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Cranberry sauce…a ubiquitous condiment on most holiday tables.  It seems to pair so well with the usual holiday fixings…turkey, ham, green beans, mashed potatoes.  Everyone helps themselves to a small amount of cranberry sauce, but no one ever really seems to love it.  Wait until they try this recipe for fermented cranberry sauce!

I was honestly a little surprised by how good this sauce tastes.  When I had the mixture pureed and was setting it aside to ferment, I really did not have high hopes.  It looked sort of weird…pink and frothy.  I figured I was just going to chalk this up to an experiment.  However, once the sauce ferments for 2 days, it takes on a dark red color and is full of sweet, sour and spicy flavors.

The batch I made for this post I thought would be for Thanksgiving.  I do not think this will still be around as we will have gobbled it all up by then!  Looks like I need to make more!


A small serving can give your family trillions of units of good bacteria to your family’s digestive systems!  This is really a delicious way to sneak some probiotic goodness onto your holiday table.  And it tastes great, of course!

Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, fiber and manganese.  They are very high in phytonutrients and are thought to be very anti-inflammatory.  They are ranked towards the top of the list of berries that have anti-oxidant properties and are said to be helpful to our cardiovascular system, protect against cancer and contain enzymes that help with digestion.

Wow!  All that from a little, sour, red berry!  Ferment these guys and you have made them even more beneficial to your health: adding vitamins, increasing enzyme activity and adding good bacteria to help your digestive tract.

I received this recipe from a fellow Certified Healing Foods specialist and tweaked it just a bit.  Enjoy some fermented cranberry sauce this holiday season!

If your family isn’t 100% sold on fermented foods yet, this is a very easy recipe to hide.  Mix half your usual cranberry sauce recipe with this fermented cranberry sauce!  Never know the difference! ;)  But, this recipe tastes so delicious you probably won’t have to do that.

Mix together cranberries, pecans, honey, salt, whey/starter, apple juice, cinnamon, cloves (optional) and citrus juice.  I don’t love the taste of clove, so I omitted.  It’s up to you!

Add to a Vitamix or food processor.  Pulse until desired consistency. I like to leave some chunks of cranberries.  You can puree as much or as little as you like.

Stir in raisins and transfer mixture to a 1 quart size mason jar.  Add filtered water (or more apple juice) if necessary to leave 1 inch headroom.  Cover and leave at room temperature for 48 hours.  Be sure to place your jar on a plate or a tray while fermenting in case juices escape.  Also, OPEN WITH CARE!  Gases do build up during fermentation.

Transfer to refrigerator and use within 2 months.

Fermented Cranberry Sauce
Makes 1 quart


  • 3 cups fresh cranberries (1 bag)
  • 1/2 cup pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt (buy here)
  • 1/2 cup of whey OR 1/2 cup filtered water with 1/2 tsp Culture Starter (buy here)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (original recipe called for apple cider)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove (optional)
  • Juice from 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup raisins.


  1. Mix all ingredients (except raisins) together.
  2. Put into a food processor or vitamix and lightly pulse until the desired consistency.  I make mine medium chunky.
  3. Stir in raisins.
  4. Add mixture to a 1 quart mason jar.
  5. Add filtered water if need to leave about 1 inch headroom.
  6. Tighten lid and leave at room temperature for 48 hours to ferment.
  7. Refrigerate and use within 2 months.

*This recipe could easily be halved and fermented in a pint size jar.

*I think orange peel would be a delicious addition, but have not tried that yet.


Fermented Cranberry Sauce -

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58 thoughts on “Fermented Cranberry Sauce

  1. Such a sneaky way to add some good bacteria to the dinner table. I love it! I may try this myself, but definitely won’t tell anyone. They already think I’m weird for letting grains “grow” on the counter!

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    • I have had success with previously frozen blueberries and raspberries when fermenting. I would think thawed out cranberries would be fine. Let me know how it turns out!

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  4. Where can I buy whey or starter? The only place I checked that knew what I was talking about was Whole Foods and they had lost their supplier for starter a few months ago.

    • I added links to whey and starter culture in the post. You can easily make whey by straining plain yogurt. We have a post about that. Click ‘whey’ in the recipe. I like Body Ecology vegetable culture starter. Click ‘culture starter’ in the recipe. I usually add links in the post, but I must have forgotten with the craziness of the holidays!!! Good luck!

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  7. This looks great! I’m new to the site so I’m not sure if this info is already somewhere. All I have is raw honey. Will it kill the good bacteria and prevent fermenting?

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  11. TamaraThis looks so delicious….Do you know if the culture starter is casein free? My son can’t have the whey because of it. Thanks

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  14. I have never fermented before…er…at least, um…not on purpose…there was a marinara incident not long ago…Anyways, I have a cranberry chutney recipe similar to this that I love, so I think I will give it a try. I am hoping to start my first homemade yogurt this month, so I will save some whey from that and see what happens. Thanks for posting.

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  16. I just made this and it’s sitting to ferment now. I sneaked a taste and wow it’s good! Salty, sweet, sour, tart. I can’t wait to taste it all bubbly and full of probiotic goodness! And, I might have to make another batch before Thanksgiving b/c I’m sure I’ll eat it all. I added the orange zest as you suggested (very good!), and did half honey/half maple syrup. Also, half cloves, half allspice (in addition to the cinnamon). Different and very good.

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  19. I have only fermented my own yogurt using the Yogourmet Yogurt Starter. Could I use this as my starter, or does it have to be Body Ecology’s Vegetable Starter? Thanks!

  20. since my husband does not care for raisins, i substituted dried currants for the raisins and got a *delightful* ferment. very good. i made another few jars after Christmas last year when the rest of the cranberries when on super sale and it was lovely addition to yogurt or as a topping on sourdough pancakes during the rest of winter.

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  26. Mine isn’t ferment-y. It’s sat out now for 1 day and smells great but it doesn’t look like it’s getting bubbly. Did I do something wrong perhaps? I used goats yogurt whey and raw honey, omitted the nuts and cloves but other than that I followed the recipe. Thoughts would be appreciated!

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  29. Hi I’ve made this & it looks gorgeous but I’m new to fermenting. I was wondering is it meant to smell like alcohol? Also it tastes quite acidic is that normal? It’s been fermenting for 48hrs & I used sauerkraut juice as a starter. Thank you

    • It shouldn’t smell too alcoholic but will be sour and pungent. Using sauerkraut juice as a starter will add a sauerkraut flavor which is probably the acidic taste you are tasting. If it is too acidic add more maple syrup or a good sugar for serving. Mine is generally sweet and sour mix (sour like a cranberry is sour not a lemon).

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