Love and Olive Oil

Hibiscus Cranberry Sauce

Hibiscus Cranberry Sauce

I am pleased to present a rare pre-Thanksgiving recipe for you today, a full three weeks BEFORE Thanksgiving.

You might think that because I’m a food blogger, I start making and developing my Thanksgiving dishes months in advance. You have to have time to develop and test and photograph after all, and still post the recipe well in advance of the actual holiday.

I’m not that blogger.

I do try to post fall recipes when it’s fall, seasonal summer recipes when you can actually buy the ingredients at their peak. Yet I develop the recipes as it fits our lifestyle, when we are actually eating and enjoying what I am also posting. Sometimes it means posting a recipe the same week as I make it. I move around less seasonal recipes in my calendar accordingly.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Sure, the succulent roast turkey and epic side dishes require well over a full day’s worth of effort make, but it’s ok since it only happens once a year. And I really want to keep it that way. That’s why I’ve never been one to post a bunch of new Thanksgiving recipes before the day itself. I don’t want to burn myself out on turkey and stuffing so much so that I have no desire to eat it when the big day actually comes.

This year, however, we were forced (ok, ok, happily agreed) to prepare an entire Thanksgiving feast in the middle of summer for a client. Have YOU tried finding a turkey in July? It’s harder than you think. Needless to say, we ended up with a huge 15-pounder, and invited a few friends over to help us consume it. We turned a tedious task into a party and called it Thanksgiving in July.

Since the turkey was the star of the show, we cut some corners when it came to the rest of the sides (biscuits from a CAN? Blasphemy!) Except for this cranberry sauce, to which I had the wild idea to add hibiscus (big surprise). Since hibiscus flavor is, to me, often accompanied by underlying notes of cranberry, I figured it would be a perfect combination.

And indeed, the hibiscus made the cranberry taste even more like cranberry, if you can believe it. I haven’t decided if I’m going to make this one again or try something different for actual Thanksgiving dinner, and honestly I probably won’t decide until Wednesday night.

By the way, if you ARE looking for more Thanksgiving recipes (since it’s not likely I’ll be posting more until November 29th), I might direct you to the Thanksgiving category on this here blog. I have been diligent over these past 6 years about posting “recipe recaps” of the big day, complete with feedback and changes if I were to make them again. You can also re-read the (somewhat hilarious) account of our very first solo Thanksgiving, live blogged as it happened. Yeah… there’s a reason I didn’t do that again.

Plus, if you don’t like THIS cranberry sauce, there are 3 other recipes there for you to consider, plus four kinds of potatoes and the most amazing gravy ever. You could mix and match and make your entire menu from six years worth of meals.

And besides, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has yet to pick out a single recipe for this years’ feast… so I ask you, what new recipe are YOU most excited about making?

Hibiscus Cranberry Sauce

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  • 1/3 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 10-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest (optional)


Place hibiscus flowers in the center of a large piece of cheesecloth or clean muslin. Tie tightly into a bundle with food-safe twine.

In a saucepan, combine cranberries, water, sugar, and lime juice, and nestle hibiscus bundle within the liquid. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and keeping hibiscus bundle submerged, and boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until cranberries are burst and liquid is thickened. Remove hibiscus bundle, squeezing out as much liquid as possible, then discard.

Sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and refrigerated in a jar or airtight container.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. I remember Thanksgiving in July!  Thanks for inviting us, this was delish!

  2. Interesting addition of the hibiscus!

  3. I love the look of it and the fresh bright colors :D  Cranberries are really too delicious :D

  4. Oh what a fun combo. I’ve seen the flowers at a store, now I have to remember where.

  5. Where do I get dried hibiscus flowers?  I love hibiscus tea but always get it in a box as tea. Thanks!

    • I got mine from, but you can often find them at international/mexican food stores (look for “jamaica flowers”). If not, the tea should work too, although there are probably other ingredients/flavors besides just the hibiscus.

  6. Lovely recipe, Lindsay! I love that you combined your favorite, hibiscus, with cranberries in a new twist for traditional cranberry sauce. I like how you are always experimenting with new flavor combos…even if you don’t plan in advance. I don’t plan months in advance either, just week-to-week. I have a long wish list of all the recipes I’d like to post and select which ones I can fit into my schedule. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh my goodness, I haven’t even had time to THINK about Thanksgiving recipes yet. Maybe somebody when I can quit my day job I’ll be able to plan months in advance. Until then, I’m a week of kind of girl as well. I LOVE all things hibiscus – I’m going to have to give this a try (next to the traditional of course to cater to the picky eaters).

  8. sounds  delicious! xxx

  9. This sounds delicious!

    And glad I’m not alone in posting “holiday” recipes on time : )

  10. Ummm YUM!

  11. cute bowl!

  12. We already had out thanksgiving in Canada…. but I will be sure to try this out for christmas

  13. Lindsay, I cannot even tell you how relieved I am to read that I’m not the only food blogger on the planet who does holiday recipes months and months in advance–I feel like it ruins the magic a little bit. I AM however a food blogger that loves Thanksgiving dishes far too much to restrict them to one day a year. Homemade cranberry sauce is where it’s at, and I need to try this before Nov 28th! Let’s call it a “test run” shall we?

  14. I am so not a planner when it comes to the food I make on my site. This cranberry sauce looks gorgeous, and I love the addition of the hibiscus.

  15. Love the touch of hibiscus in the cranberry sauce. I discovered a few years ago that cranberry sauce tastes so much better when you make it yourself – I don’t know how I could ever have thought otherwise! I am very excited to give this one a try, though perhaps for Christmas, as we don’t have thanksgiving here in London…

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