Balsamic Roasted Cranberries

Sweet, tart and tangy these Balsamic Roasted Cranberries make a delicious holiday side, flavorful appetizer, or cheese board addition. Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any special occasion!

Toasted crostini topped with goat cheese and roasted cranberries.

Not Your Mom’s Cranberry Sauce

If you’re a fan of sugary cranberry sauce, this recipe might not be for you. It’s lighter on the sweet, heavier on the tart, and even has a dash of tangy.

Similar to roasting vegetables, cooking cranberries at a high heat concentrates their flavor. A splash of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and bright citrus (juice + zest) balances out the maple syrup-sweetened cranberries.

Any leftovers I manage to hide from Tim can usually be found topping a plate of roasted sweet potato rounds or slathered on apple and Havarti grilled cheese sandwiches.

Grilled cheese slices stacked on a white plate.

How to Make Balsamic Roasted Cranberries

There are just a few steps to make this impressive cranberry condiment:

  1. Toss everything into a baking dish.
  2. Roast the cranberries, stirring them about every 5 to 6 minutes until they have popped to your liking.
  3. Let the sauce cool, it’ll thicken up more.
  4. Try to stop yourself from eating the whole dish with a spoon.
  5. Give up and make a second batch!

Want to make this recipe ahead of your holiday feast? Go for it – the cooked and cooled sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

~ Keep scrolling for step by step photos & tips after the recipe ~

Toasted crostini topped with goat cheese and roasted cranberries.

Balsamic Roasted Cranberries

Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

Treat your guest to a sweet, tart and tangy holiday relish with this easy recipe.


  • 8 ounces Fresh Cranberries, washed and dried
  • 3 tablespoons Real Maple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (Use the good stuff!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Grated Orange Peel
  • 1 tablespoon Orange Juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
  • Pinch Ground Black Pepper


  1. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 425°F.
  2. Add the cranberries to a 1-Quart toaster oven baking dish and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the maple syrup, vinegar, orange peel, orange juice, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.
  4. Pour liquids over cranberries and stir well.
  5. Cover the pan and roast until most of the cranberries have popped, about 14 to 18 minutes. *Carefully remove the cover and stir the mixture about every 5 minutes while it cooks.
  6. Once most of the cranberries have popped, remove the pan from the oven.
  7. Allow the mixture to sit uncovered for at least 5 minutes, it will thicken as it cools.
  8. Once cooled, give the sauce a final stir and then dig in!


Refrigerate any leftovers in a covered container for up to 5 days.

As written, the recipe makes 20 Tablespoons (about 1 cup + 1/4 cup). Nutritional Information is an estimate for a serving of 2 Tablespoons.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 36Total Fat: 0.7gSaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 31mgCarbohydrates: 7.5gFiber: 1.1gSugar: 5.2gProtein: 0.1g

4 Quick Cranberry Roasting Tips 

Colander of washed fresh cranberries.

Tip #1: Rinse Your Cranberries. Although they’re sold in a bag, fresh cranberries have not been washed.

Before you get cooking, add them to a colander and give them a quick rinse under cool water. Pour the cranberries onto a clean towel, dry well, and pick out any sad-looking squishy ones.

Fresh cranberries in a baking dish.

Tip #2: Keep Things Clean. As the cranberries cook they’ll pop and spray juice. To keep from covering your oven or toaster oven in sticky cranberry spray use a lidded baking dish or cover your pan.

Wooden spoon stirring roasted cranberries.

Tip #3: Don’t Fear The Liquid. At some point, it’s going to feel like there’s too much liquid. At least that’s how I felt the first time making this dish.

The picture above is from halfway through the cooking time: pretty unpopped cranberries and LOTS of liquid.

Hang in there! Once the cranberries have popped take the sauce out of the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes. The natural pectin in the cranberries will cause it to thicken right up and it should look like the photo below.

Wooden spoon stirring balsamic roasted cranberries in a baking dish.

Tip #4: Creamy Cheese + Balsamic Cranberries = An Easy Appetizer!

To make a quick goat cheese crostini:

  • Brush small bread slices with olive and toast until golden.
  • Spread toasted slices with cheese.
  • Layer on baby kale or arugula.
  • Top with a generous spoonful of balsamic roasted cranberries.
  • Lastly, add thin slices of persimmon for sweetness and a pop of bright orange color!

If you’re like me and not the biggest goat cheese fan use cream cheese or substitute a non-dairy cheese for a vegan crostini.  

Crackers and pinwheels topped with roasted cranberries.

My other favorite option is to make pinwheels. Just take those same ingredients but switch out the toasted bread for a piece of flatbread. Layer everything on the flatbread, roll it tight, and slice into pinwheels. 

I’m terrible at getting a tight pinwheel. For pointers on rolling and slicing something that looks truly appetizing check out this recipe for (vegetarian) Buffalo Wing Pinwheels from Strawberry Blondie Kitchen. Megan knows her stuff!

Pinwheels and crostini on a baking sheet.
Team Toaster Oven Love has a lot to be thankful for this year, especially all of you that read this tiny little blog and the friends we have made from starting it.  We wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.  May your day be filled with good friends, family, and lots of delicious food! – Tim & Brie Norris


    1. Hi Jules!

      I’ve never made this recipe with lemon instead of the orange – I’m a little worried it might be too tart since this isn’t a super sweet recipe. If you don’t have an orange, I’d swap the 1 tablespoon of orange juice for water and omit the zest.

      Then, when the sauce is almost finished give it a taste and if it’s flat or too sweet, you can add a little lemon juice. (You might want to try the juice with some of the sauce in a small bowl before you add it to the whole baking dish).

      Hope that helped – happy cooking!

    1. Glad to hear everyone enjoyed them, Meredith! BTW your salad sounds delicious, especially the strawberry dressing!

  1. Just found your website as I recently bought a countertop oven, but I ended up returning it. Long story….but I like your website! I have a couple of questions about this recipe. Do you roast for 15 to 18 minutes and THEN stir every 5 minutes for a certain number of times/additional minutes? Or DURING the 15 to 18 minutes you stir every 5 minutes? Also, since I don’t have a toaster oven, I will be doing in either a regular oven or on stovetop….any suggestions to modify?

    1. Hi Julia, I’m sorry the countertop oven didn’t work out but am super glad you’re here 🙂

      Thanks for the question, you want to stir the mixture about every 5 minutes during the cooking. I’ve just updated the recipe to hopefully make that clearer.

      We’ve made this recipe in a traditional oven and a few different toaster ovens (the instructions work the same for both big and little ovens) but never the stovetop, so I’m not sure about that one…if you give it a try we’d love it if you shared your stovetop tips.

      Happy New Year!!

    1. Hi Cassandra, with the recipe as written, you’ll end up with 20 tablespoons or 1and 1/4 cup cranberry relish. We’ve never tried making a larger batch but if you need help shoot us an email and we can troubleshoot. Happy Thanksgiving!

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