Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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This homemade cranberry sauce takes under 30 minutes to make. It will brighten your holiday spread with its sweet, tart, and tangy flavor.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

When I grew up, sides were the star during the holidays; except for one dish, cranberry sauce.
My memory of cranberry sauce was the cranberry jelly out of the can. No love added to it, nothing to jazz it up, and definitely no fancy gourmet garnishes to make anybody feel special. My dad would just open the can and plop it on a saucer.

That’s not the way to live life!

Now, the best cranberry sauce will be the one you make yourself. Sure, you can go out and buy a jar of cranberry sauce from the store, but it’s just not going to be the same. Homemade cranberry sauce tastes so much better because you can control the ingredients that go into it and make it exactly how you want it.

If you’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce before, don’t worry – it’s really easy. All you need is some fresh or frozen cranberries, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, orange juice, and salt. Just combine the ingredients in a pot on the stove and cook until the cranberries are soft and thickened.

Then, serve after it’s cooled, or use a blender or food processor to puree the sauce until it’s nice and smooth. I think the latter is an unnecessary step.

This year, why not make your own cranberry sauce? Homemade cranberry sauce tastes so much better than store-bought stuff.

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Key Ingredients

If you’re going to make cranberry sauce at home, you’ll need a few key ingredients.

Orange juice

It adds sweetness and citrus that play well with fresh cranberries’ natural tart flavor. You can use fresh orange juice and add orange zest to pump up the flavor.

Sugar

One of the best ways to balance tart flavors is sweetness, which is why I use two sugars, granulated and light brown sugar. The granulated adds sweetness, but the light brown sugar adds a mild maple flavor that’s really pleasant. I only use Imperial Sugar because it’s consistent, non-gmo, and reliable.

Cranberries

You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. During testing, I noticed that frozen cranberries do not burst like fresh cranberries. My guess is something happens in the freezing process.

Kosher salt

A little salt goes a long way! Adding 1/4 teaspoon can reduce the sugar used in a recipe because it’ll bring out the flavor of the sugar in the recipe.

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How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Making homemade cranberry sauce is a great way to add something tart and sweet to your thanksgiving dinner.

In a medium pot, over medium heat, add orange juice, sugar, brown sugar, and salt, and bring to a simmer. A simmer happens right before a rolling boil, and little bubbles popping is the key indicator of simmering.

By the time this mixture is simmering, your sugar should be dissolved. Give the pot a stir to make sure. Now add cranberries, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. If you’re using fresh cranberries, they will begin to pop (burst) when they’re almost done.

If you use frozen cranberries, you may have some popping but not as much as when you use fresh cranberries. While cranberries cook for about 15 minutes, make sure you’re stirring occasionally so the cranberries don’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

Once the cranberries thicken, they’re ready! Transfer to another dish, cool completely for about 10-15 minutes, then cover and chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

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Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

Making cranberry sauce homemade is easy; all you have to do is add everything to a pot and let the stove do all the work.

  • If you use fresh cranberries, use 16 ounces as a swap for the frozen cranberries.
  • Feel free to use dark brown sugar as a swap for light brown sugar.
  • Use fresh orange juice as a swap for bottled orange juice.
  • The zest from 1 medium orange will increase the orange flavor of your cranberry sauce.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for a warm note to balance out the sweetness and tartness of the final dish.
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce

FAQs

Here are the questions readers have about making homemade cranberry sauce at home.

What is the advantage of making homemade cranberry sauce?

Making homemade cranberry sauce tastes better than canned cranberry sauce. It’s also super easy to make, and you can tweak the ingredients to your liking.

How do you make cranberry sauce thicker?

You need time, but not much, to make your cranberry sauce thicker. If you want your homemade cranberry sauce to be thicker, cook it for 15-20 minutes.

What does homemade cranberry sauce taste like?

The taste of homemade cranberry sauce depends on how you make it. Cranberry sauce is tart, sweet, and citrusy when made at home.

Can cranberry sauce be made in advance?

Of course! If you want to prepare cranberry sauce ahead of your big holiday, cook. I recommend making it a minimum of 3 days in advance and storing it in an airtight container.

How to Store Cranberry Sauce

Place leftover cranberry sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

I don’t recommend you freeze cranberry sauce because you will make water down the flavors when you reheat it.

To reheat, add cranberries and 2-4 tablespoons of orange juice in a small pan over low heat until warm, about 5 minutes.

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More Recipes

If you’re looking for more dishes to add to your table with your cranberry sauce. Here are a few more recipes you can whip up.

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Before you start baking this easy peach cobbler recipe, here are the steps I use to get in and out of the kitchen. 

Step 1: Set all ingredients for the cranberry sauce on the counter.

Step 2: Measure everything out into smaller bowls

Step 3: Follow the recipe and get ready to make and enjoy this easy homemade cranberry sauce.

This cranberry sauce recipe will put any canned cranberry sauce to shame. So, don’t be afraid to try making your own cranberry sauce this year. It’s not as hard as you might think, and the end result is well worth it. Plus, homemade cranberry sauce will make everybody more comfortable eating it this year unless you have a house full of canned cranberry lovers.

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Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Kenneth Temple
This homemade cranberry sauce takes under 30 minutes to make. It will brighten your holiday spread with its sweet, tart, and tangy flavor.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 persons
Calories 191 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Heat a medium pot over medium heat, add orange juice, sugar, brown sugar and salt, bring to a simmer, about 3 minutes, stir to make sure sugar is dissolved.
  • Add cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes until cranberries has bursted and thickened. Transfer to a heatproof dish to cool.
  • Once cranberry sauce has cooled, cover and place in the fridge for a few hours to chill.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
Making cranberry sauce homemade is easy; all you have to do is add everything to a pot and let the stove do all the work.
  • If you use fresh cranberries, use 16 ounces as a swap for the frozen cranberries.
  • Feel free to use dark brown sugar as a swap for light brown sugar.
  • Use fresh orange juice as a swap for bottled orange juice.
  • The zest from 1 medium orange will increase the orange flavor of your cranberry sauce.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for a warm note to balance out the sweetness and tartness of the final dish.
Storage
Place leftover cranberry sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
I don’t recommend you freeze cranberry sauce because you will make water down the flavors when you reheat it.
To reheat, add cranberries and 2-4 tablespoons of orange juice in a small pan over low heat until warm, about 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 191kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 78mgPotassium: 87mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 43gVitamin A: 66IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword Cranberry Sauce, Homemade Cranberry Sauce
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