Cranberry curd is sweet, tart, and so delicious. Made from fresh or frozen cranberries and flavored with orange juice and orange zest, this cranberry curd is a perfect cake or cupcake filling and can be used for so much more!
Ingredients for Cranberry Curd
- Cranberries – Use fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe.
- Granulated sugar – Adds sweetness to balance the tart and bitter flavor of the cranberries.
- Water – Water helps dissolve the sugar and create cranberry puree.
- Orange juice – Fresh is best! Be sure to zest before you juice.
- Orange zest – Use a zester or very fine grater to zest an orange. You will need the zest of about one orange.
- Egg yolks – Large egg yolks create a thick and creamy texture. Save the egg whites for making Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
- Unsalted butter – Cold unsalted butter creates a silky smooth texture.
How to Make Cranberry Curd
The process of making cranberry curd is similar to making lemon curd! Here is a basic breakdown of the steps involved:
- Combine cranberries, granulated sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and water in a saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the cranberry mixture from the heat. Use an immersion blender to puree the cranberry mixture. (See tips for other options)
- Whisk egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly drizzle the hot cranberry puree into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. If you choose to strain the curd, this is the time to run it through a fine-mesh strainer. (See tips for more info)
- Transfer the mixture back to a saucepan and cook over low heat for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add cold, cubed butter one cube at a time whisking in between each addition.
- Pour the cranberry curd to a heat-proof container. Cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using.
Cranberry Curd Recipe Tips
Fresh or frozen cranberries
Fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries can be used in this recipe. Cranberries tend to be seasonal, so they are not readily available throughout the year. Cranberry curd is perfect for fall and winter baking and is great for Thanksgiving and Christmas treats!
Fresh orange juice and orange zest
To have a bright, citrusy flavor, I highly recommend using fresh orange juice and zest. Be sure to zest the orange before you juice! For this recipe, you will need the zest and juice from about one orange.
To create a smooth cranberry puree, I recommend using an immersion blender, after the cranberries have cooked and reduced. If you do not have an immersion blender, you could also use a food processor or regular blender. Be careful as adding hot liquid to a blender or food processor can be a dangerous feat. Allow the steam to escape so the cranberry puree doesn’t explode all over your kitchen.
To strain or not to strain?
Straining the cranberry curd is an optional step. If you are able to blend the cranberry puree until it is very smooth, you may not need to strain it. If you notice small bits of cranberry skin in the curd, you may wish to strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any small bits. I typically do not strain the curd and the texture and taste are perfect.
Tempering the eggs
A key step to getting this cranberry curd perfect is to temper the egg yolks. Tempering basically means that we are slowing increasing the temperature of the egg yolks by gradually adding the hot cranberry puree and whisking constantly. This prevents the egg yolks from scrambling which does not make for a delicious cranberry curd.
Storing and serving
Store the cranberry curd in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I love using cranberry curd as a cake and cupcake filling. Be sure to check out my recipe for cranberry orange cupcakes! You could also add a spoonful to a slice of cheesecake or ice cream, fill linzer cookies, spread onto toast or scones, or create a cranberry curd tart.
Be sure to check out my recipe for cranberry orange cupcakes where this cranberry curd is the star of the show!
- Immersion blender, blender, or food processor
- Fine mesh sieve optional
- 12 oz cranberries fresh or frozen
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tsp orange zest
- ½ cup water
- 3 egg yolks
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter cold and cubed
- In a medium saucepan, combine fresh or frozen cranberries, granulated sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and water. Cook the cranberry mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture will bubble, reduce, and thicken slightly.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Transfer the cranberry mixture to a blender, food processor, or heat-safe container to use an immersion blender to puree the cranberry mixture until smooth. Be careful as the mixture will be hot.
- Add egg yolks to a large bowl and whisk until broken up. Very slowly drizzle the hot cranberry mixture into the egg yolks whisking constantly to temper the egg yolks so they do not scramble. Transfer the cranberry mixture back to a saucepan and place over low heat. Cook the mixture for an additional 3 minutes whisking constantly until thickened.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add in cold, cubed unsalted butter, one cube at a time, whisking in between each addition.
- Once all the butter is added, melted, and well combined into the cranberry curd, transfer the curd to a heat-safe container. Cover the cranberry curd with a lid or plastic wrap and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, chill the curd in the refrigerator for at least two hours before using.