Carry Thanksgiving into Shabbat by swirling your leftover cranberry sauce into homemade challah.

I tried four methods and found that the two that worked best were:

  • Braided, with homemade cranberry sauce (canned did not work well at all)
  • Studded with dried cranberries (fresh did not taste good)

For the cranberry sauce method, roll your dough into rectangles (see picture), spread with cranberry sauce, and then roll up into a rope, carefully sealing the edges. Then braid. As you can see, one of my strands split open, but it was manageable.

For the other method, first soak the dried cranberries in warm water for 15-20 minutes to plump them up. You can add them to the dough either before or after it rises. You can roll strands and braid this one too. I chose an easier method of rolling the dough into 5-6 evenly-ish sized balls. Once it rises and bakes, it looks similar enough to a braid.

What would make this challah even better—but I only thought of afterwards—is a streusel crumb topping (which you can see on my raisin challah here), and I will include the recipe below.


  • 2¼ tsp. dry yeast (0.25 oz. / 7 grams)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs, divided (1 for the dough, 1 for the egg-wash)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Approximately 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup homemade cranberry sauce OR a handful of dried cranberries


NOTE: Read the instructions in the text above, too. It includes important information about this recipe.

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in ¼ cup warm water in a medium-sized bowl. Let sit about 15 minutes until thick and frothy.
  2. Add the egg, honey, oil, salt, remaining ¾ cup of water, and 3 cups of the flour. Mix until a loose batter forms. Add the rest of the flour slowly. You may not need it all, so go slowly towards the end. Alternatively, you may need slightly more. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Once the dough has enough flour, knead it well (you can do this by hand or with a stand mixer.)
  3. Cover the dough with a wet towel or plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for about 1-1½ hours. Dough should double in size.
  4. Tip the dough out onto your work surface and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. This recipe can make one generous-sized challah or two smaller ones.
  6. Divide your dough and roll out long rectangles (3 per challah). Spread a generous amount of cranberry sauce over the dough, leaving the edges clear (see picture above). Gently roll up each rectangle into a long rope. Pinch the three strands together and braid, tucking the ends underneath.
  7. Transfer the loaves to a lightly greased loaf pan (or a baking sheet).
  8. Beat the egg and gently brush over the loaves. Optional: add crumb topping, recipe below.
  9. Cover loosely and leave in a warm place to rise for another 30-40 minutes.
  10. Bake at 375° F for 23-25 minutes for 2 small loaves, longer for 1 larger. Loaves should be golden on top, and firm on the bottom.

Crumb Topping

I didn’t think of adding this until after I made mine, but would definitely do it next time!

  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil

Make the sweet crumb topping by putting the flour and sugar into a bowl. Slowly add the vanilla and oil, mixing with a spoon, or your fingertips until it reaches crumb consistency. Egg wash the loaves and sprinkle with crumb topping.