Balsamic Cranberry-Fig Compote

October 13, 2020Recipe Development

This cranberry-fig compote is not your grandma’s cranberry sauce.

This cranberry compote, with a splash of balsamic vinegar and dried figs, is a bit more complex flavor-wise than the usual cranberry sauce. But it’s just as easy to make.

Grab those in-season cranberries to make this easy cocktail >>

The result is an autumn MVP condiment — delicious alongside your Thanksgiving turkey (or even any-night roast chicken or pork), on a cheese board, or even as topping on yogurt or ice cream.

Serve this compote with this easy dry-brined turkey >>

I’ve got to admit that I was well into adulthood before I came to love cranberry sauce and appreciate its sweet-tart appeal in the context of a rich holiday meal. That’s probably because my mom always flung the canned stuff on the buffet as a colorful afterthought in the rush of getting everything else ready. But any homemade cranberry sauce is dead easy to make and well worth the effort. You can make this one up to several weeks in advance and let it hang out in the fridge while its flavors marry and develop.

Balsamic Cranberry-Fig Compote Recipe Notes

  • Don’t skip the step of soaking the dried figs. It helps them soften so they meld with the cranberries.
  • You can substitute dried dates for the figs. 
  • If you’re making this earlier in the fall, when fresh figs are available, you could use those instead of dried. In that case, skip the soaking step and add the chopped fresh figs with the cranberries.
  • Try pomegranate molasses in place of the balsamic vinegar. However, because the molasses is thicker and sweeter than vinegar, use just 1 tablespoon.

In the summer, make this Plum Compote with Cardamom >>

Balsamic Cranberry-Fig Compote recipe

Balsamic Cranberry-Fig Compote

Serve this compote with turkey, chicken, or pork. Or add it to a cheese plate.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 16


  • 1 chef's knife
  • 1 Microplate zester
  • 1 large saucepan


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced, divided
  • 1 cup dried figs chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 (10- to 12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt


  • Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat, and stir in the juice and figs. Let stand 15 minutes.
  • Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the sugar and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Stir in the cranberries. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until the cranberries are starting to burst. Remove from heat. Stir in the vinegar, zest, and salt. Cool completely. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate up to 3 weeks. (Makes about 2 cups.)
Keyword condiment, vegan, vegetarian


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