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This homemade boozy cranberry sauce recipe is made with Grand Marnier for a delicious hint of orange along with brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon!

If you prefer regular cranberry sauce from scratch, try my Super Easy Cranberry Sauce instead.

close-up of drunken cranberry sauce

Why you’ll love it

My friend Rachel inspired this recipe. She always makes cranberry sauce with brown sugar and a bit of Grand Marnier. I confess that I am the type of person who loves the canned stuff, but I was intrigued and figured that any self-respecting food blogger really needs a cranberry sauce recipe on their blog. After a little experimenting in the kitchen, I landed on this easy and delicious cranberry sauce that has a nice touch of alcohol. Bottoms up!

Obviously, cranberry sauce is a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. Give this version a try if you want something a little more complex in flavor and different than the usual one. To be fair, most of the alcohol from the Grand Marnier cooks off by the time the sauce is done, but drunken cranberry sauce does have a nice ring to it. 😉

What you’ll need

  • Cranberries – I created this recipe with fresh ones in mind, but the frozen kind will work too
  • Water – for the base of the sauce and to simmer the berries in
  • Grand Marnier – it’s a blend of cognac and orange liqueur. The aroma and flavor is so special and just feels like the holidays!
  • Brown sugar – for that sweet balance to the tartness of the fresh cranberries
  • Cinnamon – a stick of cinnamon tossed in will add mellow, warm seasonal spice. And your house is gonna smell so good.

Helpful tip

  • For a more varied texture with some whole cranberries, cook it for less time so some of the berries don’t burst. On the other hand, if you like it extra puréed, use an immersion blender before it cools down.
fresh cranberries in a colander

How to make Grand Marnier cranberry sauce

This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

  • Make sure all the cranberries are blemish free, discarding the less-than-fresh ones.
  • Add the cranberries, water, Grand Marnier, sugar, and a stick of cinnamon to a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Simmer until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Let it cool, and store it in the fridge. It’ll thicken up a bit more once cooled.

Substitutions and variations

  • Use regular granulated white sugar if that’s all you’ve got on hand.
  • Want to amp up the orange flavor even more? Grate some orange zest for a pop of citrusy freshness.
  • For a sweeter cranberry sauce, increase the amount of sugar by 1/4 cup.

What to serve with it

  • This elevated cranberry sauce is going to be the star of your Thanksgiving feast! It’s wonderful with my Easy Roast Turkey and Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and the rest of my Christmas and Thanksgiving collection of recipes.
  • Go ahead and use it other ways than strictly for the holidays. Try waffles or pancakes or toast or anywhere you’d normally use jam. It’s also tasty mixed in with a bit of mayo for turkey sandwiches the next day.

Leftovers and storage

  • This boozy cranberry sauce keeps in the fridge for about a week in an airtight container, which means it’s great for making ahead of time.
  • You also have the option of freezing it for 3-4 months. Let it cool completely before putting it in the freezer.
Grand Marnier cranberry sauce in a small bowl

Do you ever make homemade cranberry sauce with a touch of booze, and did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments below! You can also find me on Instagram.

close-up of drunken cranberry sauce
5 from 3 votes

Boozy Cranberry Sauce

This homemade boozy cranberry sauce recipe is made with Grand Marnier for a delicious hint of orange along with brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  • 3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  • Pick out any cranberries that may be past their prime and discard them.
  • Add the cranberries, water, Grand Marnier, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a medium-sized saucepan. Give it a good stir.
  • Simmer the mixture over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or so, until the cranberries start to pop and the sauce has started to thicken (stir occasionally). At that point, reduce the heat and continue simmering until the sauce has thickened to your liking (about 10-12 minutes total).
  • Remove cinnamon stick and let the cranberry sauce cool. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.


  • This cranberry sauce is sweet, but it still has a bit of tartness from the cranberries. If you want a very sweet cranberry sauce, add another 1/4 cup of sugar.
  • This cranberry sauce can definitely be made ahead. It’ll last a week or so in the fridge.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.


Calories: 116kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 8mg, Potassium: 64mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 26IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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  1. 5 stars
    Just delicious! I made for Thanksgiving, and it was a definite hit! It hit all the right flavor notes. I even had it warm on top of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

  2. How thick will the cranberry sauce get ? I want to turn it into into a jelly so I’m planning on adding pectin as well…

    1. I don’t really know how to describe how thick it is. It was fairly thick, but it also depends how long you cook it. I think adding pectin would be fine. Let me know!

  3. I will try this recipe, my old recipes say do not add sugar until the berries start to pop open, it is well worth making your own cranberry sauce, any leftover is used to accompany cold meat and salad Boxing Day

        1. Hi! I haven’t tested with anything else, so it’s kinda hard for me to just guess, but you could try Cointreau or perhaps brandy?