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What Is Cranberry Glaze?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Cranberry glaze is a thick sauce that is often brushed over roasted meat dishes such as ham or turkey. It is also sometimes used to flavor pork chops or steak. This type of cranberry sauce sometimes is more savory than sweet, and different recipes can call for a diverse range of ingredients. One of the main differences between homemade cranberry glaze and lighter sauces is the use of cornstarch as a thickener. Some cooks like to achieve the cranberry flavor with cranberry juice from concentrate, while others prefer to use canned cranberry sauce instead.

Nutritionists and doctors both frequently note the health benefits of cranberries. Eating this tart berry often has antioxidant effects and can lower the risks of some conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Cranberries can also be beneficial for dental health by helping to neutralize the bacteria responsible for tooth cavities. Cranberry glaze is just one of many flavorful options for eating cranberries for these health benefits.

Many cranberry glaze recipes draw inspiration from global cuisines. Ingredients for Indian-inspired glaze include curry and a type of clarified butter called ghee. Caribbean-style cranberry glaze is often flavored with brown sugar and pineapple juice. Some recipes for Asian-inspired cranberry glazes are usually made with teriyaki or soy sauce. One of the appeals of cranberry glaze is this recipe versatility.

Other common ingredients added to the cranberry glazes include caramelized onions, garlic salt, and shallots. Sweet recipes sometimes call for light or dark corn syrup to be stirred in with the cranberry juice. Ingredients are often stirred together in a sauce pan over medium to medium-low heat until the glaze reaches the desired thickness. This step can take some attention to timing when making cranberry glaze with cornstarch, as a common beginner mistake is to leave the mixture on the stove burner for too long. A frequent result is a glaze that has thickened to a gel-like consistency and that generally does not spread well over meat.

Favorite types of meat dishes flavored with cranberry glaze include roasted ham and turkey. Many cooks like to insert cloves into a ham before baking to infuse it with this spice, and the addition of cranberry often makes a good flavor combination. This glaze also works well with turkey as an alternative to basting the meat or adding other types of sauces.

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