15 Cranberry Recipes for Thanksgiving 2016 That Prove Just How Versatile It Can Be

Everyone has a Thanksgiving feast favorite. Are you all about that glistening turkey? Do you have your eyes set on those candied yams? Or, are you more of a mashed potato person? If your favorite side is the cranberries, these Thanksgiving cranberry recipes will definitely send you diving for seconds. Even if you aren't a cranberry lover, these creative dishes might just change the way you see this Thanksgiving side.

Cranberries are a traditional Thanksgiving staple that you'll either insist on having with your turkey or pass straight over to Aunt Marge without a second thought. But, it's easy to forget that cranberries — when they're not in jelly form from a can — are actually an incredibly versatile berry that can be used in a number of ways you might have never even thought of. While they aren't as classic as a blueberry and they don't sound as cool as a boysenberry, it's difficult not to acknowledge that cranberries have this tart sweetness to them that just screams Thanksgiving. From using them in a side dish to turning them into a tasty dessert, there are plenty of ways to make the cranberries stand out at your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

So, whether you prefer your cranberries sweet or savory, check out these delicious Thanksgiving cranberry recipes to make the most of this little ingredient full of flavor.

1. Maple Apple Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce doesn't have to be the same every year. If you're looking to change up your Thanksgiving feast a little this year, try incorporating a few more seasonal ingredients for extra flavor and a unique twist on an old classic. This maple apple cranberry sauce combines all the flavors of autumn into one delicious sauce that's ready in less than 20 minutes. Add extra syrup if you prefer your sauce less on the tart side and more on the sweet side. Find the recipe at thekitchn.com.

2. Cranberry Maple Skillet Cornbread

Not every cranberry dish has to be a sauce. Cranberries are versatile enough to be included in many different breads, cakes, desserts, and side dishes. Another Thanksgiving classic, cornbread goes great with cranberries. This recipe uses maple syrup as a natural sweetener and a cast iron skillet to get that perfect golden finish. Find the recipe at cookieandkate.com.

3. Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

Speaking of cornbread, this cranberry cornbread stuffing is a twist on both cranberries and stuffing for Thanksgiving. Using spiced Italian sausage for an extra bit of richness, this stuffing recipe takes all of your Thanksgiving favorites and combines them into one incredible dish everyone will love. The sweetness of the cornbread mixed with the savory sausage and the tartness of the cranberries will send everyone reaching for more. Find the recipe at thecomfortofcooking.com.

4. Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Balls

If you're looking for a small appetizer to balance out your big Thanksgiving meal this year, these cranberry goat cheese balls are a light treat perfect to start the meal with. Whether you choose to put them on a pretzel stick or spread them on some crackers, these cheese balls are a simple and rich startto what is sure to be a delicious dinner. Find the recipe at momontimeout.com.

5. Harvest Crackers with Cranberries, Pecans, and Rosemary

What is better to spread some cranberry sauce or goat cheese on than some homemade crackers? These two-bite crackers can be baked in mini loaf pans and twice baked for an extra crunch. Filled with cranberries and nuts, there is no shortage of flavor in these tiny Thanksgiving treats. Your holiday guests will be searching the appetizer tray for more. Find the recipe at thekitchn.com.

6. Pomegranate Apple Cranberry Relish

A little bit of tartness and texture can go a long way when it comes to cranberries. You don't always have to cook them down into a jelly or a sauce to enjoy their natural flavors. This year, try using raw cranberries, diced apples, and pomegranate seeds for a crisp relish that will add an extra bit of depth to your Thanksgiving meal this year. Find the recipe at aspicyperspective.com.

7. Cranberry Persimmon and Burrata Salad

Sometimes a more savory dish is what's missing from the list of side dishes you're planning on preparing this Thanksgiving. For something a little bit lighter but also filled with flavor, try out this cranberry, persimmon, and burrata cheese salad. Persimmons and cranberries may not be ingredients you're used to working with, but the crispness of the persimmons and the tartness of the cranberries pair perfectly with the soft burrata cheese for a salad you'll wish you made every year. Find the recipe at halfbakedharvest.com.

8. Boozy Orange Blossom Cranberry Sauce

As many dishes as you can make out of cranberries, it's difficult to go wrong with a good cranberry sauce, especially when a little bit of alcohol is involved. Combining ginger, cinnamon, orange juice, and much more, this cranberry sauce is anything but traditional. It's perfect for eating alongside a delicious slice of turkey or spreading on some freshly baked bread. Find the recipe at toriavey.com.

9. Cranberry and Meyer Lemon Biscuits

Maybe cornbread isn't really your thing, and you'd much rather prefer a warm, flaky biscuit on the side of your Thanksgiving meal. These cranberry biscuits bring a zesty freshness to the meal with some Meyer lemons, making them perfect to pair with turkey or eat all on their own. You can even add a rich lemon butter on top for some extra flavor. Find the recipe at joythebaker.com.

10. Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread

Not everyone can enjoy the deliciousness that is bread during the holiday season — and let's face it, bread is the best. If you are looking for a cranberry bread recipe that's inclusive of special diets, try out this gluten-free cranberry bread. Let this bake while you prepare your other Thanksgiving side dishes and the kitchen will definitely smell incredible. Find the recipe at glutenfreeonashoestring.com.

11. Honey Satsuma Cranberry Sauce

One other cranberry sauce you can try out this year is honey satsuma cranberry sauce. Satsuma is a kind of fresh mandarin orange that can be used both in the sauce and sprinkled on top as a garnish, or for some extra zest. Combined with the sweetness of the honey and the tartness of the cranberries, this dish will be a beautiful (and delicious!) addition to your Thanksgiving table. Find the recipe at savorysweetlife.com.

12. Cranberry Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

When it comes to dessert, pumpkin pie and apple pie are the stars of the show during Thanksgiving. But, it doesn't hurt to try out some new desserts every once in a while, too. These incredible cookies are packed with cranberries, walnuts, chocolate chunks, and topped with a light drizzle of melted white chocolate (yum!) that will have you getting out the cookie sheet for years to come. Find the recipe at bakerella.com.

13. Cranberry Brie Cinnamon Sugar Swirls

Light, fluffy, and filled with flavor, these cranberry, brie, and cinnamon swirls are a rich bite that will leave your mouth watering for more. With only five ingredients, these puff pastry swirls are incredibly easy to make and can be rolled out in minutes. Get your rolling pin ready, because these are a treat everyone is going to want to try. Find the recipe at halfbakedharvest.com.

14. Creamy Cranberry and Pistachio Fudge

Another unconventional Thanksgiving dessert worth giving a try is this creamy cranberry and pistachio fudge. Making any kind of candy can seem difficult, especially on Thanksgiving when you already have to keep your mind on all the other dishes you're making. But, creating a delicious fudge doesn't have to be difficult. With only six ingredients, this is a dessert you can easily get started the morning or the night before Thanksgiving and forget about until the time comes to eat it. Find the recipe at tasteandtellblog.com.

15. Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

For something fun and simple the whole family can help out with this Thanksgiving, try out these cranberry and orange shortbread cookies. Dig out that carton of orange juice and grab a few handfuls of dried cranberries to put together this unbelievably easy dessert. Whether you're rolling them out for dessert or a pre-Thanksgiving dinner snack, you'll want to eat these hot out of the oven, because the smell will be irresistible. Find the recipe at momontimeout.com.

Now that you have a few ideas, transform those cranberries into a unique Thanksgiving treat for everyone to enjoy.

Images: Pixabay/chefjoannabarajas; thekitchn.com (2); cookieandkate.com; thecomfortofcooking.com; momontimeout.com (2); aspicyperspective.com; halfbakedharvest.com (2); toriavey.com; joythebaker.com; glutenfreeonashoestring.com; savorysweetlife.com; bakerella.com; tasteandtellblog.com