Learn how to make easy, homemade Cranberry Sauce at home using simple ingredients! This super simple recipe uses fresh cranberries, orange juice and pantry staples to make a sauce that is way better than canned varieties!
If you haven’t tried making your own cranberry sauce, you need to start now! You seriously can’t beat sauce made from fresh cranberries. It’s way better than anything out of a can.
The best part? This recipe is SO easy to make and requires only a handful of ingredients.
I have never been a fan of the canned stuff and grew up disliking cranberry sauce because of it. While the rest of the family shared my opinion about it, my dad loves cranberry sauce and one year I decided to make it for him from scratch.
I initially made it just for him since the rest of us are not friends, but once we tried the homemade cranberry sauce, we were all pretty impressed. The homemade version was SO MUCH better than the canned variety!
Homemade vs. Canned Cranberry Sauce
Nothing beats homemade freshness and being able to tweak the recipe over the years to suit our tastes has helped us develop an appreciation for cranberry sauce that didn’t exist before! The freshness from the cranberries and the hints of orange flavour are what probably do it for me! That is something that is definitely missing from the canned variety.
Why homemade cranberry sauce is better:
The consistency of homemade sauce is way better. I doubt I am the only one turned off by the blob of cranberry sauce that comes out of a can keeping the shapes can, complete with all the ridges. For me, a sauce shouldn’t be sliceable. Homemade cranberry sauce is more like a thick jam consistency. You can spoon on just the right amount and it spreads nicely over your turkey or wherever you are using it! [Pro tip: add a small bowl of cranberry sauce to your cheese board. Fruity spreads like cranberry sauce go so well with cheese and crackers!]
Fresh ingredients can’t be beat. There is nothing better than knowing exactly what is in the food you are putting into your body! This cranberry sauce recipe is easy to make and doesn’t require many ingredients. Aside from the fresh cranberries, you probably have all the other ingredients at home.
Homemade sauce tastes so much better! Taste is king and homemade always wins in this department. The beauty of homemade sauce that uses fresh ingredients is that those ingredients really shine through. Homemade cranberry sauce seriously can’t be beat in the flavor department. I add cinnamon and orange juice to my cranberry sauce recipe which adds wonderful flavor. The best part about making a homemade sauce is that you can truly tweak it to your own personal preference so feel free to adjust as needed.
How do you thicken cranberry sauce?
Cranberry sauce does not require gelatin or any other gelling agent to thicken. Cranberries naturally contain a good amount of pectin which helps to thicken the sauce as it cooks. Simply simmer the cranberries in the saucepan until they burst and soften, stirring often. The sauce will begin to thicken on the stove but will really thicken more once the sauce cools.
How do you make homemade cranberry sauce?
This homemade cranberry sauce recipe really couldn’t be easier!
- Add all of your ingredients into the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and stir as the cranberries begin to burst.
- Keep stirring until the cranberries have all burst and begin to soften and break down. [You can help the process along by squishing softened cranberries against the side of the saucepan as you stir.] Remove the cinnamon stick.
- Let the cranberry sauce cool and thicken.
How long does homemade cranberry sauce last?
Cranberry sauce can be made in advance and will last over a week in the fridge if stored properly. Place the cooled sauce in an airtight container and store in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
Can you freeze homemade cranberry sauce?
Yes, homemade cranberry sauce can be frozen and stored in your freezer for future use! To do this, make sure your sauce is completely cooled and thickened. Then place it in an airtight freezer bag (make sure your bag is freezer safe to prevent freezer burn). When you are ready to use, all you have to do it thaw it!
Is cranberry sauce served warm or cold?
Cranberry sauce is usually served cold or at room temperature. This makes it great for preparing in advance with no need to fuss over it at all on the day of your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal! If you prefer to warm it though, you absolutely can!
We make it twice a year at least (for Thanksgiving and Christmas) and I look forward to having leftovers to use in my Cranberry Sauce Muffins too! I highly recommend trying out these muffins if you have any sauce left over! They are truly spectacular!
Its funny how you can grow up hating something and then end up loving it! So glad I decided to make it from scratch all those years ago or I’d be missing out!
Hope you enjoy the recipe!
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups cranberries washed and drained
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Add all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium heat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and continue stirring as cranberries begin to burst.
- Continue to stir until cranberries have all burst and the sauce begins to thicken. [You can help the process along by squishing softened cranberries against the side of the saucepan as you stir.] Remove the cinnamon stick.
- Remove from heat and let the sauce cool. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.