Cranberry Pan Sauces for Pork Chops (or Poultry)

Pan sauce time! Similar to gravy, with a pan sauce, you want the juices and “browned bits” from your meat to be incorporated into the sauce, so you first cook your meat, remove it to a plate, and then add your sauce ingredients to the pan so they soak up all that flavor.


These two cranberry pan sauces are pretty similar in deliciousness. I usually make the Cranberry Orange Pan Sauce, and recently happened upon the Cranberry Maple Pan Sauce when the family ate all the oranges. 

The Cranberry Orange Pan sauce is adapted from this recipe, which works with turkey cutlets in place of pork chops (either sauce works with pork or poultry and is written up to make 4 servings). The recipe calls for these 3 ingredients to make the sauce. 

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (we usually use 1/2 cup fresh cranberries as they are coming in fresh from the CSA)

Keep a splash of broth or white wine, more orange juice, and maple syrup nearby for your final tastings/additions. The recipe itself is very simple.

After you cook your meat, you remove it to a plate and keep it warm while adding the 3 ingredients to your pan. Be sure to scrape any of the browned bits from your pan off the bottom so it is incorporated into the sauce.


Bring your sauce to a boil and cook for 7ish minutes until the cranberries are softened, stirring and adding a splash of broth, maple syrup, and/or more OJ if it is reducing too quickly. (Taste the sauce for sweetness to help you decide which liquid to add. You’ll want to wind up with just under a cup of sauce.)

Serve a few spoonfuls over your meat and enjoy!


This Cranberry Pan Sauce was the recipe I tried in a pinch, and found it to be deliciously decadent!  

  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or dried thyme to taste- a sprinkle to 1/4 tsp)
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil (you can also skip the thyme and olive oil and sub thyme herbed butter if you have)
  • 1 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard

After cooking your chops, transfer them to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep them warm. Add your ingredients to the pan and raise the heat to medium high.

Cook, whisking to incorporate the mustard and any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 7 minutes (until the cranberries soften and the liquid has reduced to a “saucy” consistency).

The original recipe calls for you to add your chops back to the pan and turn them in the sauce (I skipped this step on one chop due to picky kids, but I did drain the accumulated juice from the sitting chops back to the pan).

Top each chop with a couple of spoonfuls of sauce on top (or on the side if your kids are picky). Enjoy!

About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A long time member of Springdell and a busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food.