This homemade cranberry sauce recipe uses frozen or fresh cranberries, is ready in 20 minutes, and tastes so much better than canned cranberries. Even people who don’t like canned cranberry sauce love this cranberry sauce.
When it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, cranberry sauce is a must-have for my family. There are, of course, the select few that don’t see the need for cranberry sauce, but that can be overlooked. I think cranberry sauce is the perfect combination with turkey, chicken, Cornish game hen, and even ham. It provides the slight sweetness and tart flavor that you’re looking for on or alongside your meal.
Of course, it’s very tempting when you are preparing for your holiday dinner to pick up a can of cranberry sauce at your local supermarket. But once you have made your own cranberry sauce, the only thing you will want to pick up is your fresh or frozen cranberries and have it freshly made.
Why we adore Cranberry Sauce
- It’s very easy to make, and there is no prep time.
- You can make it as chunky as berry sauce or blend it to make it smooth.
- Made using fresh or frozen cranberries.
- Can be made ahead of time frozen or canned and placed in jars.
Ingredients you will need
- Cranberries The star of this recipe is cranberry, and you can easily use fresh or frozen. If you’re using frozen, don’t thaw it first. I like to add a pinch of fall spice or pumpkin spice, but if you don’t have any of those, a pinch of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick works well too.
- Sugar Cranberries are a very tart little fruit, so sugar is definitely needed to balance the flavor. I like to use a combination of white and brown sugar. You can also use an alternative sweetener like maple syrup or honey.
- Orange Juice You can use orange juice, which adds a little bit of a zest flavor. I suggest using a pulp-free variety for the best texture in your sauce. You can use water, which will give you a more traditional flavor, but I personally like to use orange juice.
Cranberry Sauce Variation
There are quite a few different ways to change up your cranberry sauce; you can keep it traditional with just your liquid and cranberries, or you can add a few different things to change the flavor. All are great additions. There are quite a few different ways to change up your cranberry sauce; you can keep it traditional with just your liquid and cranberries, or you can add a few different things to change the flavor. All are great additions.
- The liquid I like to use orange juice, but you can use apple juice or pineapple juice; it comes down to your preference.
- Zest For some extra flavor, you can add lemon or orange zest or orange peel.
- Fruit Add chopped apples, pears, and minced ginger will add to the flavor. I would suggest using a granny smith apple because it will hold the shape the best in the cookie process.
- Warming spices You can experiment with the spices to suit your taste I like to use a pumpkin spice blend, but you can use a pinch of nutmeg, allspice, or cardamom.
- Alcohol I’m not the type to make things boozy, but you can easily add a tablespoon of Grand Marnier, rum, or brandy. I would just omit that amount from your orange juice or water.
Making Cranberry Sauce
This recipe is very simple, so there are only 5 steps.
- Step one: place cranberries, sugar, and water/ orange juice. Into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Step two: Add in your variations here (orange zest, cinnamon stick, or pumpkin spice
- Step three: Reduce heat to medium-low heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes (you will start to hear the cranberries pop.) or until the sauce thickens and turns a deep red. The sauce will thicken further as it cools you want to remove it from the heat once it starts to look and feel jam-like consistently.
- Step four: Remove from the heat and cool the cranberry sauce and remove the cinnamon stick.
- Step five Place in an airtight container or jar and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make cranberry sauce ahead of time?
You can make cranberry sauce up to 3 days before you plan to serve it. I find if you make it ahead the flavors have more time to develop.
Can you Freeze Cranberry Sauce?
You can freeze cranberry sauce for up to two to three months; when you are ready to use it, place it at room temperature. If you find it is a little too watery, you can place it in a skillet and allow it to simmer for 5–6 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid and get thick again.
What if my cranberry sauce is too watery?
Continue to cook the cranberry sauce until the water is cooked off.
What to do with leftover Cranberry Sauce?
The most popular way to use leftover cranberry sauce is to add it to a turkey sandwich, which is what my family likes to do if there is any turkey left over. Another option is to freeze the cranberry sauce for your next holiday meal.
Cranberry sauce is also very good on top of grilled chicken breast or pork chops. You can also use it on quick bread and muffins. all delicious options.
How to Make Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces Cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 pinch pumpkin spice or cinnamon
- Combine sugar, water, and juice in a 12-inch saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Add cranberries, orange zest, pumpkin spice or cinnamon. Heat over medium until the sauce returns to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens and turns deep red. The sauce will thicken further as it cools, so remove from heat as the sauce is approaching jam consistency.
- Remove from heat and cool cranberry sauce. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.
- Transfer to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
- If you prefer a slightly more tart cranberry sauce, you can adjust the amount of sugar, adding more or less sugar to suit your tastes.