Small Batch Pear Cranberry Compote

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

By the time November rolls around, the abundance of summer is well behind us. No more mountains of peaches and plums at the farmers’ markets, just pumpkins, potatoes and hearty greens. It’s enough to make a preserver hang up her canning pot until spring.

However, I’ve found that if I spend just a little bit of time searching out ingredients, there’s still a world of delicious things just waiting to be cooked up and put into jars.

All photos by Marisa

Chief among those this time of year are pears and cranberries.

Not only do they both come in a world of varieties, but they make such excellent sauces, jams and butters. I like to cook with thin-skinned pears like Bartlett, Bosc or Anjou pears, because they don’t need to be peeled before cooking.

This is the first year that I’ve combined the two, and I must confess, I’m smitten with the result. This preserve is halfway between a sauce and a butter, making it good both for stirring into yogurt or dolloping atop a short stack of pancakes (or, if I’m being entirely honest, eating straight out of the jar).

My latest batch made two full pints and I’ve stashed them both in my younger sister’s pantry. She’s currently expecting her first baby, and I’m imagining her eating this compote one-handed, stirred into some cottage cheese.

I do so love the idea of stocking her kitchen with useful food for those late nights and early mornings.

TIP: And if you’ve never tried them, make sure to search out some of those red and white striped cranberries this season. They are sweeter than their crimson cousins.

Pear Cranberry Compote

If you're planning your Thanksgiving menu already, this pear cranberry compote would complement the turkey quite nicely. Just skip the canning process and store jars in the refrigerator for up to ten days.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Preserves
Servings: 2 pints
Calories: 901kcal
Author: Marisa


  • 3 pounds pears thin-skinned
  • 1 pint cranberries approximately 8 ounces
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated


  • Chop pears into small pieces. Place in a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot. Add cranberries and orange juice.
  • Put a lid on the pot and place it over low heat. Cook until the pears are very, very soft and the cranberries have popped, about 1 hour.
  • When the pears are soft, use a potato masher to break the fruit. Add the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir to combine.
  • Raise temperature to medium-high heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 5-7 minutes, to help evaporate the liquid in the compote. When it has darkened in color and no longer looks watery, it is done.
  • Funnel compote into prepared pint jars and process in a boiling water for 20 minutes. Be sure to read our post on Canning Basics if you have any questions.
  • When time is up, place jars on a folded kitchen towel to cool. Once jars are cool, check seals and store in a cool, dark place.


Calories: 901kcal | Carbohydrates: 237g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 1052mg | Fiber: 33g | Sugar: 178g | Vitamin A: 375IU | Vitamin C: 76.2mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 1.8mg


How do you like to use fresh cranberries?

About Marisa

Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated small batch canner who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first book, titled Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.

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  1. Rebecca ~ Sweet Baby Yams says

    This looks delicious! I have been so hesitant to can anything and I’m trying to get over that fear. This recipe might be the one to do it.

  2. Yum! I love cranberries. I like to make cranberry relish for Thanksgiving, but i’m not sure why we don’t have it more often in the winter. It is a great alternative to mayo on sandwiches. I think I will have to try this recipe though. I like anything that is versatile, and this looks to be it!

  3. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says

    can’t wait to try this!

  4. I like cranberries in loaves of pumpkin bread or muffins! This Pear Compote sounds fabulous – I hope I can make it soon!

  5. Can thawed frozen cranberries be used? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fresh cranberry in California

  6. 5 stars
    Wow that looks great! Cool that you’re in Philly. I live about an hour and half south into MD and am very interested in canning!

  7. What about canned? Italians don’t seem to carry cranberries anywhere but pears are abundant (no clue about their skin type though) and I can only find canned at military grocery. I’d love to make a relish or this compote.

    • I don’t have any idea how well it would work with canned cranberries. The only canned cranberries I’ve ever seen are those that have already been cooked into a sauce, and I don’t think that would work in this application. If they were plain, canned cranberries, they could be okay.

      • Good news! Drove 1.5 hours away to another installation and found some! Bought them all. Sorry other Americans looking for cranberries… I will make the chutney and some compote. Very happy. Now if only I could find some whole all spice…

  8. Gorgeous compote! Definitely something to try this season, yum.

  9. Yum! I am not much of a cook, although I am learning! This looks so easy, may have to give it a try!

  10. how many pints will this make?

  11. This is cooking as we speak and it smells so wonderful! I cannot wait to eat it. Thanks!

  12. This really sounds totally delightful… Im afraid I just might have to make some too.. haha..
    I still have pumpkin butter on the horizon to make in the not too far off future.. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for pears! YUM!

  13. You can’t see me, but I’m doing a little “raise the roof” dance over here about pears and cranberries. I always do a pear, cranberry and sour cherry pie for Thanksgiving, but maybe I should take that over to compote-land too.

    • Wow, Casey. Is that recipe on your site. Although, no idea if I could find sour cherries around here.

      • Sigh – it’s not on the site yet because I have neglected to take a picture of it every year! Arrghh. It’ll be up next year – I’m not letting it get away this time.

        Sour cherries are probably way out of season for you too. I usually get a bunch when they’re here in June/July and then freeze pounds of ’em for the winter. You could try it with the jarred kind if you’re desperate!

  14. Yummy!

  15. Should you remove the seeds?

  16. 5 stars
    I just made this last night and the results were AMAZING. My boyfriend, who normally isn’t a fan of tart things, had several spoonfuls while I wasn’t looking. I used what wouldn’t fit in my cans over ice cream after a nice dinner.

  17. This looks amazing!

  18. I made this for Thanksgiving. It was a big hit!

  19. Jana Parkhill says

    5 stars
    Thank you. All I have is small batches of fruit. This helps a great deal.

  20. Will this keep in the freezer if I don’t can it in jars?

  21. Is freezing this instead of canning an option?

    • You can certainly freeze this compote instead of canning it. Just make sure to leave ample headspace so that as the product expands, it has someplace to go.

  22. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and make it every year! This year I wanted to quadruple it. Will that work? All in one pot at once. Thanks!

    • You can certainly double it, but I wouldn’t quadruple it in a single pot unless you have a giant, low wide pan. It’s not going to cook down well otherwise.