Our homemade cranberry sauce is so easy to make and is infused with orange flavors and fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. No need to ever buy another can of cranberry sauce because homemade takes only about 20 minutes to make and it tastes so much better.
Must-Make Holiday Side Dish
You simply can’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas without a side of Cranberry Sauce! It’s a holiday must-have that is a staple side dish of any traditional feast.
For our first few family Thanksgiving celebrations, before I took over the honors of hosting, we always had canned cranberry sauce. The canned cranberry is perfectly fine, especially because it’s a dish that most people simply forget about until the last minute or don’t want to waste time making it. But, once you make this classic homemade version, you and your guests will never want to go back! Plus, it only takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish.
Many people don’t realize just how fast and easy Cranberry Sauce is to make. Plus, when you make it at home, you can play around with spices to make it exactly how you like it.
My family now looks forward to our homemade Cranberry Sauce just as much as the turkey, stuffing, and everything else on the table. It’s also nice that the ingredients are so simple and inexpensive! This time of year, we always end up spending an obscene amount of money on groceries. I love utilizing recipes like this that don’t break the bank.
- Cranberries – Make sure to only use ripe, fresh cranberries. You can tell cranberries have gone bad if they’re soft, shriveled, or have a foul odor.
- White Granulated Sugar – you can use a little less if you wish or use sugar substitute.
- Orange – You’ll need both the freshly squeezed juice and zest of one large naval orange. If you don’t have a zester, simply use the side of a cheese grater that has the smallest holes.
- Spices – A medley of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice add the nicest touch of warmth to help balance the vibrant, citrus flavors.
- Salt – Just a pinch for balance.
Step by Step Instructions
This recipe is quick, easy, and low-maintenance. On a crazy busy day like Thanksgiving or Christmas, isn’t that exactly what you need? Plus, you can easily prep it ahead of time, making your life even easier on the big day.
Combine it all.
Combine everything together in a sauce pot. Heat it up on your stove top over medium heat. Stir everything together until combined.
Cook the cranberry sauce.
Cook everything until the cranberries start to burst and the consistency looks more like jam. Overall, it should only take about 15 minutes.
Let it cool.
Once the cranberries have all popped, you’ll notice that the sauce has thickened. Take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Does it look too thin to you? Don’t worry! Cranberry Sauce will thicken as it cools.
Make Ahead Suggestions:
Cranberry sauce is the perfect side dish to make one or two days ahead of time and keep in the fridge! You can make it completely a day or two before you need to serve it. Make sure to cool it down to room temperature and store in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator. No need to reheat it, simply pull it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and let it slowly warm up on the counter.
Storing and Freezing
You can store leftover Cranberry Sauce in an airtight food storage container, in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks. Make sure to use a clean spoon each time you need to get some out.
To freeze Cranberry Sauce, simply transfer it into a freezer friendly zip-top bag once it’s fully cooled. Get as much air out of the bag as you can, label it, and freeze for up to 6 months. Make sure to slow-thaw it in the refrigerator when you need it.
Variations to Try:
- Feeling extra fruity? Toss in some diced apples or pears.
- You can make the sweet flavor a little richer by using half white granulated sugar and half dark brown sugar.
- Add a little crunch by tossing in some nuts! Just be sure to only add those after the sauce is fully done cooking.
- Play around with the spices. You can always add a pinch of ground cloves or ground ginger to make the spices even more pronounced.
- If you need to make this Cranberry Sauce sugar free, just swap the sugar with your favorite substitute. (Personally, we prefer monkfruit sweetener.)
What To Do With Leftover Cranberry Sauce:
Cranberry sauce is one of the side dishes that has the most leftovers after the holiday dinner. Don’t worry, there are a ton of ways to use it:
Breakfast: you can use it as topping for your pancakes, French Toast, or waffles. You can even incorporate some into the batter or as filling for doughnuts.
Lunch: there are lots of different sandwiches you can incorporate it in. Try out Cranberry Turkey Brie Grilled Cheese, Asiago Turkey Sliders, Thanksgiving Turkey Sliders, and so much more.
Dessert: you can use it to make the cranberry white chocolate fudge instead of cranberry jam, just pulse it in a blender first. You can use it to make bread pudding instead of fresh cranberries.
- 12-14 oz fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4-1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 large naval orange – zest and juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- pinch salt
- Combine everything together in a sauce pot and place it on the stove over medium heat.
- Stir well and let it heat through and come to a simmer. Keep cooking everything until cranberries start burst and it start to look more like jam. It will take about 15 minutes all together.
- Once the cranberries popped and it started to thicken a bit. Take it off heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
- Note that cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools!
This is so good!