Cranberry Sorbet

Cranberry Sorbet Each year at Thanksgiving, I serve a palate cleanser before the dessert course to revive everyone’s taste buds after a rich and decadent dinner buffet.  Usually, everyone gets a scoop of Meyer Lemon Sorbet.  This year, I though I’d try something new :)  Tart and sweet, this vibrantly hued Cranberry Sorbet is flavored with fresh lemon and orange zest.  I’ve also added a splash of Grand Marnier to amp up the orange flavor, and to keep the texture of the sorbet nice and smooth.  Keep in mind that this sorbet should be tart, so try not to add any additional sugar.  Also, I’d recommend just serving a small scoop to each guest.  You want to prepare them for dessert without ruining their appetite.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Cranberries Cooked Cranberries

Cranberry Sorbet
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: About 1 quart
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (not dried)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier (Cointreau or Triple Sec would work here too)
  1. In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, warm cranberries, water, sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, let bubble for 1 minute, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the cranberry mixture to a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour the cranberry puree through a fine mesh basket strainer into a large bowl (preferably with a pour spout). Stir in orange juice, lemon juice and Grand Marnier. Continue to add lemon juice to taste. The sorbet should be nice and tart. Keep in mind that the flavors will dull a bit after freezing. Add additional orange juice if you add too much lemon juice :) Don't add more than 1/2 cup additional juice. Cover the bowl and chill the sorbet base for at least 3 to 4 hours, or until very cold.
  3. Freeze sorbet in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to an airtight container and chill in the freezer for two to three hours.


  1. Erin says

    Made this last night, intending to serve for Thanksgiving late this afternoon, but I woke up to find that it didn’t seem to freeze at all overnight. I followed the recipe exactly too and this is the first time I’ve had a sorbet that wouldn’t set up. It tastes AWESOME though, so going to keep experimenting with this one!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Oh no!! Did you add any extra liqueur? 2 teaspoons is enough to keep the texture smooth, but if you add more it may keep to from freezing.

      • says

        Pretty sure I followed the recipe exactly, with fresh cranberries (if anything it might have been a generous 1 1/2 C of berries). Two teaspoons of Cointreau, everything else exactly as per the recipe, no extra juice or liquer, Kitchen Aid stand mixer in a cold kitchen with the ice cream bowl kept in the deep freezer, processed to soft serve consistency, sorbet frozen overnight in the regular freezer, moved to the chest freezer in the morning and still not frozen by this time. So it seems my variables should be working out ok, so going to run it through again with some extra water in the next day or so, because I really want to perfect this one to keep in regular rotation for the holidays.

        Thanks for posting this though, not sure where I went wrong with it, but can’t wait to get it right!

  2. says

    I love the vibrant colour of this sorbet! Brandon, I made cranberry sauce which is like half the ingredients. If I add the other half and continue with the instructions do you think it would work? I have so much leftover – I clearly went crazy this year!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Hi Jessica, I’m sure you could turn your cranberry sauce into a sorbet! Excellent idea. I would just recommend tasting as you go. Add some sugar, taste. Add some lemon juice, taste. And so on until you reach a flavor that you like! Just remember that the freezing process will mute the flavors a bit, so your sorbet base should be a little bit too sweet/tart before freezing.

  3. says

    Is there a way to make this dish if you don’t have an ice cream maker :(

    I JUST bought my first bag of fresh cranberries this year but had NO idea what to do with it. I wish I had seen this recipe before Thanksgiving!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Hi Faye, you can make sorbet without an ice cream maker, but you do need a food processor. Start by making the sorbet base as instructed, then pour it into a parchment-lined baking dish, and transfer to the freezer. Once the base is completely frozen, pull it from the baking dish and break it up into pieces. Add pieces to a food processor, and process until smooth. Scoop sorbet into a container (I like to use a loaf pan), cover, and store in the freezer until read to use. Enjoy!

  4. says

    Hi Brandon! This is so beautiful. I would love you to stop by Food on Friday: Ice Cream & Sorbets over at Carole’s Chatter to add this to the recipe collection! Cheers!

    PS If you would like to be part of the Food on Friday group, just put a reminder in your calendar each week to check out the new theme or email me if you would like a reminder by email. You can also see the themes coming up in one of the tabs at the top of my home page


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