I had my eye on Faith’s fig cranberry sauce since the first week I began working at Kitchn almost seven years ago. Cranberry sauce is a non-negotiable part of my perfect Thanksgiving plate. I chalk that up to my New England roots and the ever-present can of jiggly cranberry jelly on our holiday table when I was growing up. Although I adored that can, fresh cranberry sauce was one of the first Thanksgiving recipes I learned how to make as a teenager, given how simple it is to master.
Ever since, I’ve brought a bowl of it to the table, no matter where I’ve celebrated. I had never cared to tinker with the recipe, aside from adding the occasional orange zest, until I came across Faith’s recipe. I am as much a fan of figs as I am cranberries, so combining the two sold me instantly. However, I didn’t actually make the switch until last year, when I hosted my first Thanksgiving. I only wish I hadn’t waited so long.
An Upgraded Cranberry Sauce That’s Just as Easy to Make
What makes this cranberry sauce special isn’t just the addition of candy-like dried figs — it’s also the mix of warm baking spices (star anise, cinnamon, and ginger) and a generous splash of rye or bourbon. These simple upgrades result in a cranberry sauce that’s layered in flavor and surprisingly complex. Yet it’s no harder to make than the recipe on the back of the bag of fresh cranberries. Plus, you can make it a week ahead of the feast.
If you’re hesitant about the whiskey, whether because you’re serving kids or guests who don’t drink, know the alcohol does cook out. However, you can also replace it with freshly squeezed orange juice or additional water. One thing that’s not negotiable, though, is saving enough of this sweet-tart sauce to enjoy as leftovers. Spoon it over yogurt and oatmeal or, better yet, fold it into the weekend’s pancake batter.