Cranberry Sauce Challah

It’s time for another Thanksgiving Challah! I love these. I have made pumpkin challah, turkey-shaped challah, and more pumpkin challah! This year, I am stuffing my challah with my mom’s cranberry sauce.

I have always loved my mom’s cranberry sauce. Since it was such a simple recipe, for years I searched for one that was even better. I would make them and then say, “nope, mom’s was better.” So, it is now the only recipe I use. Of course, you can stuff your challah with whatever cranberry sauce you like, but I have included my mom’s here…just because I am being nice and think everyone should have this easy and delicious recipe.

I also wanted to make sure there is cranberry sauce in every bite, so I used a jelly roll technique and then did a single-strand braid.

Finally, I was torn between two ways to top the challah, sliced almonds for texture or white icing for sweetness. I opted for the almonds, but this would also be very nice with a thin layer of white icing.

If it turns out well, I will share the pomegranate molasses turkey recipe I am developing for the new cookbook. Fingers crossed that this will be a keeper.

Cranberry Sauce Challah

Mom’s Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 package cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice


  • 3/4 c water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 more for egg wash
  • 3 tbsp canola or other neutral oil
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp sliced, blanched almonds


Mom’s Cranberry Sauce

Place cranberries, sugar, and orange juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until berries pop, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl; cool slightly. Refrigerate in a covered container.


Add the yeast and sugar to warm water in mixing bowl. Allow yeast to proof about 10 minutes.

Add the egg and olive oil and mix well. Then add the flour and salt. Mix by hand or on a stand mixer until a ball forms. 

Place in oiled bowl and cover in plastic wrap or a towel. Allow to rise at about an hour and a half, until dough has doubled in size. (I put my dough in the fridge overnight to rise until I am ready to bake the next day, this allows more flavor to develop in the dough).

For a single-strand challah braid: Flatten the dough into a rectangle, about 10” x 12” or wider. Spread the cranberry sauce on the dough, leaving a 1” border around the edges. Starting at the long end farthest from you, roll towards you, rolling the dough up like a jelly roll.  Pinch the ends and the seam together and roll the rope back and forth to seal the seam and lengthen the rope to about 24” (or longer). 

Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat liner. To do a single strand braid, fold the strand in half and twist the folded end. Place on the parchment and continue twisting the dough.  Pinch and seal the end together and tuck under the braid. Cover and allow to rise an additional 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350F.

Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle the top with almond slices. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden and the internal temperature is over 200F.


Makes 1 loaf


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Such a great idea! Looks so delicious. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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