Cranberry Sauce is so incredibly easy to make at home (with just 4 ingredients) and the taste is so much better than canned or jarred.
Make cranberry sauce months ahead of time and keep it in the freezer. Simply thaw and serve on the big day!
Homemade Cranberry Sauce Is So Easy
Homemade cranberry sauce recipe is both sweet and tart and tastes SO MUCH BETTER than a can!
- It’s super easy to make. No prep is needed.
- Can be made as a whole berry sauce or smooth.
- Use fresh or frozen berries.
- Can be made months ahead and frozen.
Once you make it homemade, I almost guarantee you’ll never buy canned cranberry sauce again (unless you’re using it to make cocktail meatballs).
Cranberries – Fresh cranberries are the star of this recipe and frozen will work just as well! If using frozen there is no need to thaw first. We love to throw a cinnamon stick in the mix, if you don’t have one, add a small pinch of ground cinnamon or even apple pie spice!
Sugar – Cranberries are really tart so sugar is needed to balance the flavor. White sugar or brown sugar works and this recipe can be made with sweetener, maple syrup, or honey too!
Liquid – Water or orange juice is needed to help cook the cranberries. Even apple juice works. Water will give a more traditional flavor while orange juice will add some extra zest.
Cranberry Sauce Variations
- Juices – We use orange juice but use your favorite juice like pineapple or apple juice.
- Zest – Stir in some lemon or orange zest or orange peel for some extra flavor.
- Fruit – Add chopped apples, pears, a slice of ginger, or even chopped pecans.
- Spices – Play with the spices and add a pinch of nutmeg, or allspice.
- Boozy – Substitute a tablespoon or so of the o.j. with something boozy, a splash of Grand Marnier, a dash of rum, or a bit of brandy.
How to Make Cranberry Sauce
It’s so easy.
- Place cranberries, sugar, and water/orange juice in a medium saucepan with a cinnamon stick per the recipe below.
- Bring to a simmer (you’ll hear the cranberries start to pop) and stir. Simmer about 10 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
- Water produces a more traditional flavor while orange juice makes it zestier.
- This cranberry sauce recipe will thicken as it cools.
- If you’d like a smooth sauce, place the warm mixture into a mesh strainer and strain it into a bowl. Press the cranberries with a spoon to remove as much juice as possible.
How to Freeze Cranberry Sauce
Fresh cranberries will last up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator and they can be frozen up to a year as long as they are sealed in an airtight bag.
Prep the cranberry sauce up to 3 months ahead of time and freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Got Leftover Cranberry Sauce?
Leftover cranberry sauce is perfect to top ice cream, cheesecake or sponge cake. It’s great on leftover turkey sandwiches or layer it into Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal or on top of french toast or homemade waffles or pancakes.
Easy Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces cranberries about 3 cups
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup orange juice or water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan or medium pot over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10-12 minutes uncovered. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard.
- Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until chilled.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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