There are only 5 ingredients in this homemade cranberry sauce with pears and ginger. Make this holiday classic in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Updated 2019 with Instant Pot instructions
Holiday season is officially here with Thanksgiving being next week. Cranberry sauce is a staple at most holiday dinners. How do you like your cranberry sauce? Sweet or tart? Smooth or chunky? There are tons of different homemade cranberry sauces out there; this recipe is very dear to my heart – it’s my Mother’s recipe. My Mom makes her version of this cranberry sauce on the stove-top. All I did was clean her recipe up a bit (it had sugar) and converted it to the slow cooker and electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot). Thanks Mom!
Frozen or Fresh Cranberries
Should you use fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe? Either! You can use fresh or frozen whole cranberries in this recipe, it doesn’t matter. I always use fresh because I find them to be cheaper this time of year but frozen works perfectly well. If you are using frozen whole cranberries, no need to thaw them first you can add them directly to the slow cooker or electric pressure cooker frozen. Just don’t use canned, jellied cranberries.
I understand if you’re skeptical about adding pears to your holiday cranberry sauce. I was too but trust me, it works. Bosc pears have brown skin and a spicy-sweet flavor. They’re also firm with makes them the pear of choice when it comes to cooking. Their firmness allows them to hold their shape better during the cook time compared to other pears. If you’re going to substitute another pear I would recommend using Anjou pears.
Fresh or ground ginger? This one will depend on how much you like ginger. There are a few different ways to add the ginger element to this recipe:
1) Cook a large piece of fresh ginger in the sauce but remove it before serving.
2) Cook chopped fresh ginger in the sauce.
3) Cook ground ginger in the sauce.
My Mom follows option 1 – cooks a large piece of fresh ginger in the sauce but removes it before serving. I have a hard time finding the ginger or even remembering to remove it so I usually go with #2 or #3. Of course if ginger flat-out isn’t your thing, simply omit it.
No Sugar! Maple Syrup or Honey Instead
My Mother’s original recipe along with most cranberry recipes I have seen online include white sugar. Sugar is the one ingredient you will NOT find on this blog. In place of granulated sugar, I almost always use a all-natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey. You can use either in this recipe; having made it both ways, I honestly believe it all depends on your personal preference. If you want to keep this side dish vegan, you will need to use maple syrup.
Other holiday recipes you might enjoy:
Re-Use This Cranberry Sauce
Do you always have leftover cranberry sauce after the holidays? I do. I hate wasting food here are some things you can do to re-use your leftover sauce.
- Use it as a topping – this cranberry sauce is great on top of pancakes, waffles, crepes, or ice cream.
- Add it to your smoothies – since all the ingredients in this cranberry sauce are all natural, a couple of tablespoons of this cranberry sauce to your morning smoothie will quickly provide a sweet touch.
- Pair it with meat – cranberries pair well with poultry, red meat, and seafood. Mix some leftover cranberry sauce with bbq or make a quick marinade using some.
Chunky Or Smooth?
I don’t do anything to my cranberry sauce when it’s done cooking but I like mine on the chunkier side. If you like your cranberry sauce smooth, you can blend it down with blender, food processor, immersion blender, or even a potato masher.
Cover and store this homemade cranberry sauce in the fridge for 10 to 14 days. You can also freeze the cranberry sauce for up to a year. You can also freeze fresh cranberries for up to a year as well. I like to grab a few bags now while they’re cheap and easy to find and freeze them for when I want fresh cranberries in the off-season.
Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce w/Pear & Ginger VIDEO:
- 12–16 ounces fresh cranberries
- 4 large Bosc pears, cored & diced (unpeeled)
- 1 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 cup water
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger
Rinse & pick over cranberries, discarding any blemished berries.
- Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir to mix well.
- Cook HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6.
- Add all the ingredients to the electric pressure cooker. Stir to mix well.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure for 3 minutes. Natural release 10 minutes then quick release remaining pressure.
Cool & refrigerate. Remove ginger prior to serving.
Sauce with thicken overnight.
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