5 Clever Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is the odd duck of the traditional Thanksgiving spread: it's somewhere between a side dish and a condiment, and no one is exactly sure how it's supposed be eaten (on turkey? with a spoon?). What we know for sure is that it's sweet, tangy, and delicious, and that the leftovers deserve to be spread on everything. Here are some creative ways to use up your leftover cranberry sauce.


This one is so obvious and yet so perfect. It's a fruit jelly, so use it like one! Smear it on some good old bread (or, er, leftover dinner rolls?) with peanut butter. Peanut butter and cranberry sauce sandwiches are my go-to Thanksgiving weekend midnight snack--a little more bitter, a little more grown-up-tasting than a standard peanut butter and jelly. Doesn't even require microwaving, and thus evades the whole "waking up your parents by using their microwave in the middle of the night" thing.

Ice Cream Topper

Heat it up a little and drizzle it over some chocolate or vanilla ice cream to add a tangy, fruity layer to your sundae. Think of it as a seasonal version of those syrupy sour cherries. Goes well with toasted walnuts or chestnuts for an even more holiday-appropriate dish. Because it's never too cold to eat ice cream.

Stuffed Crescent Rolls

If you've got some ready-to-bake rolls of dough left over, fill them with a scoop of cranberry sauce and a dollop of soft cashew cheese before baking just as long as the package instructs. Cashew cheese is also great because it doesn't really require melting, and crescent rolls can only stay in the oven so long before they burn and become inedible. Let them get golden brown and warm, and they're perfect--no need to cook anything through. You will feel fancy. Feel free to Instagram your fancy hipster pastry creation.

Cranberry Thumbprint Cookie

While we're stuffing things, use them in cookies as you would jelly. Press a dollop into the top of a dollop of plain vanilla cookie dough before baking to make it a less-sugary riff on traditional thumbprint cookies.

Cranberry Cocktail

Bear with me here: you like cranberry with vodka, yes? Booze up your cranberry sauce by mixing with vodka. You may want to use a cocktail shaker and strain, depending on the consistency of your sauce, to filter out pieces of whole cranberry or stubborn gelatinous bits. Add soda and lime to taste, then garnish with whole cranberries.

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