Thursday, October 29, 2020

Homemade Cranberry Sauce (3 Ingredients!) + Video

Homemade cranberry sauce is so easy to make and better than anything from a can. Make this recipe with fresh cranberries in just 10 minutes!

title text (pictured in a glass bowl): Homemade cranberry sauce
You only need 3 ingredients for a sauce so delicious you could eat it by itself. Using fresh orange juice instead of water adds extra flavor and sweetness and just makes the whole thing a little brighter.

Serve it alongside all your favorite holiday side dishes for an easy Thanksgiving meal!

This simple slow cooker sausage stuffing frees up your oven space and still comes out fluffy and full of moisture.

Doctor up a simple side of veggies with my Bacon Corn Casserole. It’s creamy, delicious, and even tastes great as leftovers straight from the fridge.

Pumpkin Honey Dinner Rolls have just a hint of pumpkin flavor to warm them up without being overwhelming. Plus, you don’t need any fancy equipment to make them!

cranberries in a pot

Tips For Making Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • Watch the berries: It’s much more important to go by what’s happening with the berries than to go by set cooking times. Once most of them have burst open, it’s time to reduce the heat and let them simmer.
  • Make a smooth sauce: You can use a stick blender in the pot and blend until smooth. Or, transfer everything to a blender but leave the lid offset for the steam to escape. If it’s tightly sealed, the lid may pop off from the pressure and cause the mixture to splatter all over your kitchen.
  • Add spices: If you’d like, add a pinch of your favorite warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or allspice. Even cardamom would taste great with the flavor from the orange juice.
  • Sugar substitute: Brown sugar can be used in place of granulated, or you can use a mixture of both. If needed, coconut sugar will also work. Or, use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, but reduce both the juice and sugar measurements to 1/2 cup.

all ingredients in a pot

Kitchen Tools You’ll Need
  • Large Saucepan - Choose a heavy-bottomed pan so the heat is more evenly distributed. This will prevent your sauce from burning.
  • Mesh Strainer - Even if the bag of cranberries says they’ve been cleaned, it’s always a good idea to rinse them again just to be safe. It also makes it easier to pick out any damaged berries, as well as sticks and stems.
cranberry sauce boiling

Ways to use leftover cranberry sauce

There are so many possibilities to choose from! Try one of the following or come up with your own creations.
  • Use as a spread for leftover turkey sandwiches
  • Mix into yogurt or oatmeal
  • Top fresh pancakes, waffles, or French Toast
  • Blend and brush over grilled meats
  • Spoon over ice cream or cheesecake
  • Use as filling for oatmeal bars
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Mix with club soda or alcohol for a tasty drink

stirring homemade cranberry sauce

Recipe Notes + FAQ

Can you make this recipe with frozen cranberries?

Frozen work just as well as fresh, and they don’t even need to be defrosted first. Just keep an eye on them since it might take a little longer for the sauce to cook.

You’ll still need to rinse them and remove any stems and damaged berries, otherwise they can go straight in the pan.

stirring orange cranberry sauce

Can you make it ahead?

Absolutely! In fact, the longer the flavors have to meld together, the better it tastes. As long as it’s kept covered or in an airtight container, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

orange cranberry sauce thickened

Can the sauce be frozen?

Homemade cranberry sauce freezes beautifully. Transfer to any airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bag and let it chill in the refrigerator first.

Then, place in the freezer and use it within 2 months for best flavor, though it will remain safe to eat for at least a year. Thaw in the refrigerator for a day or two and give it a good stir before serving.

spoonful of homemade cranberry sauce


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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homemade cranberry sauce in a bowl

Recipe Video: Orange Cranberry Sauce

Watch us make this recipe with fresh cranberries from start to finish! The video is at the top of this post.

Author: Donna Elick
Homemade Cranberry Sauce (3 Ingredients)

Homemade Cranberry Sauce (3 Ingredients)

Homemade cranberry sauce is so easy to make and better than anything from a can. Make this recipe with fresh cranberries in just 10 minutes!
Prep time: 7 MinTotal time: 7 Min


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice


  1. Place cranberries in a strainer and rinse. Then pick through them for any bad cranberries. Remove any sticks or stems.
  2. Combine ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. As the cranberry sauce comes to a boil, the berries will begin to burst, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to simmer. Stir occasionally as the cranberry sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
  4. Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.
  1. If you prefer your cranberry sauce smooth, you can use a stick blender in the pot and blend until smooth. You can also transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth.

title text (pictured in a bowl): Homemade Cranberry Sauce (3 Ingredients!)

Originally published November 2016, updated and republished October 2020

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  1. This is great! So easy and good. It's my go-to recipe for cranberry sauce. Just basic, what people expect when they eat cranberry sauce, no exotic surprises for those who want traditional cranberry sauce. I will make this every time I make poultry. Not just for Thanksgiving! Life is short; make every poultry dish a holiday!

  2. I have been making it this way for years and wouldn't buy canned sauce unless in emergency,It is the best !

  3. i switched 1/2 cup of red wine (or sherry/port wine) for 1/2 cup OJ, added a diced serrano (or 2 jalapenos), finely diced 1/2 cup od walnuts and a cinnamon stick! unbelievably great!!!

  4. Thank you! How many servings is this?

  5. In honor of my dad this year, I will be making this, as he did in previous years, we will add walnuts and Grand Mariner and a splash of Amaretto.

    1. I like your Dads recipe ! Yum yum ! Cheers to your Dad :-)

  6. I was wondering if this recipe would work using Splenda instead of sugar? Struggling diabetic here who really loves cranberry sauce!

    1. I wouldn’t use as much Splenda because it’s so sweet, so start with less and add more if you need it... I think it should turn out pretty good! Let us know...😋

  7. Mine turned out too watery. Not sure how to fix it.


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