Can You Use Strawberry Jam Instead Of Cranberry Sauce?

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and for many of us, that means it’s time to start planning our holiday menus. While traditional dishes like stuffing and mashed potatoes are always crowd-pleasers, there’s one item on the table that can be a bit divisive: cranberry sauce.

Some people love it, while others can’t stand it. But what if you’re in the latter camp and want to try something different this year? Can you use strawberry jam instead of cranberry sauce?

In this article, we’ll explore this question and offer some alternative sauce options to spice up your Thanksgiving feast.

Can You Use Strawberry Jam Instead Of Cranberry Sauce?

The short answer is yes, you can use strawberry jam instead of cranberry sauce. However, it’s important to note that the flavor profile will be quite different. Cranberry sauce is known for its tartness, while strawberry jam is sweet.

If you’re looking for a similar flavor profile to cranberry sauce, you may want to consider using a tart apple or cherry-based sauce instead. Crabapples are an ideal option, but if those aren’t available, you could try a Jezebel-style sauce made with a red preserve like strawberry, raspberry, or cherry and lots of horseradish.

The Debate Over Cranberry Sauce

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the debate over cranberry sauce is almost as heated as the debate over the turkey itself. Some people swear by the classic jellied cranberry sauce from a can, while others insist on homemade cranberry sauce or jelly.

According to data from Ocean Spray, 76% of Americans opt for canned cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. However, many chefs and food experts prefer homemade versions, which can be customized to suit personal tastes and dietary restrictions.

The debate doesn’t stop at canned versus homemade, either. Some people prefer a thicker cranberry sauce, while others like it looser and more sauce-like. If your cranberry sauce is too thick, it’s likely overcooked, and you can fix it by adding a splash of water or orange juice to loosen it up.

Ultimately, the choice between cranberry sauce and other spreads like strawberry jam comes down to personal preference. While strawberry jam can be used as a substitute for cranberry sauce, it will have a different flavor profile that may not complement Thanksgiving dishes in the same way. However, experimenting with different sauces and spreads can be a fun way to add variety to your holiday meal.

Strawberry Jam As A Cranberry Sauce Substitute

While strawberry jam may not be the most traditional substitute for cranberry sauce, it can still be used as an alternative. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the flavor will be sweeter than traditional cranberry sauce.

To use strawberry jam as a substitute, start by choosing a high-quality jam made with real strawberries. Look for a jam that is not overly sweetened or has added artificial flavors. You can then use the jam as you would cranberry sauce, serving it alongside your Thanksgiving turkey or using it as a condiment for sandwiches.

If you want to adjust the flavor profile to be more similar to cranberry sauce, consider adding some lemon juice to the strawberry jam. This will add a tartness that is similar to that of cranberries. You can also experiment with adding other ingredients like horseradish or spices to create a unique flavor profile.

Pros And Cons Of Using Strawberry Jam

There are both pros and cons to using strawberry jam as a substitute for cranberry sauce. Here are a few things to consider:


– Convenience: If you already have strawberry jam on hand, it can be a quick and easy substitute for cranberry sauce.

– Shelf-stable: Unlike homemade cranberry sauce, which may need to be refrigerated or frozen, strawberry jam can be stored at room temperature for a long period of time.

– Smooth consistency: Strawberry jam has a smoother consistency than homemade cranberry sauce, which can sometimes have chunks of fruit or seeds.


– Flavor profile: As mentioned earlier, strawberry jam is sweet while cranberry sauce is tart. If you’re looking for that tart flavor, strawberry jam may not be the best substitute.

– Added sugar: Many store-bought strawberry jams contain high amounts of added sugar, which may not be ideal for those watching their sugar intake.

– Texture: The texture of strawberry jam may not be as desirable as cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce has a gel-like texture that is unique to it, while strawberry jam may be too runny or thick.

Other Sauce Options For Thanksgiving

While cranberry sauce is a classic Thanksgiving side dish, it’s always good to switch things up and try something new. Here are some other sauce options to consider for your Thanksgiving feast:

1. Dried Fruit Chutney: This chutney has a similar flavor profile to homemade cranberry sauce without the tart, bitter cranberries. It’s made by stewing dried cherries, raisins and apricots with ginger, brown sugar and spices. A little bit of orange juice and zest is added to cut the sweetness while adding a fresh flavor.

2. Pomegranate Fig Mostarda: Traditionally, mostarda is an Italian fruit and mustard condiment that takes days, sometimes even weeks to make. However, this version has been sped up by cooking dried figs and fresh pomegranate arils in red wine, mustard seeds and apple cider vinegar. It’s sweet, tangy and has a little bit of a spicy kick.

3. Classic Homemade Applesauce: Applesauce pairs well with pork, so why not serve it with turkey? The secret ingredient in this recipe is butter ― it adds richness to the tart apples and makes for a silkier texture.

4. Bacon Jam: This jam is made by slowly cooking bacon, onions, brown sugar, maple syrup and vinegar until it’s thick and the consistency of jam. It’s sweet, salty, tangy and the perfect accoutrement to your turkey.

5. Chimichurri: This untraditional sauce is made by blending parsley, cilantro, dill and basil with capers, red wine vinegar, olive oil, shallots and garlic until it resembles pesto. The acidity from the vinegar and saltiness from the capers make this a favorite condiment.

By trying out some of these alternative sauces, you can add some exciting new flavors to your Thanksgiving meal while still maintaining some traditional elements.

Recipes To Try: Homemade Cranberry Sauce And Strawberry Jam Sauce

If you’re interested in making your own cranberry sauce or strawberry jam sauce, we have two delicious recipes for you to try.

First up, we have a cranberry chia jam recipe. This recipe is perfect for a snack or as a side dish for your Thanksgiving feast. The chia seeds add some omega-3s and help thicken the sauce, while the combination of cranberries and strawberries creates a tart-sweet flavor that’s sure to please.

To make this recipe, start by washing your cranberries and strawberries. Then, combine them in a saucepan with maple syrup, chia seeds, and lemon juice. Add enough water to cover the berries and simmer over medium-high heat until the cranberries begin to pop and burst. Let the sauce sit and thicken, stirring occasionally. You can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less maple syrup to your liking.

Next, we have a homemade strawberry sauce recipe that’s perfect for those who prefer a sweeter flavor profile. This sauce is made with frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, making it quick and easy to prepare.

To make this recipe, start by thawing a 10-ounce carton of frozen sliced strawberries in syrup. Then, add them to a pan and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries pop and the mixture thickens. Let cool before serving.

Both of these homemade sauces are great alternatives to canned cranberry sauce or store-bought strawberry jam. They’re easy to make and can be customized to your taste preferences. Give them a try this holiday season!