Cranberry-Citrus Compote

Cranberry-Citrus Compote

Who's thankful for cranberries? A sweet-tart, vitamin-packed, simple recipe to share with your Thanksgiving table.

By, variation of Emeril Lagasse's fresh cranberry compote

You might be asking yourself, "What is a compote?' Well, it is a fruit or vegetable sauce that is typically cooked for a long period of time in order to soften the fruit or veg while still retaining much of the shape of the item. Compotes are traditionally used immediately as a garnish for a dish, not jarred or canned such as jellies and jams. OK, now that we have that out of the way, let's get to business on this sweet-tart of a compote.

Emeril's original recipe is delicious! I have been making it as an annual food tradition ever since my first grad school Thanksgiving dinner at Texas A&M University. I did alter the original recipe to make it less sugary-sweet by adding more cranberries and using coconut palm sugar for half of the total sugar content. What I love about this sauce is the sweetness of the citrus juices and the tartness of the cranberries with a little zing everytime that I bite into one of those maroon orbs of antioxidant power! This sauce is packed with vitamins, so go ahead and have an extra spoonful.


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • Zest and juice of one large orange
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated raw sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups filtered water, separated into 1 cup and ½ cup portions
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch


  1. Thoroughly wash fruit and berries, and discard any berries that are not firm.
  2. Into large saucepan, add all ingredients except ½ cup water and 3 Tbsp cornstarch.
  3. Place saucepan onto stovetop at medium-high heat. Cook until liquid comes to a boil.
  4. Allow liquid to boil for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cranberries will burst.
  5. In small cup, add reserved ½ cup water and 3 Tbsp cornstarch. Whisk with fork to combine well.
  6. Add liquid cornstarch to cranberry liquid. Stir to combine. Allow to cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly as compote thickens.
  7. Turn off heat and allow compote to cool.


  • Although compotes are made to be served immediately, I always make this sauce ahead of time, place it in a glass container with a lid, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Keeps for several days in refrigerator.
  • Try this sauce as a fresh and healthy replacement for the wobbly, jellied, high-fructose corn syrup canned cranberry sauce that we all grew up eating.
  • Pairs well with turkey, chicken, and ham. I like it spread on Teff Pumpkin Bread in the morning for a treat.
  • Migraine Warning: Citrus (orange and lemon).