Homemade Cranberry Sauce

1 min read

Easy and simple homemade cranberry sauce, made with real whole cranberries! This holiday classic is made with only 5 ingredients! 


All about his Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • Quick and Easy: Only a handful of ingredients are needed and this dish comes together quickly thanks to not having to boil water and sugar together first before adding other ingredients.
  • Flavor: the combination of apple cider, orange juice and brown sugar means this sauce is way more flavorful and interesting than the canned version.
  • Texture: thanks to using whole cranberries we are able to mash to create our own desired texture.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Sugar: using light brown sugar gives wonderful flavor to this homemade sauce. 
  • Cranberries: this recipe starts with fresh, whole cranberries.
  • Apple Cider: gives a fun flavoring that pairs nicely with the tart cranberries.
  • Orange Juice: this adds a nice, bright flavoring that sets this cranberry sauce apart from the canned versions.

How To Make (step-by-step):

  1. Combine the cranberries, sugar, juices, orange wedges, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the berries burst. Mash against the side of the pot if needed to get a smoother texture.

Expert Tips:

  • Orange Zest: we are boiling the orange wedge with the berries for additional flavor from the leftover juice. If you are wanting to add zest to your sauce, do it after the sauce has cooked so you don’t end up with a bitter flavor to your sauce.
  • Chill Time: this recipe requires at least 2 hours to set and thicken in the refrigerator. 
  • Variations: 
    • Spice: sprinkle with cinnamon.
    • Fruits: add in chopped apple.
    • Nuts: stir in some chopped pecans after cooked and cooled.

Cranberry Sauce: FAQS

Is cranberry sauce healthy for you?

Cranberries are naturally high in vitamin C and fiber, plus they contain vitamin E and anti-oxidants. These nutrients are available when you eat homemade cranberry sauce.

How do you get the bitterness out of cranberry sauce?

Once you’ve cooked the sauce, if it doesn’t have enough sweetness and it still tastes bitter, add a bit of maple syrup or other liquid sweetener. This way the sweetener dissolves quickly into the sauce and you won’t have a grainy texture.

How do you make cranberry sauce thicker?

Cook the sauce a bit longer, to reduce it, this means the liquid will evaporate leaving a thicker sauce. If needed you can add some pectin, gelatin, or even do a cornstarch slurry to help thicken it up.


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Recipe first published October 21, 2018. Updated November 8, 2022 with new information. Recipe is unchanged. SaveSave