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:

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 Stuffing in Muffin Tins

Cranberry Stuffing in Muffin Tins

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.
If you have a bunch of cranberry sauce in the fridge leftover, learn how to use it in a variety of everyday ways (like as jam on toast) and in a whole bunch of delicious recipes. #thanksgiving #sidedish #cranberry #holiday #holidayrecipe

63 Responses to “12+ Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Freeda Parker — February 10, 2020 @ 10:25 am (#)

    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.

    • Christine Pittman — February 11, 2020 @ 10:45 am (#)

      Thanks for the suggestion, Freeda!

  2. Sharon Braswell — December 27, 2019 @ 8:22 pm (#)

    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!!

    • Christine Pittman — December 30, 2019 @ 5:12 pm (#)

      You’re welcome, Sharon! You can always make more just for the leftovers. :)

  3. Paula B. — December 26, 2019 @ 6:38 pm (#)

    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!

    • Christine Pittman — December 30, 2019 @ 4:54 pm (#)

      Don’t throw it away, Paula! Turn it into new treats. :)

  4. Pat — December 21, 2019 @ 9:46 am (#)

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

    • Christine Pittman — December 23, 2019 @ 1:18 pm (#)

      You’re welcome!

  5. Saundra K. Warren — December 17, 2019 @ 8:07 am (#)

    Interesting ideas

    • Christine Pittman — December 17, 2019 @ 10:25 am (#)

      Thank you, Saundra!

  6. Pat — December 14, 2019 @ 5:48 pm (#)

    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 — December 17, 2019 @ 10:03 am (#)

      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 — December 12, 2019 @ 11:16 pm (#)

    We never have leftovers, but these are great ideas.

    • Christine Pittman — December 17, 2019 @ 9:49 am (#)

      I made extra this year, just so I could use it for other things!

  8. Jennifer Phillips — December 10, 2019 @ 10:00 pm (#)

    oooo the smoothie looks so tasty

    • Christine Pittman — December 12, 2019 @ 4:01 pm (#)

      Thanks, Jennifer!

  9. Angelica — December 6, 2019 @ 11:50 am (#)

    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!

    • Christine Pittman — December 9, 2019 @ 10:39 am (#)

      Thanks, Angelica! It’s fun to get creative with the leftovers!

  10. Debbie Yoder — December 5, 2019 @ 11:48 am (#)

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

    • Christine Pittman — December 5, 2019 @ 2:43 pm (#)

      Thanks, Debbie!

  11. Deborah Waddell — December 4, 2019 @ 8:00 am (#)

    The ideas are very interesting especially the one with brie.

    • Christine Pittman — December 5, 2019 @ 2:36 pm (#)

      It’s such a good flavour combination, Deborah. Thanks!

  12. Dolores Miller — December 2, 2019 @ 8:01 am (#)

    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.

    • Christine Pittman — December 2, 2019 @ 1:53 pm (#)

      Interesting, Dolores! Let us know how it works out!

  13. Amanda B. — November 26, 2019 @ 7:16 am (#)

    Great ideas…I love Thanksgiving leftovers!

    • Christine Pittman — November 27, 2019 @ 1:26 pm (#)

      Thanks, Amanda!

  14. Rebecca Orr — November 26, 2019 @ 12:25 am (#)

    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 — November 27, 2019 @ 1:23 pm (#)

      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 — November 25, 2019 @ 12:12 pm (#)

    I just love anything with cranberries and ginger.

    • Christine Pittman — November 27, 2019 @ 12:39 pm (#)

      Yummy! Thanks, Jackie.

  16. BonJon — November 23, 2018 @ 1:28 pm (#)

    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.)

    • Christine Pittman — November 28, 2018 @ 9:00 am (#)

      I’m betting they meant palmier as well.

  17. Debbie Neville — December 24, 2016 @ 7:56 am (#)

    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 — December 28, 2016 @ 10:27 am (#)

      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 — December 23, 2016 @ 8:08 am (#)

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

    • Christine Pittman — December 28, 2016 @ 10:26 am (#)

      Diane, Great idea!

  19. Sandra Trotta — December 15, 2016 @ 2:39 pm (#)

    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.

    • Christine Pittman — December 16, 2016 @ 8:56 am (#)

      Sandra, This sounds really interesting and delicious. Thanks for the great idea!

  20. Denise — December 6, 2015 @ 8:50 pm (#)

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

    • Christine Pittman — December 10, 2015 @ 9:56 am (#)

      Denise, Such a great idea. I love it!!

  21. Ellen lindgren — November 29, 2015 @ 9:45 pm (#)

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

    • Christine Pittman — December 1, 2015 @ 9:23 am (#)

      Ellen, That sounds delicious!!

  22. Natalie — November 25, 2015 @ 1:28 pm (#)

    Thanks for the ideas :)

    • Christine Pittman — November 25, 2015 @ 6:29 pm (#)

      You’re welcome!

  23. Kate — August 27, 2015 @ 1:59 am (#)

    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?

  24. o sollo — December 24, 2013 @ 1:04 am (#)

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

  25. Madeleine Baier — December 2, 2013 @ 10:17 am (#)

    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 — December 10, 2013 @ 11:28 am (#)

      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.


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