What Is Cranberry Butter?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell
Cranberries contain properties which can combat urinary tract issues.
Cranberries contain properties which can combat urinary tract issues.

Cranberry butter can be one of two things: a cranberry reduction, often spiced, that spreads like butter or actual butter blended with cranberries. The two have little in common aside from the name and, of course, the presence of cranberries. A reduced cranberry “butter” is not really butter at all, but carries that name in reference to its creamy consistency. It is often used as a spread on muffins and breads, as well as a garnish for roasted meats, particularly poultry. Fruit-infused butter is often used just as butter normally would be, but with the added zing of cranberries.

Most of the time, the phrase “cranberry butter” refers to the fruit spread. This kind of cranberry butter is something like a cross between a jam and a sauce. It has less pectin and sweetness than a typical jam or jelly, but a thicker consistency than most cranberry sauce. Most also have a high spice content, generally incorporating cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

Making this sort of cranberry butter is often easier than it seems. Cranberries are usually the only ingredient aside from spices and flavorings. They must be heated on the stove until they become so hot they burst. Cooking with cranberries can vary somewhat depending on the freshness and ripeness of the fruit, but most of the time, the berries contain a lot of latent moisture. Bursts usually release significant amounts of inner juices.

The berries must be simmered in their juices, adding water or other fruit juice in small amounts as necessary to keep the berries from jelling together or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Clear juices, particularly apple juice, are usually the best choice. Once the cranberries have completely broken down, forming a sort of thick gel, the mixture is ready to be chilled and served. Although this sort of butter is easy to spread, it is often served with a spoon.

A basic cranberry butter recipe is usually quite nutritious, particularly if no excess sugars are added. Eating cranberries has long been touted as healthy choice, and cranberries are considered by many health experts to be something of a “super food.” This designation owes in large part to the fruit's high concentrations of vitamins and helpful antioxidants. Choosing cranberry butter rather than a sweetened jam or sauce is a good way to realize the health benefits of cranberries without consuming excess sugar.

Many cooks make cranberry butter during the winter holidays. It cans easily, and makes a festive homemade gift. The butter is also popular when served alongside roasted turkey at Christmas dinner in many places. American and Canadian cooks often prepare the butter during annual Thanksgiving celebrations, as well.

The “cranberry butter” title can also apply to regular butter that has been blended with cranberry fruits. This sort of butter is generally used no differently than plain butter would be. It is popular on fruit muffins, scones, and bread of all varieties. Cooks often prepare this sort of butter as an interesting accent for fruit-flavored baked goods. Its color — usually creamy white with flecks of pink and red — also makes for an interesting table accent.

Discussion Comments


Even though I have had the first variation of cranberry butter (which generally speaking, is nothing more than a fruit spread), I didn't know that there was another version, which actually sounds pretty interesting. I'll certainly have to try it out one of these days.

In fact, mixing up regular cranberries with the an average butter spread seems like something you wouldn't even have to buy, as you could probably make it at home yourself. On another note, it really makes me wonder if you can make other kinds of fruit butter using this method. The process seems simple enough.

Although in some ways, it might not be as healthy as the original fruit spread. Don't forget that butter is the main ingredient that you're using, and if you're not careful, it might lead to problems with cholesterol.

However, considering how cranberry butter is more often than not, used only around the Holidays, it's something one doesn't have to worry about. Overall, cranberries are one of the most versatile fruits, and this article does a great job at showing that.


Believe it or not, cranberries are one of my favorite fruits. While I have never had cranberry "butter" before, after reading this article, it is definitely giving me second thoughts. Speaking of which, has anyone noticed that people can make many fruit "butter" spreads, in reference to the article being discussed? However, one has to wonder why cranberries aren't as popular as the average fruits, such as bananas and apples.

In other words, notice how cranberries are a fruit that's not usually eaten by itself. However, one reason for this may be because it's associated with so many other foods, that eating it by itself, would be rather pointless, not to mention that they do have a rather sour taste.

In other words, consider the fact that people don't need to eat cranberries by themselves because they've already been associated with lots of other things. You can have them dried and by the handful, you can buy cranberry muffins at the store, and most of all, cranberry sauce is one of the most popular things to use during the Holidays, especially in stuffing.


While I haven't had cranberry butter before, it's interesting to note to note that cranberries can be used in some many different ways. More than often, when people think of cranberries, they often associate it with the dried ones that you buy at the store. However, there's much more to cranberries than that. Although honestly, the "fresh" cranberries don't seem to be as available in stores as the dried ones.

One of the reasons for this may be because people are far less familiar with them, and are only used to certain types of brands. On the other hand, I do know that during the Holidays season, you can buy certain kinds of cranberry sauce the contain fresh cranberries. While this might come off as a little awkward to some, especially if they're not used to it, it's certainly a nice adjustment.

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    • Cranberries contain properties which can combat urinary tract issues.
      By: 7activestudio
      Cranberries contain properties which can combat urinary tract issues.