July 19, 2024


Simply The Best Food

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

4 min read
Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

a bowl of homemade cranberry sauce with a spoonful of cranberries on the side
Serve fresh cranberry sauce fo a showstopping holiday side!

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

  • Unlike store-bought varieties full of strange additives and preservatives, this fresh cranberry sauce is made with 3 budget-friendly ingredients
  • It’s loaded with nutrients and fiber thanks to the use of fresh fruit. 
  • Quick and easy, it’s ready in 30 minutes or less. 
  • You can easily make this cranberry sauce recipe ahead of time so you can get out of the kitchen and back to your holiday feast. 
  • Made with the perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors, you can also easily customize the texture by leaving chunks of cranberries or making it completely smooth. 

Key Ingredients for This Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

The simplest holiday dish you’ll ever make, this fresh cranberry sauce recipe comes together with just 3 ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Cranberries – This recipe is as good as it is, thanks to fresh cranberries. Use fresh cranberries, or frozen whole cranberries.
  • Orange Juice – The perfect accompaniment to cranberries, fresh orange juice helps sweeten the dish while also providing an extra boost of vitamin C!
  • Sugar – Use as little or as much granulated sugar as you’d like to cut through the tartness of the cranberries; we’ve found a ratio of 1:1 orange juice to sugar is perfect.

Flavor Variations and Substitutions

One of our favorite things about making homemade cranberry sauce is that you can customize it to fit your preferences. Some of our favorite ways to switch it up include: 

Adding texture: At the very end of cooking, stir in pecans, orange zest, raisins, mandarin oranges, pineapple, or cinnamon. 

Reducing the sugar: Cut the amount of sugar used in half for a slightly more tart flavor, and do the same with the water as well to prevent the sauce from becoming too thick. Or, swap out the granulated sugar with a sugar alternative such as Swerve or Stevia. 

Creating a stronger orange flavor: Reduce the amount of water used, and replace it with more orange juice instead. 

a bowl of homemade cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries
Fresh cranberries and orange juice makes for the best cranberry sauce you’ll ever taste.

How to Make Cranberry Sauce 

Once you discover how easy fresh cranberry sauce is to make at home, you’ll never go back to canned varieties again! 

  1. Dissolve the sugar. Add the orange juice and sugar to a medium-sized heavy pot. Warm the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring continuously until the sugar is completely dissolved. 
  2. Add the cranberries. Once smooth, add the cranberries to the pot, and cook uncovered at a low boil until they begin to pop and are cooked through. 
  3. Cool. Remove the cranberry sauce from the heat, and let it cool and thicken at room temperature. 

Serving Suggestions

If it were up to my husband and kids, this cranberry sauce recipe would be eaten by the spoonful. However, if you’re looking for a slightly more sophisticated way to use it, some of our favorite ways to serve it include: 

Cranberry Sauce Recipe Commonly Asked Questions

Why is my homemade cranberry sauce recipe watery? 

If your cranberry sauce recipe turns out watery, it’s likely because you added too much liquid, or it just needs more cook time. Simply let it simmer longer on the stove to thicken up. Cranberry sauce also thickens as it sits.

How do I cut through the tanginess or bitterness of fresh cranberries?

If your sauce is still a bit too tangy for your liking, try adding a bit more sugar or add a liquid sweetener like maple syrup that can easily dissolve into the mixture without being heated.

How long does this cranberry sauce recipe last? 

We recommend making this cranberry sauce recipe at least a day in advance so that it has plenty of time to chill in the fridge. However, when stored in an airtight container or jar, it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Can I freeze homemade cranberry sauce? 

Yes! Once cooled, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and keep it frozen for up to 6 months. 

More to Cook and Eat

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

a bowl of homemade cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Made with just 3-ingredients and better than canned varieties, this homemade cranberry sauce recipe is a better-for-you twist on a holiday classic you can feel good about serving. Pair it with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and more!

Prep Time: 2 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 17 mins

Servings: 12

  • 1 cup orange juice, fresh
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, more or less, depending on desired sweetness
  • 12 oz cranberries, fresh, whole
  • In a medium-sized heavy pot over medium heat, combine the fresh orange juice and sugar. Cook, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolved completely.

  • Add the fresh cranberries. Bring the heat to a low boil, and cook uncovered until the cranberries begin to pop and are cooked through, stirring occasionally.

  • Remove the pot from the heat, and let the sauce cool at room temperature to thicken.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating ♡


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 58IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Course: Side, Side Dish

Cuisine: American

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Method: Stovetop

Did you make this?

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