wait till Thursday to eat it with the turkey.
Catherine I. November 17, 2015
Is this stiff enough to be unmolded? And how many days in advance do you think it can be made?
cosmiccook November 2, 2015
I think I'll add some ginger root and start anise pod as well--I do like a flavorful sauce.
Meaghan J. November 30, 2014
LOVED!!!! This was the first year my family left the canned stuff untouched. I also added some crossed chipotle flakes, can't wait to finish the leftovers tonight!
Rhonda35 November 29, 2014
Absolutely delicious! Followed the recipe, except I stirred in bits of orange at the end. Been eating what's left with chicken liver pate - a great flavor combination.
Licia November 26, 2014
This is my third year of making this. It is so amazing and yet the taste is so subtle that many people find it hard to pinpoint exactly what makes it so rich and intense. I absolutely love it and make extra so I can have a lot of leftovers (which doesn't really work because of the competition to take it home!). I end up making batches of it throughout the year and using it for sandwiches (spread instead of mayo/mustard), on Brie crostini, with Brussels sprouts, as jam on toast in the morning... Need I say more? Amazing...