Ginger Mandarin Cranberry Sauce

Are you getting excited? We're a week away from the big day. It's time to break out the stretchy pants, sweats, or whatever's comfiest and get ready for a serious feast. And since a turkey should never be served without its sweet yet slightly mouth-puckeringly tart counterpart, cranberry sauce, I thought I'd share my favorite version of it. A healthy dose of freshly grated tangy ginger adds a bit of heat and a lot of flavor. Fresh mandarin segments, peeled from their skins and bitter piths, add bright and cheery citrus notes. And vanilla bean paste, well that's the stuff that binds all these flavors together. It transforms a good cranberry sauce into a great cranberry sauce. My self-proclaimed cranberry sauce hater (Moses) said, "I'd eat that" and I'm hoping that translates to, "this is the sauce that dreams are made of." Or something like that. The point is that this sauce might just be my favorite thing to make and enjoy on that big day. The fact that it comes together in about 10 minutes is just icing on the cake. And in keeping with that theme, I'm gonna go ahead and say have a wonderful almost Fri-day and see ya bright and early tomorrow morning! I've got a fun breakfast (not keeping with the Asian theme, sorry-ish) that's quick, easy, and something that you should probably consider whipping up for your Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade viewing party!

Ginger Mandarin Cranberry Sauce

Makes about 2 cups


  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 2 mandarin oranges, zested then peeled, segments removed from skins and piths
  • 2-inch segment fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste


  • Medium saucepan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Paring knife
  • Wooden spoon


  1. Combine water and sugars in a medium saucepan and bring to boil on medium-high heat. Add cranberries and return to boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add mandarin segments and ginger and let cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Stir in vanilla bean paste and cover saucepan with a lid. Let cool to room temperature then transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Top with mandarin orange zest, serve, and enjoy!