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.
We made this for Thanksgiving; the BEST recipe I have ever used for cranberry sauce. People who don’t eat cranberry sauce LOVED it! I did substitute, in place of the regular brown and white sugars, Truvia brown sugar and monk fruit. Delicious!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much, Kathleen! 🙂
I added a shot of bourbon and a few dashes of orange bitters, fenom!!
My first time making homemade cranberry sauce and this is a great easy and delicious recipe, definitely a keeper!
Akerria M Wilkerson
I just made this recipe and this is my very first time making homemade cranberry sauce and it is hands down the best I’ve EVER tasted (considering the fact that I often just opt for the can. Lol). I only had a small can of pineapple orange juice so I used that instead of the plain orange juice. I also let it cool to room temp and put it in my nutribullet blender to get it to a smooth consistency since I’m not used to having the cranberry pieces in mine. It turned out great. It’s in the fridge now and I cannot wait to serve it for dinner. So yummy.
This recipe is easy and most delicious!! I had to sub orange juice for mango and it came out fabulously!!
I just made homemade cranberry sauce for the first time ever and I used your recipe. It is absolutely delicious! I cannot wait to serve tomorrow for Thanksgiving!
Perfect cranberry sauce & so easy to make.The longer you simmer, the thicker it gets.
I made this and followed all the steps but it gives a slight bitter after taste when I try it. Why is that? Please help ):
Hi Alex! I would think it’s from the cranberries that were used. 🙁
This looks so good. I make it today and there’s a ton of seeds . How do you get rid of the seeds ? I tried to use a fine mesh strainer but it did not work. It was a great taste and smells good.
Hi Renee! I’ve never really experienced a problem with this. They are tiny and edible. I wonder if maybe your berries just needed to cook a bit longer. I hope you still love it! 🙂
I’m going to try it out for Thanksgiving. Can I use frozen cranberries?
Yes that will be fine! Enjoy 🙂
I made this cranberry sauce and I realized I didn’t have any orange juice. I substituted apple juice and added a cam on mandarin oranges (drained).
It is delicious!
Want to step it up a bit? Pour a shot or two of orange liqueur, Gran Marnier, In it, besides orange juice and grated orange peel. Your guests will love it, and you may or may not choose to share your secret!
Just got done making this for the first time. Right now it’s cooling but it is PERFECT!! This is my first year ever cooking Thanksgiving dinner so I wanted to make it extra special. This recipe is not only delicious but it thickened well. Very excited to eat it on Thursday!! I am not going to be sealing my jars though, how long will it last if I don’t air tight seal them?
Hi Autumn! It will be good for a week in the refrigerator. 🙂
This sounds like the cranberry relish my mom use to make during the holidays. It was so good. Plan to make this one.
I love this recipe. I made it now because I needed to do a test run because more times than not, I try a recipe on Thanksgiving Day only to have it be a flop! This was amazingly easy and it actually set. So many times before, it was always runny. I am sooo happy that I found yours!
How many servings does this make? I plan to make it for the 1st time for Thanksgiving this year and am going to double the recipe but want to make sure it’s enough for everyone to enjoy. Also, what sized container will I need to store this? Thank you.
Hi Melissa! It will make about 6 servings. I haven’t measured a volume, but I would think if you double it you would need a container that holds about 5 cups.