Cranberry Grape Compote

by | Sauces Dressing

Cranberry Grape Compote, the very same one I made on The Great American Recipe for PBS, is perfect for all your cranberry cravings! I make it with sour cranberries, sweet juicy red grapes, a sprinkle of sugar, a drizzle of bourbon and maple syrup or toss in a chili pepper for sweet or spicy. 

Cranberry Season
Cranberry Season

Cranberry Compote

Cranberry compote is slightly tart, a little sweet and can add all the beautiful spices to awake the tastebuds. Cinnamon stick, star anise, whole cloves or ginger, orange rinds or even orange blossom water, are my flavors of choice. 

This compote is an easy mix to simmer, leave rustic or puree into a sauce. It goes along side turkey dishes, on top of a baked brie, which would be perfect to serve with my Cranberry Yeast Bread.

Try adding a few chili peppers to Cranberry Grape Compote and baste a pork loin, chicken wings or a duck breast and roast!

Cranberry Grape Sweet Compote Over Cranberry Yeast Bread
Cranberry Grape Sweet Compote Over Cranberry Yeast Bread

Grape Compote

While most kids prefer a grape jelly, where they really don’t see the fruit they’re eating, us adults, with a more developed eye for gourmet food, love a rustic grape compote.

A rustic compote, regardless of the fruit, is one in which the fruit is simmered with a little sugar and other ingredients to release the natural juices of the fruit. It is then thickened by simmering sugar with the fruit to form a kind of syrup.

I prefer to leave the fruit whole rather than puree it, unless I want to use it as a spread.

Grape compote is absolutely luscious atop a cheese cake, schmeared over toast, pancakes or muffins, a quick dessert served over ice cream and is a delight on a charcuterie board in a pretty little bowl. 

But… The most whimsical use of this fabulous compote is on Chocolate Reindeer Antler Cheese Cake with Cranberry Compote!

Christmas Whimsy Cheese Cake
Christmas Whimsy Cheese Cake

Easy Cranberry Grape Compote

What makes cranberry grape compote so easy, is that you simply toss the fruit in a saucepan with a little sugar, some spices and a touch of water to get a little steam going at the bottom of the pan. Less than thirty minutes, you have a finished compote, ready to serve. 

Once the juices of the fruit become part of the liquid, the sugar is what helps to thicken the compote as it simmers, much like making a syrup.

sweet cranberry grape compote
Sweet Cranberry Grape Compote

Cranberry Grape Compote On PBS Cooking Competition

If you watched The Great American Recipe, on PBS, throughout the summer of 2022, you will know I prepared this compote (Episode 7), on the show.

The judges, particularly Graham Elliot, loved this recipe and said it was the best he’d ever tasted!

I put just one chili pepper in it to balance out the sweet, and a splash of bourbon to deepen the flavor. Honestly, this is the best cranberry sauce rendition you will have anywhere, and I’m not even a Michelin Star Chef… yet!

Spicy Fruit Compote

This luscious sweet fruit compote can be easily turned into a spicy compote simply by tossing in a few fresh chili peppers or dried chili flakes, some coarse salt, a few sprigs of herbs and wow, you’ve got a great savory sauce! 

Spread this spicy compote over your ‘leftover’ turkey sandwich and you’ve got yourself anything but leftovers!

Rub a pork loin, duck breast, or chicken wings with the spicy compote and you’ve got yourself a beautiful glaze to roast these meats with. 

spicy cranberry grape compote
Spicy Cranberry Grape Compote

Ingredients Needed To Make Cranberry Grape Compote?

To make the sweet version of the compote, you will use these ingredients, but if your preference is the spicy version you will just use less sugar, since the grapes are plenty sweet enough and toss in a few extra ingredients. 

  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Red Grapes
  • Sugar
  • Bourbon
  • Orange rind
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Rosemary
  • Star Anise or Cloves
  • Chili pepper
  • Saucepan

The rest is easy, just simmer, cool and transfer to a jar!

tea infuser for spices
Tea Infuser For Spices

Equipment Needed

  • Simmering pot with a lid
  • Stainless tea ball – to infuse whole spices
  • Slotted metal spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mason jar with lid
  • Stovetop or burner

Storing Cranberry Grape Compote

When making a compote from fresh fruit, remember it is fresh fruit and can last up to two weeks in an air tight container in the fridge, or can be frozen in airtight containers. 

My preference is… no, let me rephrase that, my kitchen equipment addiction is to own lots and lots of glass jars of all sizes and shapes. 

Canning glass jars are so affordable and come in so many sizes, but I’ve been known to scrub the label off many a cute glass jar from something I’ve bought in the grocery store and reuse the jar for recipes such as this. 

glass food jars
Glass Food Jars
Cranberry Grape Compote

Cranberry Grape Compote

Cranberry Grape Compote, is made with sour cranberries, sweet red grapes, a drizzle of bourbon, maple syrup and a chili pepper or two. 
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Course: Sauces u0026amp; Dressing
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 300kcal


  • Fresh Cranberries – 1 1/2 cups
  • Red Grapes – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Bourbon or Dessert red wine – 2 tbsp
  • Orange rind – 1 tbsp
  • Water – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp (sweet version) 1/2 tsp (spicy version)
  • Rosemary – 1 sprig
  • Star Anise or Cloves – 1 star anise or 3 whole cloves
  • Garlic – 1 clove, crushed (spicy version)
  • Chili pepper – 1 fresh chili, split (spicy version)


  • In a two-quart saucepan with a lid, on medium heat, place the berries, grapes, splash of water and sugar and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the rosemary sprig, star anise or cloves, orange rind, salt and bourbon and allow to simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and let simmer another 5 minutes until the liquids begin to thicken.
  • Remove the sprig of rosemary and the whole spices. Ready to use warm or when cool.
  • For the spicy version, add the crushed garlic and split chili when adding the ingredients to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the chili pepper when the compote has thickened and discard.


  • If a thicker sauce is required, half a teaspoon of cornstarch can be added when the compote is simmering. 
  • Nutrition

    Calories: 300kcal
    cranberry grape compote
    Cranberry Grape Compote

    My Muffin Madness


    In my family, I’ve always been known as the ‘Muffin Queen’. Out of necessity, I created muffins for breakfast, lunch, on the go snacks, sometimes dinner and a sweet yet healthyish treat for dessert!

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    Ann T
    Ann T
    9 months ago

    Absolutely delicious 😋


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