Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots Recipe

Homemade Cranberry Sauce > Canned Cranberry Sauce (especially when it include dried cherries and shallots!). Make this for Thanksgiving!

A white bowl with Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots and a blue and white striped cloth napkin.

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Life Lately: Those Christmas People.

Well, we are officially Those People. You know the ones who put up their Christmas tree before Thanksgiving? I always rolled my eyes hard at those people. Perhaps it’s my love for Turkey Day or my lack of decorating skills. And more likely than not, it’s laziness. The funny thing is, we are going to be in Nashville spending Christmas with J’s side of our family this year.

But last week J and I just kind of looked at each other and agreed to bite the bullet and put up our Christmas tree now. While we’re not going all out with a ton of extra decorations, we figured we may as well get the work of putting it up over with. The fact that A has been begging to watch Christmas Mickey since September also made it an easy decision (we’re all pretty excited about our Nashville Christmas this year and having all the kiddies together, so why not get into the spirit?!).

An overhead shot of Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots.

Last Friday ended up being the perfect day for this. It was super cold that day and we had actually woken up that morning to find our lawn covered in a thin layer of snow. That morning when A woke up, I brought her to our window and showed her all the snow in our back yard. Of course she got super excited and immediately headed downstairs (“I wonder if there’s snow in the front yard too?”). She then called T over say “Come here Tessa, I have something to show you” and began telling T all about snow. And my heart exploded.

I got out of work early that day and picked up the girls. A and I made some chocolate chip cookies (the Nestle’s Tollhouse recipe with some toffee bits added in- try it!) and I made a big pan of Tuna Wiggle. It was a super cold that day and evening so this was the perfect meal.

A close up of a bowl of Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots with half of it cut off.

After dinner, J brought our tree in from our storage area in the garage and we got to work putting it together and fluffing it up (thank goodness for pre-lit trees!). The girls weren’t too interested in this part but once it came time to decorate the tree, it was game on, at least for A. We keep our ornaments in a sturdy old Crate and Barrel box that I received at one of my bridal showers 9 years ago and most of the ornaments are wrapped in pieces of paper towel.

A had such a blast unwrapping each ornament and discovering which one was next and then placing them on the tree. T wasn’t that into it but she was kind of into trying to take the ornaments off (not good but shes doing better now!). Her favorite part was taking the golden angel that I picked up as a newlywed at Pier 1 and placing it onto the top of the tree. I think it’s meant to be displayed on a table or in a book case but it’s the right size, it’s really pretty and super light so it always looks perfect on top of or tree.

Every day, the girls insist on turning on the tree and I don’t know if it’s the little one’s excitement or what, but I’m already in the holiday spirit!

A close up of a ladle full of Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots:

It’s so funny how our tastes change. When I was a kid, I was super specific about only having canned jellied cranberry sauce. It had to be from a can. It couldn’t contain whole berries. And ideally, it should have come out of the can in one piece and maintained it,s perfect, canned shape. Kids, ugh!

This is such a darn shame because my Aunt Mimi was the queen of the homemade cranberry sauce. I cannot remember a Thanksgiving where she didn’t provide this. She had a couple versions that she went between- one involved the classic combo of cranberries and oranges (Yum! I’ll have to make that some time for you guys!). The other was this recipe.

A close up of Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots.

Thanksgiving these days isn’t the same without Aunt Mimi. Her beautiful smile and quick wit are seriously missed. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. So I felt it was a good idea to share a recipe she made so well so that you and your family could enjoy it too!

I love that this Cranberry sauce has a great combo of sweet and savory with those beautifully burst cranberries injecting a bright tartness. I believe this recipe was originally featured in Gourmet Magazine a long time ago (under the name Cranberry, Shallot and Dried-Cherry Compote). While it calls for unsweetened dried tart cherries, I used regular dried cherries and it came out beautifully. But I added the link in case you wanted to get the tart ones.

While this isn’t a crazy quick recipe, it has a decent amount of hands-off time. This can also be made up to five days ahead and tastes great cold or at room temperature. And the combo of the fruit, wine and shallots makes your house smell fantastic!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots in a white bowl with fresh cranberries surrounding it.

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1304 cal


15 g


276 g


10 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info
Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots

5 minPrep Time

1 hr, 15 Cook Time

1 hr, 20 Total Time

Yields 1 medium bowl


Recipe Image
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  • 1/2 pound shallots
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar (pull 1 Tablespoon of sugar out of it and set aside)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened tart cherries (regular sweet dried cherries are fine too)
  • 2 cups fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Boil some water in a small sauce pan and blanch the whole shallots for one minute.
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
  3. Peel the shallots and cut into 1 inch chunks (if they aren't already that size).
  4. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over moderate heat.
  5. Add the shallots and stir to coat.
  6. Next add the sugar a 1 Tablespoon of the vinegar to the pan.
  7. Cook, stirring periodically until everything is well combined and the sugar is beginning to caramelize, around 5-10 minutes.
  8. Add the rest of the vinegar, wine and salt and bring to a boil for 1 minute.
  9. Add cherries and reduce the heat slightly.
  10. Simmer covered for 45 minute or until everything is tender and well combined, stirring periodically.
  11. Add cranberries and water and gently boil until the berries have burst and a little bit of the liquid has evaporated, around 10 minutes. Make sure you stir it periodically.
  12. Cool and serve at room temperature or cold.
  13. Enjoy!


This will last up to 5 day days in the refrigerator and can be made ahead.

Helpful tools:

My very favorite sauce is:

Sunday Sauce

This is part two of the only Meat Sauce recipe you’ll ever need. It’s an extremely detailed (but still simple and easy) recipe for my Grandma’s homemade, Italian Sunday Sauce and this seriously is the very best sauce you’ll ever taste. This second part is all about adding the meatballs and fall-apart-tender pork for your sauce as well as the secret ingredient and putting it all together!

I also love these sauce recipes:

Marinara Sauce

This authentic, homemade Marinara Sauce is the best recipe. It's really easy to make and you can use fresh tomatoes or canned (to keep things simple!).

Spicy Meat Hot Sauce

A spoonful of spicy Meat Hot Sauce.

Easy Pizza Sauce

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You can find a full index of my recipes here.

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This Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Shallots recipe so easy to make and the best alternative to canned cranberries. Made with fresh cranberries is such a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner and would also be great any other time of year over chicken or pork!

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