Cranberry sauce from dried berries

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Cranberry sauce from dried berries

Fresh or canned cranberries are nearly impossible to find in Italy.  Dried?  Plenty!

Here, the pressure cooker is used to quickly re-hydrate the cranberries with a squeeze of lemon to bring them back to life. The whole process takes minutes and the result is a thick, tart, and lightly firm cranberry sauce.

I found various non-pressure cooker techniques  for doing this online, each beckoned the addition of one citrus juice or another.  I started with the tartest of them all: grapefruit juice.  The cranberries just ended up tasting like cran-grapefruit berries. I tried others, and the result was that the cranberries just ended up tasting mostly like that juice.  Ideally, you’d be rehydrating the berries using unsweetened cranberry juice  – but that’s not available here, either. I settled on a 50/50 blend of water and cranberry juice cocktail (succo frutti di bosco) – a blend of mostly apple or grape juice with just enough berry juice to add a splash of tart and color.  I don’t recommend using  this kind of juice at full strength- otherwise the cranberry sauce will be too sweet to slather on a turkey, but perfect to slather on your morning buttered toast.  I’ve also tried doing this with just water – and it’ll do in a pinch but the cranberry flavor is more subtle.

Dried Cranberries

This recipe uses super-market cranberries which are commonly preserved in sugar and then coated in oil to keep them from sticking together – that’s why this recipe does not call for either of these ingredients.  Should you be using specialty dried cranberries, with no other ingredients added,  you’ll need to add a teaspoon of oil (to keep the dried fruit from foaming too much) and sugar to taste.

If you have a pressure cooker set,  the small pressure pan  is the ideally- sized cooker for this recipe – but it will also work with any cooker that is 6L or less.


Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or smaller none 3 min. High(2) Slow Normal

5.0 from 5 reviews
Quick Cranberry Sauce from Dried Berries - pressure cooker recipe
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • Serving size: 3 teaspoons
  • Calories: 30.1
  • TOTAL Fat: 0.1g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 7.9g
  • Sugar Carbs: 6.6g
  • Sodium: 1.2mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 0.4g
  • Protein: 0.0g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Recipe type: Pressure Cooker
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This recipe can be doubled, but the contents (water and cranberries) should never fill the pressure cooker more than half-way.
  • 1 cup (140g) dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¾ cup (180ml) water
  • ¾ cup (180ml) cranberry juice cocktail
  1. Add the cranberries, lemon juice, water and cranberry cocktail to the pressure cooker.
  2. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. For stove top pressure cookers, turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum required by the cooker to maintain pressure. Cook for 3 minutes at high pressure.
  3. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure very slowly. If the pressure release speed cannot be regulated by your cooker's valve, simply release pressure in short bursts. If anything other than steam comes out of the valve, stop and count to 10 before releasing the pressure slowly (or in small bursts), again.
  4. Using an immersion blender, give the mixture a few quick pulses to partially puree the contents - tilting the cooker to keep the blender immersed. Don't liquefy the berries, just break some up to hasten the thickening process.
  5. Then, simmer the whole mixture un-covered stirring frequently until the desired thickness is reached (about 5 minutes).
  6. Once you can drag a spoon or spatula across the base of the cooker and see the bottom, you can turn off the heat and let the cranberry sauce stand un-covered for 10 minutes.
  7. Either serve warm, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a week - the sauce will firm-up further when cooled.

dry_cranberry_sauce_v_brightip-smart recipe script (what’s this?)

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  1. I wonder how apple cider would be for the liquid? Cranberries are naturally acidic so it doesn’t seem they actually need the citrus. ?

    1. Absolutely you can use Apple Cider. Come back to let us know how it turned out!



  2. I have found non sweetened organic cranberry juice at Tuodi and a non organic and non sweetened cranberry juice at Todis.

    1. Thanks for the tip Pietra, I didn’t know they had them!



  3. THANK YOU!! It’s Thanksgiving eve and I forgot the cranberries. I usually make a sauce using fresh cranberries but my son came home from his emergency grocery trip run with dried cranberries. I didn’t have the heart to send him out again so I googled cranberry sauce with dried cranberries and found this. No cranberry juice on hand either so I used apple juice. Came out beautifully! Thanks again!

  4. Forgot the stars!

    1. Thank you Kate! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. : )



  5. Thank you!!! I only have dried cranberries and can’t get fresh ones! This is a life saver!

  6. Wow, this was really helpful! I only have dried cranberries on my pantry and I couldn’t find fresh or frozen ones in the market to make a sauce. Glad i found this. Thanks!

  7. Each year I purchase 3-4 turkeys around Thanksgiving because I think it shouldn’t be eaten just once a year. So I freeze them and roast them every 3 months or so. I like making homemade cranberry sauce but never think to buy multiple bags of these to freeze as well. This recipe is great and came in handy since fresh cranberries are sold seasonally where I live. Thank you:-)

    1. Kim, what a smart idea to stock-up on turkey! I’m glad to hear that this method works with freeze-dried cranberries, too.



  8. I just wanted to add that I used Trader Joe’s freeze dried cranberries because this is what I had on hand. Because they weren’t sweetened I added xylitol, cinnamon, and clove. It turned out so delicious! Thanks again:-) Enjoying our “Thanksgiving” dinner in a few hours!

  9. A serving size is 1 TBS? Do you not like your dinner guests?
    I would have to triple this recipe to produce a bare minimum.

    1. Erik you can double, triple or even quadruple this recipe as long as it doesn’t fill your pressure cooker more than half-way. ; )



      1. Thanks for the tip.

  10. Can I use a regular recipe I have which includes fresh apples and pears and sugar…?

    1. Absolutely! Just make sure the liquid and sugar (which also counts as a liquid) meet your cooker’s minimum liquid requirement. If your recipe has lots of liquid, make sure to reduce that a bit to compensate for the diminished evaporation.



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