California Figs Cranberry Sauce Recipe

By  | 

My wife and I have hosted our fair share of Thanksgiving dinners over the past 17 years. Our very first year of marriage we had more than 10 of my family members in attendance.

It was a great feast, despite a glass Pyrex dish exploding in the kitchen and my Aunt Pat straining the mashed potatoes through paper towels to capture shards of glass.

Matt and Anna - First Thanksgiving

We’ve come a long way since then.

We’ve hosted Thanksgiving on vacation – where we made dinner in a series of crockpots while we played at the beach all day.

We’ve hosted Thanksgiving for just our family of five – when two of us had the stomach flu, and we didn’t dare risk spreading the germs.

We’ve hosted Thanksgiving for both of our families with aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews in attendance.

Whether we’ve hosted for 25 guests or just the five of us, one dish on our Thanksgiving table has always been more for tradition than for something edible.

Cranberry sauce.

In the past, we’ve always just opened a can and slopped it onto a dish minutes before placing it on the table for everyone to take one obligatory bite.

So this year, I teamed up with my friends at California Figs to create a cranberry sauce that will not be an afterthought on your Thanksgiving table.

Learn More about California Figs

California Figs Cranberry Sauce

To be honest, I didn’t know a lot about California Figs until a few months ago when my friend mentioned that he was trying to incorporate more of them into his diet because they’re such a great source of fiber.

Apparently this is what guys talk about after the age of 40.

I grabbed some dried figs from the grocery store and realized just how good they really are. Since then, our whole family has been on a bit of a “fig kick” – with my daughter taking them to school as a snack and my wife and I eating a few each day.

Did you know that 100% of dried figs and 98% of fresh figs grown commercially in the US are from California? You can find California Fresh Figs in major grocery stores May – November, but you can find California Dried Figs year-round (usually in the produce or dried fruit section).

I love that they’re a great source of fiber and have no added sugar, but my kids just love that they taste sweet and are on our list of “have as many as you want.”

My wife loves them because they’re said to be an aphrodisiac.

California Figs Cranberry Sauce

California Figs has published a new cookbook that is full of fun fig facts as well as 62 recipes that incorporate fresh or dried California Figs. I’ve tried three of the recipes so far, and I highly recommend this cookbook. (You’re especially going to want to try the California Fig Cinnamon Rolls on page 26. Trust me.)

Click here to learn more about California Figs and to purchase the cookbook. (It would make a great gift!)

Thanksgiving Practice / “Friendsgiving”

California Figs Cranberry Sauce

A couple weeks ago my wife hosted a “practice” Thanksgiving meal.

Who knew that was a thing?

She called it a “Friendsgiving,” but from what I can tell it was just an excuse to get together with friends and eat turkey a few weeks before Thanksgiving.

California Figs Cranberry Sauce

I’m not complaining though.

It was warm enough to sit by the fire, and I got to try out my California Fig Cranberry Sauce on people I’m not related to.  They gave it a 5 out of 5.

This did not surprise me.

California Figs Cranberry Sauce

How to Make California Fig Cranberry Sauce

If you’re someone that usually opens a can of cranberry sauce and calls it Thanksgiving, don’t be intimidated by making this cranberry sauce from scratch. It’s surprisingly easier than you think, and I have it all listed out step-by-step in the recipe card.

California Figs Cranberry Sauce - My Life and Dads

To start, you’ll slice your dried figs in half or quarters.

Then, you’ll bring half a bottle of Pinot Grigio to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and add in your figs. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

While your figs are soaking in wine, you’re going to bring a mixture of sauteed shallots (basically just fancy onions), ginger, brown sugar, white sugar, honey and orange juice to a simmer. You’ll add fresh or frozen cranberries a little at a time and stir until the cranberries float to the surface and start to pop. (You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about as soon as you make this recipe.)

California Figs Cranberry Sauce

Stir in some Balsamic Vinegar. Next, you’ll strain your figs and add them to your cranberry sauce. You may want to add in some of the remaining Pinot Grigio from the fig sauce as well.  Add salt to taste, and then you’re finished.

It’s easier than it sounds. Trust me.

California Figs Cranberry Sauce

The sweetness of the figs combined with the tartness of the cranberries really rounds out the palate. And the figs bring a chewy, satisfying burst to each bite.

Those are my wife’s words. Not mine. Personally, I just say that this is really, really good, but apparently that’s not a good enough description for the blogging world. I’m learning.

This California Fig Cranberry Sauce can be stored in the fridge for days, making it a great recipe to prepare a few days ahead of your Thanksgiving feast.


California Figs Cranberry Sauce

California Figs Cranberry Sauce

This homemade California Figs Cranberry Sauce recipe will take your canned cranberry sauce to a whole new level. This easy recipe uses fresh cranberries and dried figs and is the best, simple cranberry sauce ever. (In my opinion.) It will be a star on your Thanksgiving table and is perfect for leftovers.

  • Author: Matt Luther
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 40 min
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Homemade
  • Cuisine: Thanksgiving


  • 1 ½ cups Pinot Grigio
  • 1215 dried California Figs, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 lb fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring Pinot Grigio to a simmer.
  2. Remove from heat and add California Figs. Cover and let set for 30 minutes.
  3. While figs are soaking, heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven.
  4. Saute ginger and shallots, until soft and fragrant (about 3 minutes). 
  5. Add brown sugar, white sugar, honey and orange juice. Stir continuously until the mixture bubbles and the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Add 1/2 of the cranberries (about 1/2 pound) and cook until the mixture thickens and the cranberries pop and float to the surface (usually 4 – 6 minutes.) Stir continuously.
  7. Add the remaining cranberries and cook for another 4 – 6 minutes.
  8. Drain the figs (keep 1/2 cup of the fig liquid) and add to the cranberry sauce.
  9. Stir well and add in the Balsamic Vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  10. Add additional fig liquid one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  11. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.


Store in the refrigerator for up to one week before eating.

Keywords: Thanksgiving, side, cranberry sauce, California figs, dried figs

This is a paid post. All opinions are my own.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login