12+ Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Learn how to use leftover cranberry in a variety of everyday ways (like as jam on toast) and in a whole bunch of delicious recipes.

Learn how to use leftover cranberry in a variety of everyday ways (like as jam on toast) and in a whole bunch of delicious recipes.

I bet so many of us have a bowl of plastic-wrap-covered cranberry sauce in the fridge right around now and we’re googling to find out what we can do with it.

We tend to think of Cranberry Sauce as a condiment for turkey and not much else. But actually, with its sweet and tart taste, cranberry sauce can be used in a variety of recipes.

I’m going to share six basic uses for cranberry sauce below. In addition, I have a bunch of recipes to point you to that use cranberry sauce. See, since originally posting about leftover cranberry sauce I got a bit obsessed and started using it in all kinds of things. The list of recipes I’ve made with cranberry sauce is now part of this post too and you’ll find it below with pictures and links. Enjoy!

Here are six simple uses for cranberry sauce, and a video showing how to do it:

1) Pretend it’s jam and spread it on toast. Cranberry sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Store it in a jam jar in the fridge and then pull it out in the mornings to add a festive feel to your toast. It tastes amazing with peanut butter or with cream cheese or on its own.

2) Flavor plain yogurt with cranberry sauce. Simply add cranberry sauce a tablespoon or so at a time to your plain yogurt until you get the intensity of flavor that you’d like.

3) Use it as a warm sauce for sweets. When cranberry sauce is warmed up it’s not as thick as when cold. It then makes a festive and fun sauce for ice cream and cakes.

4) Use it to make pink and pretty whipped cream. Cranberry sauce is a delicious addition to whipped cream. Whip the cream as normal until it forms stiff peaks. Fold some of the whipped cream into the cranberry sauce. Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Use the cranberry whipped cream to top fruitcake and other holiday desserts or use it on hot chocolate.

5) Use it as a glaze for poultry and meats. We know that cranberry sauce goes with turkey. But it also goes with chicken, pork and beef. Try baking chicken breasts or pork chops and then brush with cranberry sauce 5 minutes before they’re done, longer for a more caramelized exterior. You can also use cranberry sauce as a glaze for meatloaf (think turkey meatloaf with cranberry sauce glaze).

6) This is my favorite use for leftover cranberry sauce: Add leftover cranberry sauce to homemade or bottled barbecue sauce. Use it wherever you normally use barbecue sauce to instantly add an autumnal twist to your summer favorites.

Here are a bunch of recipes that use leftover cranberry sauce:

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars


Cranberry Sauce Muffins

If you have leftover cranberry sauce on Black Friday, you have GOT TO try these cranberry sauce muffins.

Cranberry Mustard Pretzel Dip

Cranberry Mustard Sauce

Brie, Pear and Cranberry Pizza Bread

Brie and Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Meatballs

Cranberry Horseradish Pan-Fried Steak


 Cranberry Sauce Smoothie


There are also some really fantastic ideas in the comment section below. Thank you to everyone who has already added their recipe or tip and thank you to advance to anyone else who adds something. I love that the comment section becomes an ongoing growing resource for people who visit this site. You guys are the best!

Oh, and on the off chance that you’ve been reading this and you actually don’t have cranberry sauce in your fridge, here’s my recipe for homemade cranberry orange sauce.

Cranberry Sauce with Orange

It’s ridiculously easy to make and tastes so good. You’ll definitely be wanting to use the leftovers in as many of the above ways as possible.

Christine :-)
Video by Leigh Olson. Article and photos by Christine Pittman.

This post originally appeared in November, 2013 and was revised and republished in October, 2018.
12+ Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce

64 responses to “12+ Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Robyn Hill says:

    There is no such thing as leftover cranberry sauce in our house.  In fact I buy lots of cranberries when they are on sale and freeze them so I can make more batches throughout the year.  It makes an amazing spread on sandwiches to add a little zing, combine it with cream cheese for a spread for tortilla pinwheel wraps or on rackers, add it to savoury pancakes, make it into a lovely sauce for turkey meatballs or meatloaf, add it to baking…..

  2. Cranberry chicken is delicious
    Use a can of cranberry sauce, one envelope dry onion soup mix, and8 oz.. of french dressing. Pour this mixture over chicken pop in 350 degree oven. Delicious over rice.

  3. These are really great ideas! I usually don’t have any cranberry sauce leftover as we pile it on our stuffing at the holidays but I really love the idea of the cranberry sauce on toast!! Thank you!!

  4. Paula B. says:

    I had no idea of the versatility of cranberry sauce. I always cringe when it is left over and usually end up throwing it away. Will definitely try a few of these ideas. Thanks!

  5. Pat says:

    Hi again, thanks for the cranberry bake brie recipe. I will be using it tomorrow night!

  6. Pat says:

    HI, I am getting error messages on your fantastic CRANBERRY-BASIL BAKED BRIE. Made it a couple of times last Christmas and would love to make it again! Sooo delicious and festive

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Sorry about that, Pat. Here’s the instructions.
      3/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (canned or homemade)
      1 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil, plus some whole leaves for garnish
      1 tsp. Concord Foods reconstituted lemon juice
      7 oz wheel of brie

      1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
      2. In a small bowl combine the cranberry sauce, basil and lemon juice.
      3. Put the brie on a baking sheet. Top with the cranberry mixture. Bake until the sides of the brie are starting to bulge outwards (this is the creamy cheese inside the rind aching to ooze out), about 20-25 minutes. Top with a few whole basil leaves as garnish. Serve on the baking sheet warning your guests that it will be hot.

  7. Cheryl says:

    We never have leftovers, but these are great ideas.

  8. Jennifer Phillips says:

    oooo the smoothie looks so tasty

  9. Angelica says:

    Love these ideas! Especially the bars, the muffins, and the smoothie. I normally end up slogging through the leftover cranberry sauce by myself because no one else likes it very much. I’m sure everyone would go bananas for any of these reuses!

  10. Debbie Yoder says:

    I like the idea of using the leftover cranberry sauce on toast!

  11. Deborah Waddell says:

    The ideas are very interesting especially the one with brie.

  12. Dolores Miller says:

    I am going to try to make cranberry/jalapeno jelly with my leftover cranberry sauce. I made it fresh not canned so not sure if it will turn out.

  13. Amanda B. says:

    Great ideas…I love Thanksgiving leftovers!

  14. Rebecca Orr says:

    I literally just eat the cranberry sauce straight from the dish when we have left overs! I never considered putting it in something. And now I am questioning myself why I never thought of it before. I am definitely going to have to try my hand at the cranberry meatballs because they looks juicy and tender! I bet the glaze is sweet but not overpowering.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      There’s so many good uses for it, Rebecca but I don’t blame you for just eating it plain! Sometimes I’ll put a spoonful or two on top of vanilla frozen yogurt!

  15. jackie says:

    I just love anything with cranberries and ginger.

  16. BonJon says:

    Can you tell us what Palmieri is? When I googled it, it just came up as people’s last name. (I was thinking it might be another spelling for palmier.)

  17. Debbie Neville says:

    It’s great in Palmieri with puff pastry and goat cheese. I’ve even mixed in spinach and it’s great. With spinach I like to add nutmeg. Usually mix in pinch of chili flakes or jalapeño minced to give it a kick.
    I’m going to try the smoothie idea.
    Happy Holidays!

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Debbie, I love the palmieri idea. And yes, I think cranberry sauce and goat cheese sound amazing together. Trying that soon. Happy Holidays to you as well!

  18. Diane Strong says:

    I am going to heat it and make cranberry old fashions.

  19. Super easy Pour 2 cups whole cranberry sauce or a can prepared in 8″ or 9″ round baking pan. add pre cooked sausage links in a spiked design so each slice will have a sausage link. Prepare a box of Jiffy cornbread mix and pour over. Bake as directed on box. When finished turn upside down and serve. I make my own cornbread. But this is easier. Great for Christmas brunch. Everyone loves it.

  20. […] all. Then you’ll be sad because you wanted to do something awesome with the leftovers, like one of these 12 uses for leftover cranberry sauce, or this Cranberry-Horseradish Steak, or this Cranberry Basil Baked Brie. I hear yah! Maybe you […]

  21. […] of the most popular posts on my website is about ways to use up leftover cranberry sauce. I figured that if so many people want to know about using up cranberry sauce, there must be […]

  22. […] throw nothing out this year—there are amazing things that you can do with leftovers.  Even the cranberry sauce can be used for various different […]

  23. […] homemade cranberry sauce (but you can use canned! I love cranberry sauce and am always looking for ways to use it), sliced pears and chunks of Brie. It’s quick and easy to make but is a show-stopper. Or a […]

  24. Denise says:

    I’m going to use my leftovers on my waffles!!

  25. It’s great on crostini or crackers with goat cheese.

  26. Natalie says:

    Thanks for the ideas :)

  27. […] out Cook the Story’s other great ideas for cranberry […]

  28. […] To make it, mix together the ingredients in a saucepan. Heat it up to a simmer over high and then cook it over medium-low until the berries have popped and broken down a bit, around 15 minutes. That’s it. Let it cool, refrigerate and then serve it with your turkey. Wait, cranberry sauce isn’t just for turkey! You can do all kinds of things with it. Here’s my list of 12 things to make with cranberry sauce. […]

  29. […] If that bread didn’t catch your fancy, here are 12 more ways to use up cranberry sauce. Get the details at the Cook the Story  […]

  30. Kate says:

    I just loved the whip cream idea. I am surely going to click a selfie with my new cranberry whip cream mustache and post it in my Instagram….how’s that?

  31. […] year I had so much leftover (we had more than one dinner) that I came up with a list of 12 ideas to use leftover cranberry sauce. This year I have something even better: Pan-Fried Steaks with a Cranberry-Horseradish […]

  32. […] smoothie recipe that also uses leftover cranberry sauce. Or check out my list of ideas for what to do with leftover cranberry sauce over here. There are tips, ideas and recipes […]

  33. […] season. If you have leftover cranberry sauce, try out this recipe or have a look at my ideas for what to do with leftover cranberry sauce. There are tips and recipes […]

  34. […] check out these other ideas for what to do with leftover cranberry sauce. There are some easy tips and recipes […]

  35. o sollo says:

    cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries is a delicious flavor for cheese cake. (better than strawberry or cherry cheese cake).

  36. […] 12 Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce (cookthestory.com) […]

  37. I got adventurous a while back, decided to use some of my cranberry relish as a simmer sauce for chicken and it turned out surprisingly well!

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Madeleine, Isn’t it amazing how versatile cranberry sauce is? I think it’s because it’s got both sweet and tang. It then can go into both sweet and savory things and be delicious in them all.

  38. […] 12 Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce – Cook the Story […]

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