Chunky Cranberry Sauce

I love foods that taste like dessert but are served with dinner, and cranberry sauce tops my list! Try this zipped up version with apples and pears, walnuts and raisins. Dates are used instead of refined sugar, and a few pomegranate seeds add a bit of whimsy.

3-4 medjool dates, pitted and diced
½ cup water
1 12-oz. bag fresh or frozen whole cranberries (about 2+ cups)
1 cup water
1 pear, cored and diced
1 apple, cored and diced
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground clove
Pomegranate seeds (optional)


1. Place diced dates in a cup with ½ cup water (or enough just to cover).

2. While the dates are soaking, place cranberries in a pot with 1 cup water and cook uncovered on medium until skins split open and mixture begins boil, about 10 minutes.

3. Blend dates in their water in a blender until smooth (or see note below).

4. Add to the cranberries: the pear, apple, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and date mixture, and simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened.

Notes: Golden raisins are great too, if you can find them. It’s hard to find them organic, so I usually just go with the brown. / Asian pears work well too in place of the apple and/or pear. / Use fresh whole nutmeg (with a Microplane grater) for enhanced flavor. / If you don’t want to soak/blend the dates, you may also mince them and add them in with the apples, etc. / Make this the night before you are planning to serve it so the flavors thoroughly co-mingle.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Serves: 6 (half-cup portions)

Cranberry sauce is not only part of American tradition, but also Canadian and some European traditions. Since the early 21st century, raw cranberries have been marketed as a “superfruit” due to their nutrient content and antioxidant qualities. Crafty cooks use cranberries to add tartness to savory dishes, such as soups and stews.

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  1. Cathy says

    Thank you Cathy. I just made this and it’s delicious. It tastes like fruit compote. I’m going to chill it overnight and have it with a lentil loaf on Thanksgiving. Thank you for this easy to make cranberry sauce. I had never even seen a fresh cranberry before!

  2. Corri says

    Hi Cathy, thank you for this blog–it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. My daughter is allergic to tree nuts–would it be possible to omit the walnuts without changing the flavor, or is there a seed that could take its place? It is a question that I have in general, as well–how to avoid tree nuts in oil free cooking…. thanks!

  3. Cathy says

    This was so good on Thanksgiving, I made it again this morning and ate it warm. Yum! Tomorrow morning, I’m going to put it on oatmeal instead of my usual blueberries. Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe.

  4. says

    Cathy this is the 2nd Thanksgiving in a row I’ll be making your Chunky Cranberry Sauce. I’ve been making it with clients and it’s a hit. I love how yummy and quick it is. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes. Yours are my fav. If you came out with a cook book I would buy it!

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