Cranberry Sauce

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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!

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.

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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.

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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 162 Comments

  • Lisa Mills

    I use this recipe for my cranberry sauce. I do not add the optionals listed in the recipe. The only thing I do differently is use granulated truvia in place of the sugar (we are diabetic) and I mash the berries with a potato masher (my family likes smaller chunks), The sauce sets up beautifully.

  • Jay

    Well, I don’t eat cranberry sauce with turkey or any other meats; instead, around this time of the year, I make the sauce to use in place of store bought marmalade. I used this recipe in middle of December using still available fresh cranberries and had it with pancakes on Saturday morning. Yum!

  • Adrian

    I just wanted to say I took the leap to make this home made cranberry sauce, as it was my job to bring it this year. AMAZING! I quadrupled the recipe for the number of people coming, and served it chilled. Everyone that tried it loved it! And I’m a fan of the canned stuff, so I was amazed at how easy but tasty this one was. Thanks so much!

    P.s. I loved it so much I also pinned to one of my boards on Pintrest!

  • Ann

    Most Holidays I make my own cranberry sauce from cranberries that I have picked during the fall. This year they were very hard to find so I am using store-bought frozen cranberries. I am hoping it will come out delicious. You have a great recipe posted here! Happy Holidays@

  • matt

    Add cream cheese to hot cranberry sauce and mix it in, it’s yummy, try it in a sample of your recipe

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