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Cranberry sauce tends to conjure up images of Thanksgiving holiday meals. But you don’t have to wait for the holidays to put this fresh homemade cranberry sauce recipe on the table. It’s great with roast chicken and sweet potatoes, a wonderful sweet and refreshing side dish that my husband and kids love to see on our dinner table any time of year!

Best cranberry sauce recipe

Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Are you still buying the stuff in the can? I always did until I started reading the labels. All those preservatives and other things are a hard-pass from me. It’s way better when you make cranberry sauce homemade from scratch, and once you do, you’ll never open another can of cranberry sauce again.

Homemade cranberry sauce ingredients

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

  • Fresh cranberries – The best way to make your whole cranberry sauce homemade.
  • Orange juice – Citrus adds the perfect touch to so many cranberry recipes!
  • Orange zest – From on orange to add into the cranberry sauce as it cooks as well as for garnishing at the end.
  • Sugar – Helps bring out the sweetness.
  • Salt – Just a pinch helps balance the taste.

Easy cranberry sauce recipe

Easy Cranberry Sauce Recipe

With just 5 minutes of prep time and only 15 minutes on the stove, this easy Thanksgiving cranberry sauce side dish comes together lightning-quick. Make room for it at your table tonight!

Lets get lost in this sauce!

How do you Make Cranberry Sauce from Scratch?

To make this fresh cranberry sauce recipe, start by rinsing and draining your cranberries. Then in a medium saucepan over high heat, add water, sugar, and orange juice until it boils. Then add the cranberries, salt, and orange zest. Keep cooking until you see most cranberries burst, roughly 10 minutes. Let it cool then chill in the fridge.

How do you make cranberry sauce from scratch

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • Yes, you can use frozen cranberries! If you have them in your freezer, that’s great. You don’t need to thaw them before starting this recipe either.
  • Orange juice takes the bitterness away. Don’t skip adding it or you’ll have a very bitter side dish!
  • You can use any sugar or sweetener you like, even honey or maple syrup.
  • It should thicken up nicely, but if it doesn’t even after chilling, you can heat it to a simmer for a few minutes until it does, then let it cool.

What goes well with cranberry sauce

What can I do with fresh cranberries?

You can make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries. It only takes a few minutes and a few ingredients to turn fresh cranberries into everyone’s favorite side dish.

How many cranberries does it take to make one cranberry sauce?

In that canned stuff, there are about 200 cranberries. A bag of fresh cranberries will likely have more if it is a larger portion than the can.

Is homemade cranberry sauce worth it?

Absolutely! It’s super simple and it tastes so much better than anything in a can. Plus, it keeps well so you can make it in advance.

How long does cranberry sauce last

How do you get the bitterness out of cranberry sauce?

The orange juice will chase the bitterness away and balance the flavor for your cranberry sauce.

How do you make cranberry sauce better?

Cranberry sauce will taste bitter unless you add orange to it. Orange juice is the best way, plus adding orange zest further enhances the flavors. Don’t forget the sugar or it won’t be sweet!

How do you get the bitterness out of cranberry sauce

How do you make a cranberry sauce set?

Chilling it in the fridge should help it thicken up after allowing it to cool on the stove.

How do you make cranberry sauce thicker?

Your cranberry sauce should thicken up after you chill it. If not, you can simmer it on the stove for 5 more minutes and let it cool. It should be thick enough after that!

What goes well with Cranberry Sauce?

It’s the best with turkey or roast chicken, though cranberry sauce can be served with many other things too. Try it with pork, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, on top of meatballs for something sweet and savory, or make it a topping for your ice cream night!

How do you make cranberry sauce better

How to Store Cranberry Sauce?

Cranberry sauce needs to go in the fridge once you’re done cooling it and serving it. Keep it in an airtight container.

How Long Does Cranberry Sauce Last?

You’ll get plenty of longevity out of your homemade cranberry sauce when you keep it in the fridge. It’s safe to eat up to 2 weeks. That means you can make it well in advance of gatherings if you’d like to save time.

Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

Yes, yes, and yes! Even better, you can freeze your cranberry sauce for up to 6 months. Talk about planning ahead for the holidays!

How to Reheat Cranberry Sauce?

You should let it thaw in the fridge and then it will be ready to serve. If you’d like it warm, simply bring it to a simmer on the stovetop.

Watch How To Make Cranberry Sauce (Video)

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 208
This classic homemade cranberry sauce recipe is the perfect pairing to your holiday dinner! If you've never had fresh cranberry sauce then you are in for a treat. It knocks the socks off of that canned stuff!


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 12oz package of fresh cranberries (rinsed and drained)
  • zest from 1 orange
  • pinch of salt
  • additional orange zest (for garnishing)


  • In a medium saucepan on high heat, combine the water, sugar, and orange juice and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, add in the cranberries, pinch of salt, and orange zest. Cook the cranberries until most have burst, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before chilling in the refrigerator. Garnish with additional orange zest.
Calories: 208kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American


Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

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I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

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