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Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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close up shot of a bowl of Cranberry Sauce with a spoon
Add a bowl of this sweet cranberry sauce to your holiday table for a bright and festive addition to your turkey dinner.
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Table of Contents
  1. Homemade Cranberry Sauce Ingredients
  2. Cranberry Sauce Recipe Substitutions
  3. How To Make Cranberry Sauce from Scratch
  4. How To Serve the Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe
  5. Storing Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  6. What To Do With Leftover Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  7. A Tasty Recipe for Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  8. Classic Cranberry Sauce Recipe FAQ
  9. More Recipes You’ll Love
  10. JUMP TO RECIPE

When the weather cools and the holiday season approaches, this cranberry sauce is a classic dish that appears on so many holiday meal dinner tables. Tart cranberries are simmered with spices and orange for a tangy and sweet sauce that is the perfect complement to your Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey.

close up shot of a bowl of Cranberry Sauce with a spoon

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

Cranberry Sauce raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup of orange juice
  • 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

Cranberry Sauce Recipe Substitutions

SPICES: Cloves and cinnamon are optional but add a nice warm earthy flavor to the cranberry sauce.

CINNAMON: You can substitute ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon for the cinnamon stick.

FROZEN VS. FRESH: Frozen cranberries work just as well as fresh and may be more readily available. The cranberry sauce will take a few minutes longer to come to a boil than if using fresh cranberries.

SUGAR: Some recipes call for brown sugar rather than white sugar for cranberry sauce. Both work fine in this recipe. For a twist, you could also opt to use maple syrup as a sweetener instead.

ORANGE JUICE: You can use either fresh orange juice or orange juice made from concentrate in this perfect cranberry sauce recipe.

How To Make Cranberry Sauce from Scratch

Cranberry sauce can easily be made ahead of time and will keep in the refrigerator for up to ten days. It freezes well, too, so you could make a batch around Thanksgiving and freeze the extras for your Christmas dinner as well.

It’s also a great dish to preserve in mason jars and will keep for an extended period of time that way (please follow proper sterilizing and canning procedures).

Here’s how you make it:

STEP ONE: Combine the white sugar, water, and juice in a 12-inch large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Cranberry Sauce process shot of ingredients in a pan

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

If you prefer a slightly more tart cranberry sauce, you can adjust the amount of sugar, adding more or less sugar to suit your tastes.

STEP TWO: Add cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Heat over medium heat until the sauce returns to a boil.

add cranberries, cinnamon, and orange zest to the sugar mixture in a pot

PRO TIP:

The cranberries can be added to the pot either frozen or thawed. They will thaw pretty quickly while coming to a boil.

STEP THREE: Reduce heat to medium-low heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and turns deep red.

The sauce will thicken further as the sauce cools, so remove it from the heat as the sauce is approaching jam consistency.

Cranberry Sauce process shot of sauce being thickened in a pan

STEP FOUR: Remove from the heat and cool cranberry sauce. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

STEP FIVE: Transfer to an airtight container or airtight jars and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

PRO TIP:

When serving your cranberry sauce, make sure to put it in a pretty clear glass bowl so you can show off the bright vibrant deep red color of this yummy condiment.

How To Serve the Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Make sure this simple cranberry sauce makes an appearance in a serving dish at your Thanksgiving feast or Christmas dinner this year. Leftover sauce is also delicious to add to your leftover turkey sandwiches the next day.

There is really no reason you have to limit our best cranberry sauce recipe to the holiday season, though. Enjoy it all year round! While the most popular way to use cranberry is served on top of turkey, it is also delicious on chicken and ham.

Many people ask – is cranberry sauce served hot or cold?

The temperature you serve cranberry sauce is based on personal preference. Some people love warming it up to serve while others prefer it cold or at room temperature.

DISHES TO SERVE ALONGSIDE CRANBERRY SAUCE

For more popular fall and winter recipes, try our homemade pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin pie.

Storing Homemade Cranberry Sauce

IN THE FRIDGE: Store your homemade cranberry sauce, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can I freeze cranberry sauce?: Leftover cranberry sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 4 months.

PRESERVING: Cranberry sauce can be canned and stored at room temperature. Make sure you follow safe canning procedures. The jars must be processed in a hot water bath and must be sealed properly.

What To Do With Leftover Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Of course, the classic way to use leftover cranberry sauce is to add it to turkey sandwiches the day after your turkey dinner – you can also freeze it to use in your next holiday meal.

Cranberry sauce also makes a delicious sauce to add on the top of baked chicken breasts or pork and can also be used for quick breads and muffins.

close up shot of a pan of Cranberry Sauce with a spoon

A Tasty Recipe for Homemade Cranberry Sauce

It is so easy to make your own cranberry sauce and tastes much better than the canned stuff from the grocery store. Make sure this amazing sauce is part of your Thanksgiving dinner, and I guarantee it will be a huge hit.

Classic Cranberry Sauce Recipe FAQ

What to do with leftover cranberry sauce?

Of course, the classic way to use leftover cranberry sauce is to add it to turkey sandwiches the day after your turkey dinner, you can also freeze it to use in your next holiday meal. Cranberry sauce also makes a delicious sauce to add on the top of baked chicken breasts or pork and can also be used for quick breads and muffins.

Do you warm up cranberry sauce?

The temperature you serve cranberry sauce is based on personal preference. Some people love warming it up to serve while others prefer it cold or at room temperature. No matter how you serve it, it will make a delicious addition to your meal.

Can you make cranberry sauce ahead of time?

Cranberry sauce can easily be made ahead of time and will keep in the refrigerator for up to ten days. It also freezes well so you could make a batch around Thanksgiving and freeze the extras for your Christmas dinner as well. Cranberry sauce is also a great dish to preserve in mason jars and will keep for an extended period of time that way (please follow proper sterilizing and canning procedures).

What do you put cranberry sauce on? 

The most popular way to use cranberry is served on top of turkey. It would also be delicious on chicken or ham. 

What is Cranberry Sauce for?

Cranberry sauce is a popular condiment or side dish to serve along with turkey.

Why do we eat cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving?

It is believed that cranberries were a common and abundant food during the days of the pilgrims, and therefore, we enjoy cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving to keep with tradition.

How do you get the bitterness out of cranberry sauce?

Adding a small spoonful of maple syrup or honey will help eliminate any bitterness in your cranberry sauce.

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close up shot of a bowl of Cranberry Sauce with a spoon

The Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Add a bowl of this sweet cranberry sauce to your holiday table for a bright and festive addition to your turkey dinner.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions
 

  • Combine sugar, water, and juice in a 12-inch saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil.
  • Add cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Heat over medium until the sauce returns to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and turns deep red. The sauce will thicken further as it cools, so remove from heat as the sauce is approaching jam consistency.
  • Remove from heat and cool cranberry sauce. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Notes

  • If you prefer a slightly more tart cranberry sauce, you can adjust the amount of sugar, adding more or less sugar to suit your tastes.
  • The cranberries can be added to the pot either frozen or thawed. They will thaw pretty quickly while coming to a boil.
  • When serving your cranberry sauce, make sure to put it in a pretty clear glass bowl so you can show off the bright vibrant deep red color of this yummy condiment.

Nutrition

Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Kathy Jones says

    5 stars
    I made this for our Thanksgiving and it was delicious. I also had a pint of raspberries that I added when I added the cranberries and added the remaining ingredients as recipe indicated

    Left over cranberry sauce? There was very little left, however, I had Greek Yogurt in my fridge and added it to the yogurt. Delicious,

    I will definitely make this again, it will not disappoint you.