There is a local frozen custard stand that people in our area have been flocking to since I was a little kid. For the longest time, they only had one location, but opened a second one a handful of years ago. The custard is phenomenal, but what I really love is that they don’t close up shop after Labor Day; they stay open until Thanksgiving, which means I can continue to get my frozen custard fix right up until the holidays. Last year, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I stopped for a little dessert right before Thanksgiving and they were out of his beloved orange sherbet, but they did have a cranberry sherbet, which he tried and absolutely loved. He talked about that sherbet for months, so once cranberries were in the stores again, I snatched some up so I could make a frozen cranberry treat perfect for this time of year.
I chose to go with a sorbet instead of a sherbet for this recipe, as I find sorbets to be much lighter. While a sherbet isn’t as heavy as ice cream, it’s certainly more on the creamy side. Thanksgiving dinner is basically the king of all meals, right? I feel like no matter how little I take of any one thing, I walk away from the table totally stuffed. However, I absolutely, positively cannot turn down Thanksgiving dessert. With that in mind, I made this cranberry sorbet as a light and refreshing option to cap off Thanksgiving dinner, in case guests find the traditional pies to be a bit too much after already loosening the good ol’ belt buckle.
The combination of fresh cranberries and orange juice give this sorbet a slightly tart and incredibly refreshing flavor. My tongue did a little jig when I tasted my first spoonful. It’s definitely a perfect light alternative for dessert; the cranberries feel right at home next to the pumpkin, apple and pecan pies!
Two year ago: Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes and Sweet Potato Gratin with Gruyère
Three years ago: Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Four years ago: Thick and Hearty Chili
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (125 ml) water
- 12 ounces (340.2 g) fresh cranberries
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup (124 ml) orange juice
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier liquor, optional, this keeps the sorbet from getting icy
- Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Add the cranberries and salt, and bring to a low boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes (the cranberries should be completely soft at this point). Remove the pan from heat (leaving the lid on) and cool the cranberry mixture to room temperature.
- Once cool, using a blender or food processor, puree together the cranberry mixture (including any juices), orange juice and Cointreau until completely smooth. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours (or overnight) to chill completely.
- Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Much yum! I added a dash of orange flower water. Rosewater would probably be nice, too.
Recipe is very simple and thanks for sharing.It looks amazing.Surely I will try. midnight cake delivery in pune
I want to know if I can use cranberry juice to make this sorbet? Fresh cranberries are not available and could not find frozen cranberries. What do you think?
Hi Mary, I would not recommend using juice for this recipe. It’s hard for me to find cranberries (fresh or frozen) here unless it’s during the fall, too.
Oh my gosh, this looks absolutely fantastic! My two favourite things, sorbet & cranberries :)
Sounds and looks delicious, I have dried cranberries which should work but would like to know how long I can keep frozen (in freezer container) before it is spoilt please. Just been given an ice cream maker machine (Cuisinart) and need to start somewhere! Love the look of your ice cream recipes too…watch out waistline!!
Hi Rhona, If you use dried cranberries, you will need to reconstitute them (plump them up) in a liquid. I would soak them in warm water overnight. I do recommend fresh cranberries if you can get them, though. This should keep well in the freezer for 1-2 months.
Cranberries are one of my most favorite fruit so I tried this recipe as soon as I could. It is definitely tart, which I like, and it has a fantastic flavor. This is my second favorite cranberry recipe from your site. Thanks!
Can I use fresh squeezed oranges or do you think it has to be orange juice? I know that orange juice has more tang than just plain squeezed oranges so I wanted to check! Thanks.
You could use store-bought orange juice or fresh-squeezed, both would work.
I just made the sorbet this evening. Not sure if I did something wrong.
It was very smooth and initially, had a nice tart flavor. After a few seconds, I got a really bad bitter taste. Maybe it was the cranberries?
Hi Tom, It definitely has a tart flavor, but if it tastes bitter, it might be the cranberries.
This sorbet looks wonderfully smooth and creamy! I bet the flavor is super refreshing too. Perfect for Thanksgiving!
I made this last night and just put it through my ice cream maker. It is soooo yummy. I’m freezing small scoops in little shot glasses and serving it as intermezzo at my Thanksgiving dinner.
I think this sounds great. The tart flavor of cranberry seems like a great compliment to a frozen dessert. I can’t wait to try this.
Is there a good non-alcoholic substitute for the liquor? I know you said it was optional, but I’d love to be able to put something in that would help with keeping it less icy. Any suggestions?
Hi Carinne, I am not aware of a substitute that has the same properties as the alcohol when it comes to keeping the sorbet less icy.
Can you use frozen cranberries, perhaps letting them thaw first? Would this affect the liquid ratios?
Hi Kacy, You could use frozen and thawed cranberries, but I would drain them first.
I’m flying for Thanksgiving and have been eye-ing the cranberries at the grocery store wondering what to do with them since I doubt TSA would allow homemade cranberry sauce through! This sorbet sounds perfect!
I love cranberry and this sorbet sounds amazing. I love that bright vibrant color!
Mmmm this looks so refreshing. I adore cranberry anything and sorbet. YUM.
This is so pretty! Pretty food always tastes better :)
This is the prettiest sorbet I have ever seen! What a gorgeous color!
The colour of this is so beautiful. Such a strong natural colour. Unfortunately fresh cranberries are hind to find in the UK, so I’m just going to have t use cranberry juice.
Could you leave the bits of cranberry in the sorbet?
Laurie, I have been making cranberry sorbet for years as an autumn intermezzo. I poach them gently in red wine, either cab or a light Bordeaux, before incorporating them in the product. Answer is yes, you could put some very finely minced pieces of cranberry back in, but take care that you taste a few of them first, as the skins can become rather tough after being simmered. Also, pieces that are too big might freeze too hard and become an icy distraction. Keeping the pieces small and fine should take care of both of those possibilities.
Hi Laurie, Yes, you could, although as Cat mentioned, I’ve found pieces of fruit that are too big in ice cream can become icy bits.
What a fun flavor of sherbert! Love! Thanks for sharing :)
Beautiful addition to Thanksgiving dessert!
I love how this is a relatively healthy and light dessert option for this time of year. You don’t find to much of that!
Oops, that should be “too”.
Oh, thank you, thank you for this! Perfect dessert.
This looks beautiful and smooth. Perfection!
oh shoot, need to figure out how to make room in the freezer for the ice cream insert! This sounds wonderful!
Great idea :)
We decided to do a series of unconventional recipes with traditional ingredients so this will make a nice addition.
Michelle, your recipe here for Cranberry Sorbet looks refreshingly delicious. By the way, being a Pittsburgher, I am all too familiar with the local custard stand that you are referring to, and I couldn’t agree with you more — Glen’s is the best!
Oh so pretty!
LOVE the color! So festive :)
This was a traditional Christmas appetizer course in my husband’s family. Guests would come to the table and find a crystal dish of sorbet sitting in a bit of pineapple juice at their place. It has become a tradition in my family and our children’s family for years to come.
Wow, what an incredible colour! I love this idea, have been starting to think of non-traditional dessert ideas, this is perfect. Would definitely add the cointreau, for sure!!
Such a good idea for a light but delicious desert for after a huge meal! I think this will go on my Christmas desserts list because I’m always so stuffed by the main.
Hot diggity I need to get an ice cream maker!!
Gorgeous, I love the color!
What a stunning color! Who needs food coloring when you’ve got Mother Nature! Pinned! :)
The color is just beautiful. Sorbet is perfect for a California Christmas.
Looks so gorgeous.. love it!!
So do you have to have an ice cream maker to make this and if so, which do you recommend?
I do not use an ice cream maker for this. I use my hand mixer on it a few times as it starts to freeze until it gets too hard. Sometimes it has gotten away from me and I have to let it melt a bit before I can beat it again. The mixing adds a lot of air and makes for a creamier texture.
Kathy – I have never made ice cream or sorbet before and you sound like an experienced ice cream maker – is this difficult to do with a hand mixer only?
Hi Marla, I do, I have the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.
I also have the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream attachment and LOVE, LOVE IT!! Best investment ever, except for my diet! I will be making this Sorbet!