HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CRANBERRY SAUCE
If you’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce because you thought it was too complicated, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to make. This simple cranberry sauce recipe is perfect! All you do is add fresh cranberries, orange juice, and sugar (both brown and white) to a pan and cook the berries until the break down into a beautiful vibrant red cranberry sauce.
Served alongside roasted turkey an gravy, cranberry sauce is a favorite Thanksgiving recipe that is so easy to prepare and happens to be amazing! Only 15 minutes to cook, I love this sauce because it is not overly sweet and the combination of cranberry and orange give it a subtle citrus, sweet tang that makes a regular turkey dinner go from ordinary to extraordinary.
The vibrant deep red color and texture of the cranberry sauce is in stark contrast to the Ocean Spray canned cranberry sauce so many of us remember in its jellied molded form. One cannot even put them in the same category on many levels of comparison. From color, taste, texture, and overall pleasantness, homemade cranberry sauce wins by a landslide.
Trust me after you try this sauce, you will never buy canned cranberry sauce again. Be prepared when friends and family “Ooooh and Awwww” over the mere fact you made fresh cranberry sauce from scratch. They will call you “Martha” and hate you for it. But that’s okay.. your secret is safe with me.
I won’t tell how you didn’t spend hours over a hot stove making this. In all honesty, if the world only knew how easy this was cranberry sauce was to make, 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 homemade cranberry sauce.
For those of you wondering if you can make this in advance – YES!!! Up to two weeks sealed in a container and stored in the refrigerator!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is cranberry sauce?
Cranberry sauce is a popular condiment made with fresh cranberries, sugar, and water. It is most commonly served alongside turkey on Thanksgiving at room temperature but can also be served slightly warmed up.
Because cranberries are naturally low in sugar and tart in flavor, most cranberry sauce recipes include sugar to make the sauce both sweet and tart.
How long will the cranberry sauce keep?
Cranberry sauce will last two weeks in the refrigerator or up to two years if properly preserved and canned.
What can I do with leftover cranberry sauce?
- Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on sandwich bread followed by a layer of cranberry sauce when making turkey sandwiches like this Turkey Cranberry Sandwich recipe. The combination of cream cheese and cranberry sauce makes regular turkey sandwiches taste dull in comparison.
- Mix in a tablespoon or two into plain Greek yogurt along with granola, like my favorite Perfect Granola recipe, for a nice breakfast parfait.
- Add a spoonful to your favorite cocktail using vodka.
- Add a dollop of sauce to cottage cheese or oatmeal for breakfast or a snack.
- Replace cranberry sauce for any recipe calling for jam.
- Cranberry sauce over oven baked brie makes a great appetizer when served alongside crackers for your holiday gathering.
- Top off your favorite cheesecake recipe (like my Black Tie Cheesecake recipe) with cranberry sauce instead of the more common varieties of blueberry, cherry, raspberry, or strawberries. The sweet and tart flavor of the cranberry sauce compliments the richness of the cheesecake for a winning combination.
Other Cranberry Recipes to Consider
Apple Cranberry Crisp
Honey Satsuma Cranberry Sauce
- 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup orange juice
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- Optional: 2 oz gold rum
- Add the cranberries, juice, sugars, and optional rum to a sauce pan.
- Cook the sauce on medium-high for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced – stirring occasionally. You’ll hear the cranberries bursting open – don’t worry, that’s what you want them to do.
- Remove from the heat and serve. Cranberry sauce can be made days ahead and brought to room temperature or slightly heated before serving.
Alice Currah says
Hi Peggy, you could add a little bit of white or apple cider vinegar. Balsamic would work too but I would start with just a little bit at a time until it has just enough acidity to add just a touch of brightness.
Peggy Wagner says
I am allergic to citrus. Is there anything else I can use besides the orange juice?
I have Grand Marnier. Ok to use and if so, how much?
Just finished making this. First time I’ve ever made homemade cranberry sauce and it looks amazing! Can’t wait to serve it up to our guests. Thanks for the recipe!
Eileen D says
I just made this recipe. I added just one ounce of the gold rum, just in case I didn’t like it, but
the recipe came out very well. Delicious!
What are you talking about weirdo? This is about amazing cranberry sauce, not whatever nonsense you’re talking about.
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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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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.
As usual, remarkably informative and helpful
blog post on Simple but Amazing Cranberry Sauce Recipe | Cranberry Sauce Recipes | Savory Sweet Life.
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
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!
Jennifer S says
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?
sc mom says
I used a little Grand Marnier in mine. Delicious!!
Thank you, a big hit at Thanksgiving. Doubled the recipe and jarred half for Christmas!