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Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe from Susan Stamberg and NPR

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Maybe only a handful of you have ever shared Thanksgiving with me. It's no big whoops. For a few years there, I rocked the meal, making the perfect brined and butter-basted turkey.
Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe from Susan Stamberg and NPR

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish

Maybe it's been since 1993 that I have known Susan Stamberg as an NPR mainstay and probably November 1993, when I became aware of this shocking pink cranberry relish -- and I have been imposing Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish on every Thanksgiving dinner ever since, whether the host likes it or not, whether they asked for it or not, and whether or not anyone actually eats any.

Just throw everything into a food processor and it's ready to throw into the freezer -- the most important step. Or, you can use a blender or a hand blender. But still, be sure to throw it all into a plastic container and throw it into the freezer for a deep freeze at least for a night. But please be sure to take it out of the freezer and let it thaw on its own before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe's Origins

As Susan Stamberg has noted, her mother-in-law got the recipe from a 1959 New York Times clipping of Craig Claiborne's recipe for cranberry relish. In 1993, Claiborne told Stamberg: "Susan, I am simply delighted. We have gotten more mileage, you and I, out of that recipe than almost anything I've printed."


  • 2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed
  • 1 small onion
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar ("red is a bit milder than white")
Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe

Preparation Instructions

  • Grind the raw berries and onion together. ("I use an old-fashioned meat grinder," says Stamberg. "I'm sure there's a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind -- not a puree.")
  • Add everything else and mix.
  • Put in a plastic container and freeze.
  • Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. ("It should still have some little icy slivers left.")
  • The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink. ("OK, Pepto Bismol pink. It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It’s also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef.")
  • Makes 1-1/2 pints.

Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe