This is the best Homemade Cranberry Sauce I’ve ever made! Made with only 4 simple ingredients and a few easy steps, this fresh cranberry sauce is the perfect addition to your Holiday dinner table.
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Woo, here we go! Thanksgiving mode is in full effect here on Queenslee Appétit (even though Thanksgiving was a month ago here in Canada). I’ve got a full Thanksgiving menu ready to share with you all, from the main course to the side dishes, appetizers and of course, dessert!
But for now let’s start with the simple stuff, cranberry sauce!
The Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce
I think my entire family hates cranberry sauce, but you know what they’re gonna have to deal with it this year, because I’ll be making it from scratch over and over again! To be fair, their only experience is the stuff in the can.
Though, just like every other store-bought food they claimed to hate, once they tried my homemade version they immediately changed their minds! So here’s to hoping they also change their minds about cranberry sauce once they try my homemade recipe.
Here’s What You’ll Love About This Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- Only uses 4 ingredients (including water, which I’m sure you already have)
- Ready in 5-10 minutes
- Tastes far better than the one you buy in a can
- Totally customizable. I’ve included a list of optional add-ins you could throw in to add a different flavour!
Ingredients Used in Cranberry Sauce
The 4 basic ingredients used in cranberry sauce are sugar, water, orange juice and cranberries. We use a cup of sugar in the sauce, but you can easily adjust the sweetness level by adding less (or even more) if you wanted to. You can also substitute the white sugar for brown sugar for an even different flavour!
As for the liquids, we use 1 cup of water and ½ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, not the bottled juice. You can swap the amounts and use a cup of orange juice and ½ cup of water. You could also use all water or all orange juice to give the sauce more of an “orange-y” flavour.
How to Make Cranberry Sauce From Scratch
Making cranberry sauce from scratch is actually surprisingly easy! Start by combining the sugar, water and orange juice together in a saucepan and bringing them to a boil.
Once the mixture begins boiling, add the whole cranberries and continue to cook until they all pop. The cranberries will break up and create a chunky sauce, but if you want whole berries in your sauce, you can stir some in after it’s done cooking.
As for the add-ins, once the sauce has finished cooking, you can stir in some orange zest, vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon or cloves. You can also throw in a cinnamon stick or orange peel while it’s boiling, then remove it when it’s done. And if you want to make a more adult version, a splash of wine or rum will definitely spice things up!
Can Cranberry Sauce be Frozen?
Yes! Cranberry sauce freezes beautifully. Put the sauce into a freezer safe ziplock bag, or an airtight container and freeze for 1-2 months.
You’ll need to defrost it in the refrigerator overnight, but as everything that gets frozen and thawed, the sauce will be more watery. Just reheat it on the stove in a saucepan over medium heat and let it cook until most of the excess water evaporates and the sauce thickens back up.
What can Cranberry Sauce be used for?
Well cranberry sauce isn’t really something you eat by itself, it’s usually served alongside another dish, but what can you use it for? Here’s a few ideas:
- Serve it with Turkey or Baked Ham
- Whipped Cranberry Honey Butter
- Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwiches
- Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Sliders
- Cranberry BBQ Turkey Pizza (swap the cranberry bbq sauce for normal cranberry sauce)
- Serve it over Eggnog Pancakes or Eggnog French Toast
- Use it as a waffle or biscuit topping
- Or a cheesecake/mini cheesecake topping
So as you can see, cranberry sauce can be so much more than a side dish. Now go on, make a batch or two and say goodbye to the canned stuff for good!
Did you make this Homemade Cranberry Sauce? Let me know how they turned out in the comments below! And don’t forget to leave a rating!
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- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup orange juice (optional)
- 16 oz. fresh cranberries
- Optional Add-ins [see notes]: 1 tsp orange zest, ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract, 1 cinnamon stick or a pinch of ground cinnamon or cloves, an orange peel, or a splash of wine or rum, 1 split vanilla bean
- Wash the cranberries and discard any ugly, bruised ones. Set aside.
- Add the sugar, water and orange juice to a small saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to boil.
- Add the cranberries and allow mixture to return to a boil. Once mixture is boiling, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 5-10 minutes or until all of the cranberries have popped.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Optional Add-Ins Instructions: If adding orange zest, vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon or cloves, wait till the end to stir them in. The splash of wine or rum can be stirred in after adding the cranberries. The cinnamon stick or orange peel can be added while the sauce is boiling, then removed once it cools. If adding a split vanilla bean, place it into the sauce and allow it to cool and chill completely before removing the bean.
- Make Ahead: Cranberry sauce can be made about a month ahead of time and stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Thawing/Reheating Instructions: place frozen cranberry sauce in the freezer overnight to thaw. Reheat on the stove over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, or until most of the excess water evaporates.
- Frozen Cranberries: If using frozen cranberries, make sure to thaw before using.
- Whole Cranberry Sauce: if you want a whole cranberry sauce, reserve about 4 oz. of the cranberries (or buy extra!) and stir the whole berries into the sauce after it’s done cooking.
- Variations: You can replace the granulated sugar with brown sugar for a brown sugar cranberry sauce. You can also use all water or all orange juice for more of an orange flavour (recommend adding the zest too if you want this), you can also switch up the amounts and use 1 cup of orange juice and ½ cup of water.
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