Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce: frozen strawberries, fresh apples, and zesty lime give this classic Thanksgiving side dish staple a yummy makeover!
Hello November, so nice to eat you! Bring on the cranberries!!!
First off, we have a few things to address here today.
Ok well, maybe just one thing: the strawberries. They’re in my cranberry sauce.
“Oh, are you freaked out? You’re like so freaked out. You’re like running for the door…”
Name that movie and we can be best friends forever.
After plowing through my entire freezer stash of my usual crock-pot cranberry sauce, I got fancy. I have a thing for trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to my own recipes. They’re typically ones I can make blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back and not a measuring cup in sight. I know my way through these recipes like I do the halls of my own home, actually these recipes ARE home. So from time to time, I rearrange. A little spring cleaning here, a new rug there, and sometimes, like today, I rearrange the furniture.
Though instead of moving couches I’m adding new ingredients to my cranberry sauce.
So strawberries, eh?
They’re AMAZING in this sauce. Once you taste it you’ll totally agree obnoxious all caps were beyond necessary. Add too many and you’ve got a pot full of jam on your hands, but add just a little and you’ve got a recipe for a baller berry sauce that will keep everyone guessing while they lick their plates clean! Now strawberries are typically the furthest thing from our minds as Fall blusters on and Winter gains momentum, but that’s why we have freezers! Berries frozen at harvest’s peak make a perfect addiction to this sassy sauce. I could go on but once I hit 400 words you start to get twitchy on me, so let’s dive face-first into the recipe instead.
- 1 [12 ounce] bag fresh cranberries [or 3 cups]
- 1 cup dried cranberries [aka craisins]
- 10 large ripe strawberries, frozen
- 1 large red delicious or honey crisp apple, peeled + diced
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- lime zest [I zested nearly the entire lime in mine! YUM!]
- 3 TBSP honey
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- note: for a fun and edible garnish, when you pop the lid to stir the fruit, fish out a few cranberries, sprinkle with granulated sugar and set aside until you're ready to plate the sauce. You can also garnish with a little bit of mint, basil, or even parsley [hey I was desperate!]
- Add all of the above ingredients to your slow cooker on high for 2 hours.
- Once the majority of the berries have popped and the house smells AMAZING, allow sauce to cool.
- Next puree using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.
- Give it a taste and feel free to sweeten a bit more if desired, this sauce has my ideal ratio of sweetness and tartness and I'm beyond in love with the flavor, but won't be offended if you add a pinch of brown sugar or a little extra honey.
- The final step? Slather it on everything!
- It'll keep in the fridge for up to four days and can be frozen for several months and reheated whenever the craving strikes!
- In a rush? This stellar sauce can absolutely be made on the stove top over medium heat in a fraction of the time. In about 10-15 minutes your'll have a gorgeous cranberry sauce that thickens as it cools. I'm just hopelessly addicted to recipes I can toss in the slow cooker and walk away from, especially since I'm usually multi-tasking my face off. Plus when you're cooking up a huge holiday feast, oven and stove-top space are prime real estate, yo!
- Regardless of the method you choose, the results will be fantastic! Enjoy!
No strawberries? No problem! Simply add extra apple in place of the strawberry in the recipe and you're good to go!
This recipe is super versatile and easily customizable too. Sweeten to taste and get ready to rock your Thanksgiving spread!
Recipe yields approx 1 quart [4 cups] of sauce, so feel free to scarf some now and freeze the rest for later!
While we’re talking freezers, you can prep this sauce in advance and save time on the big day! Simply store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze it and defrost when ready. It reheats marvelously and tastes good on everything!
Of course you don’t have to freeze the leftovers! My all-time favorite uses for leftover cranberry sauce are [these] cranberry streusel bars and [this] out of this world cranberry walnut cream cheese spread that’s fantastic on bagels, croissants, celery, and sandwiches galore! I make extra sauce just so I have a bounty of leftovers to make both recipes. Tis tradition!
You should totally make this saucy appetizer too: