Caramelized Cranberry and Apple Compote

Cranberry compote
Liza McCorkle/Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
94 Calories
0g Fat
23g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 94
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 41mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 1g
Calcium 34mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chef Gordon Ramsay is famous for his over-the-top antics in the kitchen in his reality cooking television shows. But he is also an exceptionally gifted and inventive chef—which this recipe proves. Chef Ramsay's take on a quintessential holiday side dish gets a brilliant spin by caramelizing sugar before adding it to the cranberries. The result is a traditional fruit compote with a wonderful caramel flavor. You'll love this recipe for any holiday meal, especially to accompany roast turkey, goose, or duck.


  • 2/3 cup sugar (fine)
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 apples (peeled, cored, and thinly sliced)
  • Dash of kosher salt
  • Dash of black pepper (ground)
  • 1/4 cup port
  • 1 orange (zest and juice)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Evenly spread the fine sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the star anise, then lightly crush the cardamom pods on a cutting board, and add them as well. Drizzle in the water and light corn syrup. (The corn syrup helps prevent the sugar from forming into hard crystals.)​

  3. Turn the heat to medium-high, and quickly whisk the water and corn syrup into the sugar, as it begins to melt.  Swirl the pan to make sure the sugar dissolves evenly, but don't whisk or stir. As the sugar melts, and the liquid boils off, it will begin to turn a pale amber. Move the saucepan around so the sugar cooks evenly and doesn't burn.

  4. When the caramel is golden brown, add the cranberries, swirling them in the caramel. (The caramel is very hot, so be careful.)  When the cranberries begin to burst, add the apple, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

  5. Take the saucepan off the heat, and pour the port around the sides of the pan to deglaze the caramelized bits stuck to the pan. Quickly swirl the compote with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula to incorporate.

  6. Add the orange zest and orange juice. Put the saucepan back on the stovetop, lower the heat, and simmer 5 to 10 minutes to thicken. The compote will thicken when cooled, so try not to overcook it.

  7. Transfer to a heat-resistant glass bowl and cool to room temperature, then cover and chill. The compote can be prepared two days ahead and will taste better as all the flavors meld. When ready to serve, remove the compote from the refrigerator 1 hour before. Serve with roast turkey, goose, or duck.

Ways to Enjoy This Cranberry Compote

Although cranberry sauce is a mainstay on Thanksgiving menus to accompany roasted turkey (it is believed the American Indians and Pilgrims ate the berries at the first Thanksgiving), there are many other ways to enjoy this condiment. Of course, it has its place in a sandwich made with holiday leftovers, but it also can be savored at the breakfast table, such as using in place of jam on toast, or as a flavoring for plain yogurt. And don't rule out dessert—especially with this compote recipe—spoon it over vanilla ice cream or stir it into freshly whipped cream.