Apple cranberry compote - or apple cranberry sauce - is great for Thanksgiving when you want something a little different than the classic orange cranberry sauce. It's a perfect addition to cheese boards and desserts! This cranberry compote is lightly spiced and only takes about 15 minutes to prepare.
Incorporate cranberry compote into desserts, and enjoy it for breakfast with breads and oatmeal. Vegan and allergy-friendly.
Compote vs Jam
So what is compote? And how is it different from jam, jelly, preserves, etc?
One thing that sets compote apart is that it's less spreadable than the others. The fruit is slowly cooked, along with sweetener, with the end result being thick and chunky.
Also, the natural pectin content of the fruit thickens compote, without the need for additional thickeners.
Jam is somewhat similar to compote in that the whole fruit is used, unlike jelly where only the juice is used. But with jam, the fruit breaks down more during cooking so the end result is spreadable.
Also, compote may include spices (as we're doing in this recipe) and is usually served right away, not preserved.
Just like cranberry sauce, one of the beautiful things about cranberry compote is how quick, easy, and customizable it is! Let's take a look at how to make it.
- cranberries - during the holiday season when fresh cranberries are plentiful at the grocery store, I like to keep at least one bag on hand at all times. Frozen cranberries are fine here, too!
- apples - I like to use a sweet variety, such as gala or fuji.
- maple syrup - instead of regular sugar, maple syrup adds beautiful flavor to the compote, though you can use cane sugar instead if needed.
- spices - ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves enhance the sweet flavor of the apple and bring that extra cozy and festive fall vibe.
How to Make Cranberry Compote
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. After a few minutes the cranberries will burst and the mixture will be juicy.
- Stirring occasionally, continue to cook. Here you can see the deepening color of the sauce.
- If you prefer a thinner compote, turn off the heat when the cranberries have burst and there is still some juiciness to the mixture.
- For a thicker apple cranberry sauce, continue to cook until there's no more liquid, as pictured above.
Let the compote cool. Refrigerate until chilled to serve with desserts and as part of a cheese board. Or serve warm with holiday main dishes, breads, baked goods, and oatmeal.
Pictured above: preparing Vegan Gluten-Free Hand Pies with apple cranberry compote.
How to Serve Cranberry Compote
Serve with Thanksgiving dinner instead of a more classic cranberry sauce.
Pair compote with chutneys, crackers, nuts, and dried fruit as part of a cheese tray. Check out our vegan cheese section for dairy-free ideas!
And for breakfast and brunch, pair apple cranberry compote with biscuits, toast, muffins, pancakes, and oatmeal.
Yes! This recipe uses maple syrup so there's no concern about white sugar that's been refined with bone char. In the U.S. organic cane sugar is also vegan if you prefer that over maple syrup.
Absolutely. Once the compote is cool, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to several months.
This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups, or 5 to 6 servings. So if you're cooking for a crowd for Thanksgiving or Christmas, it's a good idea to double or triple the recipe.
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I hope you enjoy this fresh apple cranberry compote! If you try the recipe be sure to leave a comment and star rating below to let us know! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Apple Cranberry Compote
- 2 medium sweet apples, cored, peeled, and chopped - see Notes
- 8 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen - about 3 cups
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the apples are tender and the sauce has thickened (takes a bit longer if using frozen cranberries). NOTE: If you prefer a thinner compote (vs a cranberry sauce consistency) turn off the heat once all of the cranberries have burst and the sauce is only slightly thickened.
- Let the compote cool. Refrigerate until chilled to serve with desserts and as part of a cheese board. Or serve warm with holiday main dishes, breads, baked goods, and oatmeal.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.