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in the kitchen with: stephanie dietz’s fresh cranberry bourbon sauce

by Kristina Gill

Since this is the last day before Thanksgiving here at Design*Sponge, I asked Grace if we could do an exceptional Wednesday post on a recipe I’m hoping you’ll be able to use this weekend, if not tomorrow. My father loves cranberry sauce, and I love the idea of making your own. Stephanie Dietz, owner of Farm to Jar Canning Company, enthusiastically shared her homemade version for Cranberry Bourbon Sauce with us. It has a little grown-up kick, so watch out! Happy Thanksgiving — Kristina

About Stephanie: Born and raised in Virginia, Stephanie Dietz is a Southern girl through and through. Cooking and baking were amongst her favorite hobbies growing up, which turned into a career and a true passion. Stephanie is the owner of Farm to Jar Canning Co., a canning company based in Brooklyn specializing in jams, jellies and pickles made from local ingredients found at Greenmarkets or nearby farms. Stephanie is also a chef at The Green Table in Chelsea Market. She resides in Brooklyn, NY, with her boyfriend, two dogs and a whole lot of mason jars.

Cranberry Bourbon Sauce


  • 4 cups cranberries (local, if possible!)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup Maker’s Mark (or the bourbon of your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice



Combine cranberries and sugars in a cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat on your stove. Mix well and often as the sugar starts to melt for about 2 to 3 minutes. Continue to add your other ingredients, stirring often, for about 20 minutes. Check the cranberries for doneness and cook until you reach the desired consistency.


Food photography by Karen Seifert; portrait photo by Megan Sperry

Why Stephanie Loves This Recipe

Thanksgiving is a really important holiday in my household. We go to great lengths to make sure everything is perfect, including making everything from scratch. I took it upon myself to develop a cranberry sauce recipe that would take next to no time to prepare but would not compromise quality. This recipe is perfect for those searching for a fast and easy way to amp up their holiday spread.

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  • Great twist on a must-have dish. Why anyone buys canned cranberries is beyond me! It looks like you’re putting the cranberry sauce in little jars. What a cool take home idea! Happy Thanksgiving. ~CJ

  • tried this tonight with a few tweaks, and it’s easily the best version i’ve ever made — the bourbon really mellows out the pucker factor cranberry sauce usually has. i actually tried a bit of jack daniels honey bourbon mixed with jim beam, and maybe a quarter cup of apple cider to help the sugars melt (i used white, lt brown, and dk brown). delicious, thank you!

  • i just made this for tomorrow. tastes and smells amazing! make it!! love the touch of bourbon

  • I always make homemade cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving- it’s one of my favorite things! I absolutely love Stephanie’s idea for cranberry bourbon sauce and think that her use of spice is a great way to balance the flavors. Thanks, Stephanie!

  • glad that you guys like this recipe! it was a pleasure to share it.

    and carly- i have not tried to water bath can this recipe so i couldn’t tell you for certain. cranberry sauce never lasts that long in my house but if i happen to ever try it i’ll be sure to let you know!

  • This was a huge hit at my thanksgiving celebration. And super simple, which is always a plus!

  • How long do think it will keep in the fridge? I’m trying to make a few things ahead and this yumminess is on my list!

  • I made this last year and it was a huge hit. Everyone is asking for them again this year, but they all want double the quantity! Great recipe!