Food & Drink

How Chef Ann Kim Makes Cranberry Sauce

The Garden & Gun Club chef spices up her version with a simple riff

Photo: ann kim

Preparing the Thanksgiving spread can often mean spending the day laboring over the perfect roast bird, or baking a full roster of decadent pies. That’s why the chef Ann Kim of the Garden & Gun Club in Atlanta keeps a few key elements simple. Her signature cranberry sauce, for example, subtly riffs on the traditional recipe, promising low effort and high reward. “You just drop everything in a pot and let it go,” she says. “It’s as easy as that.” 

When developing the recipe, Kim kept the sauce’s simplicity intact while making some tweaks of her own. “When most people make cranberry sauce, they usually just use cranberries, orange juice, and sugar,” she notes. “I like to go just a little further to make it really stand out on the table.” In her version, fresh ginger, orange peel, and cinnamon layer in a hint of spice, while a diced Fuji apple adds texture to the otherwise smooth final product.

According to Kim, the greatest thing about cranberry sauce is its versatility beyond the Thanksgiving turkey. “I love spreading it on biscuits, toast, and muffins,” she says. “You could also use it as a compote in cranberry cheesecake.” Perhaps its greatest vehicle, however, is the classic day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich. “I spread the cranberry sauce on a soft Hawaiian roll with some leftover ham or turkey and an egg, and it’s just perfect.”


    • 1 12 oz.–bag of fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed

    • 1 Fuji apple, peeled and diced in medium-sized cubes

    • 2 slices fresh ginger

    • 1 orange peeling (peeled in a long strip using a peeler)

    • 2 cinnamon sticks

    • 1 cup apple juice

    • 1 cup sugar

    • ¼ tsp. salt


  1. Place all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes. The cranberries will pop and break down, helping thicken the sauce. 

  2. Remove sauce from heat and remove ginger, orange peel, and cinnamon sticks. 

  3. Transfer the sauce to a container and chill. Due to its sugar content, the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.