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2 Cups


0 hours 5 mins


0 hours 20 mins


1 hours 0 mins

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2 Cups Fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 Cup Dried elderberries
1/2 Cup Swerve or Lakanto Monk Sugar
2 Tbsp. Patricia and Paul Elderberry Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Tsp. Ground cloves
1/4 Tsp. Fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt


1) Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to keep from burning.

2) Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

3) Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Serve in a small bowl with your favorite poultry dish.

NOTES: Surprise your guests this Thanksgiving with a delicious twist on the cranberry sauce. This Cranberry and Elderberry Sauce adds a little something special to a holiday classic. It is so easy to make and absolutely delish.

If you haven’t worked with elderberries before, you are not alone. It isn’t commonly used in a lot of American homes and is more prevalent in the UK and overseas. But it is a flavor that is worth exploring. First, let’s address some frequently asked questions.

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Elderberries are the fruit of the elderberry shrub, known as Sambucus nigra.

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They are small, dark purple/black berries that grow in clusters and are commonly used for their medicinal properties. Think tea and gummies used to treat colds and the flu.

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Yes, elderberries are safe to eat when properly prepared. If you were picking your own elderberries, especially in the wild, I’d give you a long list of things to watch for. Raw elderberries should not be consumed as they may contain toxins, but cooking with dried elderberries makes them safe for consumption and that’s how I use them.

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Elderberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which can boost the immune system and may help reduce the duration and severity of colds and flu. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and can aid in digestion.

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To consume elderberries, you should cook or dry them first. So I buy dried elderberries and will often hydrate them overnight or let them cook before eating. You will typically find elderberry in elderberry syrup, jams, jellies and liquors. It’s essential to remove the stems and seeds, as they contain toxins, and that is handled when they are dried and packaged for sale.

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Elderberries are versatile and can be used in various recipes, including pies, muffins, and sauces. They are also used to make elderflower cordial, wine, and liqueurs, which have a unique and pleasant flavor.

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Tartness: Elderberries have a noticeable tartness, which I compare to cranberries.

Sweetness: Despite their tartness, elderberries also possess a natural sweetness. I find that when you add a little sugar, it brings out their sweetness.

Richness: Elderberries have a rich and robust flavor that is deep and fruity. I’d describe it as a combination of blackberries, blueberries and cranberries.

Chocolate smell: The first this I noticed when I purchased a bag of dried elderberries was the smell. The dried berries smell like chocolate. I know, crazy. But that’s how I knew I’d also like them.

Floral Undertones: I also taste floral undertones in the taste of elderberries. So needless to say, it is a complex and interesting berry and one you should try.

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I purchase dried elderberries on line. You can also find them in some local stores and buying elderberries is easy at Whole Foods and Trader Joes and I’ve seen them at Walmarts and Target too.

Because of the flavor profile, elderberries seemed like a natural fit for this year’s cranberry sauce and the results said I was right. They added a slightly richer and sweeter taste. They also provided some unexpected texture…kind of like the soft seeds of a raspberry. My family loved this recipe and it is so easy to make.

You are basically added all the ingredients into a large pot or dutch oven and cooking until the mixture boils, then lowering the heat and cooking stirring occassionally until thick. The cranberries will burst and the elderberries will soften. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries making this easy to make during other times of the year. I used Swerve sugar substitute in this recipe to eliminate the extra sugar but as always, feel free to substitute equal amounts of regular sugar or honey. Both work just fine.

The secret ingredient in this dish is the elderberry balsamic vinegar. It just adds an amazing depth of flavor that brings the whole thing together. If you don’t have the elderberry balsamic vinegar, you can use regular balsamic vinegar or leave it out completely. But, if you can, add it. It was amazing.

Be sure you let the sauce cool completely. Then, refrigerate covered until ready to serve. It is perfect with the traditional turkey but also is great with other poultry like chicken and cornish hen. Also, try it as a spread on a sandwich or wrap. Soooo good.

If you are looking for other cranberry sauce recipes this holiday season (or anytime you want something special), try these.

Jellied Cranberry & Pomegranate Sauce

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Cranberry Cherry Sauce

Looking for other elderberry recipes? Don’t miss my elderberry jam or my elderberry liqueur recipes.