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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
With love from our simple kitchen to yours.
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.
Other Sauce Recipes
3 Ingredient Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe + Video
- 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.
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.
Originally published November 2016, updated and republished October 2020
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