10 Things to Do With Leftover Homemade Cranberry Sauce


Kathy is a busy mom of two teens who loves to cook tasty and simple food for her family and friends.

Don't throw out your leftover cranberry sauce!

Don't throw out your leftover cranberry sauce!

Homemade cranberry sauce is incredibly easy to make and is a wonderful accompaniment to a traditional roast turkey dinner. Once you make your own cranberry sauce, you may never want to buy the canned sauce again.

There are lots of ideas for using up turkey leftovers, but what do you do with the leftover cranberry sauce you've made? Where I live, bags of fresh cranberries are generally only available around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I like to make up a big batch of cranberry sauce when I have the opportunity. I've discovered there are lots of delicious possibilities for using up any leftover cranberry sauce. Here are ten ideas.

1. Add Cranberry Sauce to Muffins or Quick Breads

One of my favourite ways to use up leftover cranberry sauce is to add it to muffins and quick breads. Just add the cranberry sauce to your favourite muffin or loaf recipe, or try my recipe for Banana Cranberry Sauce muffins at the end of this article. These muffins are great for breakfast, brunch or for a quick snack. They freeze well too.

Cranberry sauce goes well with any of the following, but don't be afraid to experiment:

  • Pumpkin loaf or muffins
  • Lemon loaf
  • Chocolate chip muffins
  • Oatmeal muffins
  • Banana bread or banana muffins
Cranberry Banana Bread.

Cranberry Banana Bread.

2. Make Cranberry Syrup

You can make a tasty cranberry syrup by adding a few tablespoons of orange juice to your cranberry sauce. Serve the syrup warm as a topping for pancakes, waffles or crepes. It also makes a delicious topping for cheesecake and other desserts.

3. Pair Cranberry Sauce With Cheese

Put some cheese on a cracker or toasted french bread, and top with a small spoonful of cranberry sauce for a quick and easy appetizer or snack. Good choices for cheese to go with cranberry sauce include:

  • Brie
  • Havarti
  • Swiss
  • Goat cheese
  • Cream cheese
Cranberry sauce makes a tasty addition to cheese and crackers.

Cranberry sauce makes a tasty addition to cheese and crackers.

4. Add It to a Sandwich

Leftover cranberry sauce is a tasty addition to many different types of sandwiches. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Roast turkey or chicken sandwich
  • Grilled cheese sandwich—experiment with different types of cheeses to find your favourite combination
  • Use it instead of jam on a peanut butter sandwich
Add cranberry sauce to your favourite sandwich to add lots of yummy flavour.

Add cranberry sauce to your favourite sandwich to add lots of yummy flavour.

5. Make a Cranberry Smoothie

Cranberry sauce is a delicious addition to smoothies. Add a spoonful or more to your favourite fruit smoothie recipe for a wonderful colour and flavor boost. Since there's already sugar in the cranberry sauce you'll want to avoid adding extra sweeteners.

For a quick and easy smoothie, try mixing strawberry or vanilla yogurt, a banana and 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce in a blender. If you prefer a thinner smoothie, just add some milk or orange juice.

6. Cook Cranberry Meatballs

For an easy appetizer or meal, mix cranberry sauce with chili sauce or BBQ sauce and frozen cooked meatballs and heat in a slow cooker for 3 to 4 hours. Serve the meatballs over noodles or rice or on their own as an appetizer. These also are a great food to bring to a potluck.

7. Mix It With Cream Cheese

Blend leftover cranberry sauce into cream cheese to make a delicious spread for bagels or crackers. You can also spread the cranberry cream cheese spread onto tortillas, roll them up and slice them to make Cranberry Pinwheels.

8. Make a Cocktail With It

If you don't want to eat any more cranberry sauce, and you are too tired to cook anything else, you can turn your leftover cranberry sauce into a delicious cocktail.

Check out the video below for an easy cocktail recipe using cranberry sauce, bourbon, amaretto and ginger ale.

9. Give It Away

Most people appreciate homemade food gifts. If you've made a big batch of homemade cranberry sauce, consider putting some into a pretty jar and giving it to a neighbour or friend.

10. Freeze It

Homemade cranberry sauce freezes well. If you make a big batch or cranberry sauce, you can freeze some in small containers or freezer bags to use later in the year. I like to have some in my freezer to serve with a roast chicken or to use in baking and smoothies.

Banana Cranberry Sauce Muffins are a great way to use up your leftover cranberry sauce.

Banana Cranberry Sauce Muffins are a great way to use up your leftover cranberry sauce.

Cook Time for Banana Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

20 min

30 min

12 large muffins or 16 to 24 smaller muffins


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce (you can use more or less, depending how much you have available)
  • 1/2 cup optional add-ins, eg. chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, chopped dark or white chocolate
Adding cranberry sauce to my mom's banana muffin recipe.

Adding cranberry sauce to my mom's banana muffin recipe.


  1. Cream together sugar and butter.
  2. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Add mashed bananas and mix lightly.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix until blended.
  5. Add optional add-ins such as nuts or chocolate, if using.
  6. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins.
  7. Add a spoonful of cranberry sauce to each muffin. Stir gently to swirl sauce into batter.
  8. Bake at 370 degrees Farenheit for approximately 20 minutes. Muffins are done when lightly browned and toothpick inserted inside muffin comes out clean.

© 2012 Kathy Sima


Liza from USA on November 26, 2019:

This is such an interesting ideas for leftover cranberry sauce. I'm a sweettooth so, I love all your recipes. Thank you for sharing!

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on July 23, 2014:

I just love the ideas you came up with for uses of leftover cranberry sauce. I particularly like the muffin recipe.

LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on January 26, 2014:

I like the idea of mixing it with muffin mix. That looks yummy.

Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, Southeast Missouri, USA on November 28, 2013:

I love cranberry relish. Your ideas are helpful. Voted up and useful.

Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 02, 2013:

Thanks Rose and Happy New Year!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 31, 2012:

I love how many different options you've covered here. Thanks for the great resource!

Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 31, 2012:

Thanks for your comments, Lena, Nina and GTW. It's nice to know there's some other cranberry fans out there. Happy New Year to you all!

Lena Welch from USA on December 30, 2012:

I take a tablespoon or so of fresh, raw, orange and cranberry relish and mix it in cranberry jello. It is amazing how strong a flavor a little spoonful can be!

Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 30, 2012:

Thanks Nina and Glimmer Twin Fan. The cranberry certainly makes the banana bread and muffins look more interesting - and it tastes good too!

Claudia Mitchell on December 30, 2012:

I love adding cranberry sauce to bananas for a muffin. That sounds like a delightful combination. Interesting hub!

Nina L James from chicago, Illinois on December 30, 2012:

Hello savingkathy, I just love the way that cranberry banana bread looks!!!! You give some great suggestions on how to use leftover homemade cranberry sauce. Voted up.

Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 29, 2012:

I'm glad you found these ideas helpful minababe, Stephanie and Donna. I figured I wasn't the only one with some leftover cranberry after the holidays. I hope you like the muffins Donna. I made some yesterday and they are all gone already!

minababe on December 29, 2012:

Love these suggestions for using leftovr cranberry sauce, especially the ones for baking and sandwiches.

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on December 29, 2012:

Last year I used the leftover cranberry sauce I made to make bread pudding. It worked out well. These are great ideas.

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on December 29, 2012:

This is just the hub I needed this morning. I am going to try your recipe. Thanks! Voted up,

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