3 Kids, a Mom, & a Kitchen: Thanksgiving Cranberry Slushies

3 kids, a mom & a kitchen: lemon pound cake

One of my family’s Thanksgiving traditions is cranberry slush. This recipe originated with my great-grandmother and has been loyally passed down through the generations. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve had cranberry slush every single Thanksgiving of my life. Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without cranberry slush!

cranberry slush copy

Cranberry slush is a slushie drink made from cranberries, cranberry juice, and ginger ale and it is DELICIOUS. There’s a reason we all keep making it year after year! My kids all love it and happily drink it down every November. The recipe involves prepping most of the ingredients ahead of time and then freezing it for the big day. I usually do all of that alone one night a few days before Thanksgiving, but this year I decided to get my girls in on the action. I am so glad that I did. They had so much fun prepping the slush with me and worked together really well on it. I think they felt honored to be the ones making this special drink for the family.

making cranberry slush with kids

Cranberry slush ended up being a great recipe to make with the kids and it was definitely a success. Read more to find out how kids can get involved and to get the recipe!

Choosing the Recipe

I chose this recipe to make with my girls because I wanted to get them more personally involved with this family tradition. It also seemed like a recipe that would be easy for them to help with. I already knew that they love drinking cranberry slush, so it was fun having them make something that they were excited to drink later.


I already knew everyone loves how this recipe tastes, but I was curious to see if they would have fun making it. Both girls did! In fact, I thought they would complain about the straining part of the recipe (keep reading to find out more!), but they actually loved working on that together. I will for sure have them help with this recipe every year from now on!

thanksgiving cranberry slush recipe rankings

Steps Where Kids Can Get Involved

  • This recipe involves straining whole cranberry sauce through a fine metal colander or sieve. This takes a little elbow grease and time and, honestly, I hate doing it myself. I couldn’t wait to hand the reins over to the kids. The good news is they loved doing it! Cate (9) ended up doing most of the straining while Anna (6) held the bowl steady. I couldn’t believe how well they worked together on this and I didn’t have to do any of it!
  • Mixing the strained cranberries with the juice is a great task to get the kids’ help on.

making cranberry slush with kids

making cranberry slush with kids

The Tasting

There was no tasting for this recipe because we’re saving the slush for Thanksgiving! Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. I caught Anna stealing tastes of the cranberry sauce a few times! Like I said, the kids are familiar with this recipe and they both love it, so I know the final product will be a hit when it gets mixed in a few weeks.

The Recipe

Without further ado, the recipe! This recipe is simple but the rewards are great!

making cranberry slush with kids

cranberry slush vert copy

Cranberry Slushies

From Jane Maynard (technically from Jane’s Great-Grandma Blomquist)

Serves around 12 (Our family always doubles this recipe so we have plenty on Thanksgiving and for leftovers.)


  • 2 cans whole cranberry sauce (not jellied)
  • 1 ½ quarts cranberry juice
  • 1 quart ginger ale


  1. Run 2 cans of whole cranberry sauce through a fine metal colander using a wooden pestle (see photos of the girls above) or press through a fine metal sieve using a large spoon (click here for a photo). Keep pressing until there are just skins in the colander or sieve.
  2. Add 1 quart of the cranberry juice to the strained cranberry sauce. Mix well then freeze. I like to use flat storage containers so it’s easier to break up later (see photo above). Freeze for at least 1 day prior to serving.
  3. When you’re ready to serve the slush, break up the frozen cranberry mixture in a large bowl and mix with the rest of the cranberry juice and the ginger ale. I use a potato masher to mix it all together. It should have slushy consistency.
  4. If you’re interested in the original recipe that involves cooking fresh cranberries, click here. No one in our family ever makes the slush that way — it’s more work and the version with canned cranberry sauce tastes just as good!
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