Homemade Cranberry Sauce (3 Ingredients!) + Video

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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!

homemade cranberry sauce

Recipes like 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. How about a sweet cranberry punch that will delight your guests!

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 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.
cranberries in water with sugar

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.
cranberries simmering in water with sugar

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
zoomed out picture of cranberries simmering in water with sugar

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.

cranberries cooking down in pot

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.

cranberries left to cook

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.

cranberry sauce on wooden spoon


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cranberry sauce in glass bowl with cranberries in the background

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.

3 Ingredient Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe + Video

Donna Elick
This Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe is so easy to make and better than anything from a can. Homemade cranberry sauce is ready in 10 minutes!
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 7 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 12 Ounces


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


  • Place cranberries in a strainer and rinse. Then pick through them for any bad cranberries. Remove any sticks or stems.
  • 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.
  • Reduce the heat to simmer. Stir occasionally as the cranberry sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
  • Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.


Donna’s Notes

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.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 87cal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 20g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
homemade cranberry sauce

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 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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…😋

  5. 5 stars
    I’m not one for cranberry sauce, but my husband made this last Christmas, and it was so good! It will be on our holiday table from now on!

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