Cranberry Sauce


Do you like cranberry sauce? My father can’t get enough of it during the holiday season. He’ll even stock up on fresh cranberries when they become available in late October, and freeze them to eat all year long.

I think he looks forward to Thanksgiving just because he knows he can have as much cranberry sauce as he wants with his slices of turkey, and plenty leftover for turkey sandwiches.

When he finally runs out of frozen cranberries sometime in May, he’ll start buying the cans. He’ll hide the cans in a remote corner of the pantry and eat up the canned cranberries all by himself. Yes, he’s a little obsessed.

Cranberry Sauce

For me it’s been an acquired taste. As a kid I just couldn’t understand why something so beautifully garnet colored didn’t taste like berry pie filling!

Cranberries are tart, very tart, and need sugar to balance their tartness. But even with the sugar, the tartness comes through. As an adult, I have come to love cranberry sauce in all forms, including a cranberry relish that you don’t even have to cook.

Cranberries are absolutely perfect with turkey. Sort of like lemons and chicken. Something about the flavors, they’re just made for each other. Which is why the sauce is so good to spread over turkey in your leftover turkey sandwiches.

The following is a simple and easy recipe for cranberry sauce, one that you can easily dress up with extras. If you have a favorite way of making yours, please let us know about it in the comments!

From the recipe archive for Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Cranberry sauce base makes 2 1/4 cups.

The recipe calls for a cup of water. You can easily substitute that with 1/2 cup of orange juice 1/2 cup of water if you want to increase the orange note in the sauce (cranberries and oranges play well together!)

You can also reduce the sugar if you want. Start out with half as much and add more if you think it needs it.


  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Optional Pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.


1 Rinse cranberries: Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse them. Pick out and discard any damaged or bruised cranberries.

2 Boil water with sugar: Put the water and sugar in a medium saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

cranberry-sauce-method-1 cranberry-sauce-method-2

3 Add cranberries, cook until they burst: Add the cranberries to the pot and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst.

cranberry-sauce-method-3 cranberry-sauce-method-4

4 Stir in mix-ins if using: Once the cranberries have burst you can leave the cranberry sauce as is, or dress it up with other ingredients. We like to mix in a half a cup of chopped pecans with a few strips of orange zest.

Some people like adding raisins or currants, or even blueberries for added sweetness. You can also add holiday spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice. If adding spices, start with a pinch of each and add more to your taste.

5 Let cool: Remove the pot from heat. Let cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to a bowl to chill in the refrigerator. Note that the cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

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Cranberry Sauce

Showing 4 of 175 Comments

  • Dave Ross

    Here’s a recipe for the adventurous: start with 2 cups plain cranberry sauce according to this recipe. Grate a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger root, finely chop one green onion and one Serrano chili (remove the seeds to reduce heat). Combine in a glass bowl and refrigerate overnight. This version goes well with traditional T-day foods, and equally well with fusion (Asian-American, Latin-American) dishes. I make mine with 2 Serrano chilies, including seeds.

  • Phylis OKeefe

    For a different treat, after the pumpkin pie is gone, try spooning some of the cranberry sauce over vanilla ice cream. Pretty darn good!

  • Julia Williams

    I just made this for my post Thanksgiving dinner which we celebrate on Sat. It was very easy remake. Thanks!

  • Paula Gayness

    My Daddy always made the cranberry sauce – always and I can still see the smile on his face as he made enough to last several meals. I have made it now for the last 19 years even though both parents are gone, but it gives me comfort and a smile every year and my grown daughter makes sure I make enough for several meals as well. This is the same basic recipe he always made – just cranberries, sugar and water. And now I am the person who giggles when I find a “bog” in the store and am able to dip in and get fresh ones. Thanksgiving – all about the cranberries for my family! Happy Holidays to you!

  • Sylvia

    Hi Elise.
    I often make my sauce by cooking a diced pear in the syrup first plus about a one-inch piece of vanilla bean before adding the cranberries. Really lovely!

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