A simple recipe for fresh and easy homemade cranberry sauce. Made with real whole cranberries and just 3 other ingredients, this is an easy traditional must-have for your next holiday dinner.
This cranberry sauce is a holiday classic (like my roasted sweet potatoes) and deserves a place on your table. Be sure to check out the brief how-to video at the bottom of the post if you’re more of a visual learner!
Who here is hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year?
Don’t look at me, while I’d love to someday, my biggest contributions to holiday get-togethers usually land on the dessert table. Pecan pie , chocolate pie (with a side of homemade whipped cream!), these are my usual contributions, but recently I’ve branched out. This year, I’m on a mission to replace canned cranberry sauce everywhere with homemade cranberry sauce.
Do you know how easy it is to make homemade cranberry sauce? Just one saucepan and 4 ingredients (5 if you count water, does water count??), this recipe is easy.
No can necessary.
How Do You Make Fresh Cranberry Sauce
- Bring sugars (use a combination of brown and white for the best flavor!), water, and orange juice to a boil
- Add cranberries and return to simmer
- Cook until berries have burst and desired thickness has been reached.
- Transfer to a serving dish and chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Some cranberry sauce recipes use just water, and no orange juice, but I strongly recommend using both. The juice adds a nice bright flavor that really makes this cranberry sauce shine.
How do You Make Cranberry Sauce Thicker?
When cooking your cranberry sauce, you can simmer it as long as needed after your berries burst until the desired thickness is reached. Do keep in mind that your sauce will seem runnier while it’s hot and will thicken as it cools and sets.
Can Cranberry Sauce Be Made in Advance??
Yes! Cranberry sauce requires a minimum of 2 hours in the refrigerator in order for it to thicken and set properly. However, you can make this holiday side dish up to a week in advance. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container.
And that’s all there is to making homemade cranberry sauce, no can required!
If you prefer a more visual guide you can check out my cranberry sauce video at the bottom of the post. If you enjoy these videos, please consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel! <3
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- ⅔ cup sugar (133g)
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed (67g)
- ⅓ cup water (78ml)
- ⅔ cup orange juice (157ml)
- 12 oz cranberries rinsed and picked through -- bad/bruised cranberries removed (340g)
- Combine sugars, water, and orange juice in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sugars are dissolved, and bring to a boil.
- Add cranberries and return to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook cranberries, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes or until all or most berries have burst (careful, there is some splatter) and the mixture is slightly reduced. The longer you cook your cranberries the thicker your mixture will be, but it will also thicken up after standing.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
I originally published this Cranberry Sauce recipe 11/20/2017, post has been updated to include tips and more information.
There are no words and better than store bought. It even makes a delicious filling for Filo dough treats.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Sounds divine, Carol Ann! Thanks for trying our recipe ❤️
I am a huge cranberry fan and this is by far the best I have eaten. Just follow the recipe and you can’t go wrong.
Delicious and so easy to make!
Delicious fresh cranberry orange sauce, that is wonderfully sweet tart, and even better with a dash of ground cinnamon. Very easy to make.
Great recipe! The brown sugar is what sets the sauce apart. Something I used, that enhanced the flavor, was using lite orange juice (specifically from Kroger). It’s sweeter than regular OJ and brings out the tartness and sweetness of the berries better!
This is my second year making this…My family loves it…we won’t go back to the canned stuff again…
Thank you soooo much for this recipe…
How much does this recipe make? I know it says 6 servings but how much is a serving? Thanks!
Hi Katie! This will make about 2 1/4 cups total so each serving is just over 1/3 cup. 🙂
I added a little cinnamon because I love it and it pairs well with oranges so… delicious!
Can you use an immersion blender to smooth it out a bit? First time making it.
Hi Mia! I haven’t tried it, but I think that could probably work. 🙂
So I just made this cranberry sauce. It was a little too tart for me so I added another 1/4 cup each of the sugars. I did use the immersion blender and it was perfect. I kept some chunkyness. Idk if it’s enough so we’ll see if next year I’ll need to double it. Tyvm. It was fun to make too hearing them pop.
should this be made with fresh orange juice or store bought?
Hi Kally! Either will work. I personally prefer fresh, but either is good. 🙂
How many servings does this make?
This is such a tasty recipe! I will be making it for the third year in a row this Thanksgiving. It is easy to make! I will never do the canned cranberry sauce again.
Hi Sam!! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe. I was wondering though if this cranberry sauce can be made with dried cranberries as fresh cranberries are not vastly available in Australia?
Thank you for your time 😊
Hi Lolita! I don’t recommend using dried cranberries. 🙁
Last year I made cranberry sauce with dried cranberries and it was amazing!! I’d say go for it my family LOVED it
Can you freeze it in jelly jars?
Hi Connie! I haven not frozen it myself, but I don’t see any issues doing so. Be careful freezing it in glass jars though, you don’t want them to break. 🙂
Simple & delicious!
K L Portray
Who could ever go back to that artificial jellied stuff after this? It’s like trying to get toothpaste back in the tube— you cant go back ! ( LOL) This recipe is so simple yet so DELISH 😋. I even put a dash of Dark spiced Rum in mine. Definitely a keeper recipe ~