spicy cranberry chili de arbol sauce

A few weeks ago, I picked up a bag of dried chili de arbol at my local market with the intention of using it somewhere in my Thanksgiving menu. It was a case of impulse buying on my part as I just couldn’t say no to the pretty red chilis in the clear bag. As soon as I got home, I regretted buying them as I was clueless in its application or preparation.(Did I mention, I’ve never cooked with dried whole chilis before.)


They stayed shoved in the back of my spice cabinet while I made room for apple pie spices. And I completely forgot about them until my hubby mentioned cranberries. Given that they are his least favorite addition to the Thanksgiving table, he politely advised that it was totally ok if I was to skip making cranberry sauce this year. You know, to save me time.


Whoa Buddy. I happen to love cranberries, although it’s a lonely relationship since no one else in my family shares my enthusiasm for the tart berry. I’m also the main cook in the family, so if anything goes, it has to be the non appetizing Kraft’s Stove Top stuffing that Hubby insists on seeing at the T-table.


Yet, I have not given up on converting my husband. And, smoky spice is my ticket. The man pours sriracha, kochujang and tabasco on everything.


I’m making a healthy amount of sauce, some to use on a flatbread and the rest to reserve for the big day. This is definitely a make ahead recipe and can only get better as the spices blend together in the fridge.


spicy cranberry chili de arbol sauce

spicy cranberry chili de arbol sauce


  • 1 pound of cranberries(about 4 cups)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 7 dried chili de arbol (for a medium heat)
  • 1 c hot water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • juice from one orange
  • 3 tbs honey


  1. Soak dried peppers in 1 cup of boiling water for fifteen minutes or until softened.
  2. Once softened, pour peppers and water in a saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients into the saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Cool the cranberry mixture down, and puree in a blender.
  5. Strain the mixture over a sieve.
  6. The sauce can be made a week in advance, or freeze if longer than a week. Defrost and warm up before serving.

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1 Response

  1. Sora says:

    I tasted this last week and it was the best cranberry sauce I’ve ever had. I loved it. It was too sweet and I LOVED the kick.

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