{Simple and Amazing} Cranberry Sauce Recipe

by Alice Currah on November 16, 2009. Updated April 9, 2011


If you’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce because you thought it was too complicated to make, I am going to show you just how easy it is.  Not only is this recipe easy, it is amazing!  I love this sauce because it is not overly sweet and the combination of cranberry and orange give it a nice tang.  The color of the sauce itself is so vibrant compared to its canned counterpart -one cannot even put them in the same category.

Trust me after you try this sauce, you will never ever buy canned again.  Be prepared when friends and family “Ooooh and Awwww” over the mere fact you made homemade cranberry sauce.  They will call you “Martha” and hate you for it.  But that’s okay.. you’re secret is safe with me – I won’t tell how you didn’t slave over making this.  In all honesty, if the world only knew how flippin’ easy this was.. no one would ever buy canned again!  Do yourself a favor and leave that good-for-nothing sauce in the can on the grocery store shelf and for this Thanksgiving make your own homemade cranberry sauce.  And for those of you who are wondering if you can make this in advance – YES!!!  Just heat before serving.  Enjoy!


{Simple and Amazing} Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
Make your own homemade cranberry sauce this year for Thanksgiving using fresh cranberries.This easy recipe is so simple yet yields amazing
  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • Optional: 2 oz gold rum
  1. Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook on medium-high for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced – stirring occasionally. You’ll hear the cranberries popping – don’t worry, that’s what you want them to do. Remove from heat and serve. Cranberry sauce can be made days ahead and brought to room temperature or slightly heated before serving.

{Related Post: Cranberry Apple Crisp – This recipe uses this cranberry sauce as a base}





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{ 111 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie November 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

My Italian grandmother would add oranges and amaretto . The alcohol cooks off and leaves an amazing flavor.


alice November 22, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Amaretto sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing Debbie!


Steve November 24, 2011 at 9:29 am

How much Amaretto do you use? I am always looking to add alcohol into any recipe :)


alice November 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Hi Steve,
I like using a tablespoon or two.


jodie December 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Am currently making my 2nd batch. We canned the first batch and took it with us for thanksgiving, everyone loved it!! We did as you mentioned and used amaretto instead, 2 oz, as well as our local berries, lingonberries. yum!


Sally December 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm

This was simple and delicious, made exactly as written (with the rum). Just the right amount of sweet and tang. Yummy! Thank you for the great recipe.


Karen November 20, 2012 at 6:09 am

Debbie, when you said your Italian Grandmother put oranges in it; did you actually mean sliced oranges or the orange juice?


TAMARA November 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm



TAMARA KNEPPER November 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm



Maureen Walker November 24, 2011 at 11:59 am

Love this recipie! Made it a few years back, now it is the request of the family…kinda get let off the hook for most of holiday cooking :) Fantastic combination!


Sheryl December 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Hey – I was trying to “like” this on Facebook, but when I hit the icon I just get a blank pop-up.


Sheryl December 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Ugh- ignore me. The FB icon does give you a blank page, but the “Like” button above it works just fine….. *sigh*

Beautiful site, thanks!


Dedre December 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Hi, all. I have been making my own Cranberry Sauce for years now as I have always hated that canned glop! Yuck! I laugh because my relatives think I am amazing, they have no clue as to how riduculously easy this is. I usually add diced apple to mine, but I’m thinking this year I’ll make it plain. You confirmed my thoughts. Have a great season all.


Aimee October 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm

This is a great recipe. I also add about 6oz frozen raspberries and add two table spoons of orange marmalade jam and just decrease the sugar a little.


Kay October 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I made a similar sauce last year but used about a quarter cup triple sec, and it was great.


Lauren October 22, 2012 at 12:53 am

Did anyone double this recipe? How much does it make? There will be 7 of us for dinenr, so I am guessing a single recipe is plenty?


Ali November 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Figure about a half cup per person (4 oz), so you will have to double the recipe. It also doesn’t hurt to have leftovers


Val November 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm

does the pan you use matter? non stick sauté, farberwarer…cast iron? Thanks!


Meghan November 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm

This Thanksgiving, I’ll be making this cranberry sauce for the third year in a row. It’s a family favorite now! The first time around, it was a bit too sweet, so now I use all of the brown sugar and add the white sugar to taste. That’s just me — I don’t want to mask those tart berries!


Victoria November 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm

OMG! Third year making this as per request of all 30 guest as tradition (The Host now demands it).
Only 2 changes: ( 1 ) I double the recipe ( 2 ) about half way of the cooking I remove approx. half of the berries & put in the food processor for a few gentle pulses & put back in the pan to continue cooking.
OH! YUM. Try it… you will like it!


Karen Doherty November 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Will try this recipe for first time…Should I cut cranberries in half or leave whole before cooking? Does the sauce thicken from the sugar?


Alice Currah November 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Hi Karen,
The cranberries will pop on their own and break down. No need to cut in half. And yes, the sauce does thicken from the sugar, like jam. Hope this helps.


Mark November 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Just finished making this recipe; did a batch with rum and one without. The RUM one wins hand down! Thanks


Ellen Eber November 21, 2012 at 9:51 am

I only have light rum in the house. Do I need to go get gold which it calls for? Or what about brandy instead?


Alice Currah November 21, 2012 at 11:15 am

Hi Ellen,
Light rum works just fine. Happy Thanksgiving.


strawberry shortcake November 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Do you think I could use grapefruit juice? I have no orange juice but I have at least five grapefruits sitting in a bowl…


Alice Currah November 21, 2012 at 1:23 am

Hi, you could try grapefruit, but it will not be the same. You are better omitting the juice completely or squeeze a couple tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.


Krystal November 21, 2012 at 7:58 am

No rum on hands here, could i use maybe some white wine instead? What do u think…


Alice Currah November 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

Hi Krystal,
Yes, you could go either red or white wine. It will be slightly different undertone but I’m sure it will be good. You might want to do a 1/2 tablespoon and add more as you like. Happy Thanksgiving.


Krystal November 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Ok so i tried the recipe with white wine and it was fantastic!! I’m sure It’ll be a hit tomorrow! Thanks again
Happy Thanksgiving to you too Alice!


Joy Temple November 21, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I just recently discovered the wonderful world of cranberry sauce thanks to an amazing hot turkey sandwich I get at the Tallyrand in Burbank, CA. (if you are ever in the neighborhood I highly recommend giving it a try!) Anyways, back to the cranberry sauce. I have never much cared for the canned version but when I tasted it homemade, I was a convert! I will be making it for the first time this Thanksgiving and from the raving reviews I am sure I will be making it for many Thanksgivings to come!


Alice Currah November 22, 2012 at 3:08 am

Happy Thanksgiving Joy. Once you go homemade, you never go back to can!


Lainey November 22, 2012 at 12:31 am

Hi Alice…I just wanted to say “thank you” for the simple yet amazing recipe – love it! First time adding brown sugar which I think added to the taste. I also added a cinnamon stick and then made a second batch and added some apples (no alcohol on either batch). Thanks to Victoria for her suggestion on taking some of the sauce out and giving it a few pulses in the food processor – it gave it a nice even texture. I can’t wait to share with my family tomorrow.


Alice Currah November 22, 2012 at 3:06 am

Sounds like a winning combination Lainey. Happy Thanksgiving!


Hanna November 22, 2012 at 2:12 am

I made this recipe with dried cranberries because that was all I could find at the supermarket near me. I had to add extra water in addition to the orange juice to help soften the dried cranberries, which I then boiled off. At first it didn’t have a sauce-like consistency – more like solid berries in a little juice, but I used a potato masher to smash them down a little and it is perfect. Also added a little orange zest.

It’s so yummy!! Really tangy and fruity and delicious. My boyfriend was cynical to start- he didn’t think it would be worth doing it from scratch when you can just buy the ocean spray stuff in a jar – but he is now well and truly convinced!


Hanna November 22, 2012 at 2:19 am

Oh also added a little cornstarch to thicken it since I read dried cranberries have less pectin, which is what makes the jelly texture.

Great recipe!


Alice Currah November 22, 2012 at 3:03 am

Sounds great, and I’m impressed by your adaptation. Happy Thanksgiving!


Reecea November 22, 2012 at 9:43 am

This recipe is wonderful! Made it last year and making it again this year:)


Brenda November 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

I started making this in 09′ when it was first posted. Amazing recipe! I get asked to make it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Try it! You’ll like it!


ruth November 22, 2012 at 11:57 am

just made it for Thanksgiving. Pretty good, but too much sugar. Next year I would make it with a lot less. Added the rum, adds a nice flavor.


player November 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Skipped the rum (too many kiddies…) but added a couple of green cardamom pods and a few star anise… yum!


kariflack November 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm

excellent recipe. the balance of sweet : tart seems right on to me, but i think the difference might be to convert the volume of the ingredients to weights and weigh them accordingly–can make a huge difference with brown sugar especially. i used my immersion blender on most of it, delicious over stuffing and hopefully with the squab we’ll be eating later! thank you for this!


Joe November 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Tried it with a little orange zest. No rum this time.

Loved it. Thanks!


Geri Stefenhagen November 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I have been making my own cranberry sauce for decades. I use 1 Cup water and 1 Cup Natra Taste Gold (like Splenda) and a 12 oz. bag of cranberries. It is the pectin in the cranberries that causes the mixture to thicken when the berries pop, more so than the sugar. This was my first year using a sugar substitute and the results were great. I used to gag on that brown-red stuff Mother used to get at the grocery store when I was a kid.


Susan November 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thank you, a big hit at Thanksgiving. Doubled the recipe and jarred half for Christmas!


sc mom December 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I used a little Grand Marnier in mine. Delicious!!


Jennifer S December 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I have a question, I have never been fond of warm or hot or even room temperature cranberry sauce. Is it ok to serve chilled? or Will this ruin the recipe?


Michelle November 11, 2013 at 8:20 am

Serving it chilled won’t ruin the recipe per se, but it might make the texture more like jam or jello than a sauce. Many people make their sauces beforehand (like the night before or the morning of the day they plan to serve it) and chill it in the fridge, then reheat it just before serving.


mj December 28, 2012 at 9:52 am

Hi, i don’t have any rum, but there is whiskey & also vodka or red wine in my cupboard, which would be the best choice? Also could only get dried cranberries, so should i pre-soak before hand? thank you. cheers MJ


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Shirley December 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Love this! I put4 or 5 whole cloves and a cinnamon stick broken into 3 pieces into a large spice ball and placed it in the pan while the sauce was cooking. It took the sauce to a whole new level. Everyone loved it!


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