As a professional home cook and recipe developer, I’m always game to change things up, even at a holiday meal. But, if you ask me, certain holiday dishes, like cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving are essential. You can play with them, but don’t think of skipping them. Making cranberry sauce is easy to do—you can even use your slow cooker—and you may be surprised at how inventive you can get, if you want. Check out these 7 cranberry sauce recipes and prepare to be inspired.


Cranberry Sauce recipes: Classic cranberry sauce | My Baking Addiction

Jaimie at My Baking Addiction keeps it simple with her version of Homemade Cranberry Sauce. This recipes calls for sugar, water, OJ, cranberries, and pumpkin pie spice. You can stir in Grand Marnier at the end (decadent!) or leave it out. You’ll still get a delicious result.


Cranberry sauce recipes: Cranberry Citrus Chutney | Dixie Crystals

If you like the idea of a cranberry sauce with the booze cooked right in–more for flavor than anything else since the alcohol will mostly cook off–try this Cranberry Citrus Chutney created by one of my favorite food bloggers, Paula of bell’alimento, for Dixie Crystals. Paula is a master of Italian cuisine and cooks red wine right into her sauce—so lovely!


Related: Make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes for a delectably easy menu.

Cranberry sauce recipes: Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce | The Vintage Mixer

Looking to reduce the amount of refined sugar in your cranberry sauce, perhaps so that you may eat an extra sweet slice of pie after dinner? This recipe for Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce from The Vintage Mixer is a great option using no added sugar. Just pineapple juice and honey. Kind of makes it easier to justify the calories.


Cranberry sauce recipes: Rosemary Cranberry Sauce | 40 Aprons

The simple addition of a fresh herb makes a big difference in this Rosemary Cranberry Sauce (above and at top) from 40 Aprons. If you’re having a classic Thanksgiving meal, the hint of rosemary will pair perfectly with turkey and pick up on all of the other tastes on your holiday table.


Cranberry sauce recipes: Spicy Cranberry Pepper Chutney | From Away

If you like it hot—or if have a southwest Thanksgiving thing happening (what can I say, I think in food themes!)—try this Spicy Cranberry Pepper Chutney at From Away. The addition of jalapeño peppers gives this traditional Thanksgiving dish a contemporary kick that foodie families will love.


Slow cooker cranberry sauce recipes | One Hungry Mama

These recipes are all wonderful, but sometimes in all of the holiday madness, you just need to make things easy on yourself, throw ingredients in a slow cooker, and know that something delectable will come out. That’s the case with my own recipe for Slow Cooker Cranberry Pear Sauce. Just make sure to cook this at least the night before serving, so that the sauce has time to thicken in the refrigerator.


Cranberry sauce recipes: Cranberry jelly in a can | Food52

Red wine, jalapeños, citrus zest–if that’s all way too highfalutin for you, you need this homemade cranberry jelly in a can. Yes, in a can. The recipe, found on Food52 and adapted from one by Marisa McLellan, author of one of our Preserving the Pint, one of our favorite cookbooks, is a simple jelly recipe that’s ingeniously set in an empty, cleaned out tin can. Just like when we were kids, but way better—as holidays should be!

Need more Thanksgiving help? Check out our Thanksgiving Dinner Pinterest board for tons of recipes.