Cranberry Sauce

Classic, easy and delicious Thanksgiving cranberry sauce recipe. How to make cranberry sauce from scratch. Perfect with turkey.

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.

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

Ingredients

  • 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.

Method

bring sugar water to a boil

1 Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse them. Pick out and discard any damaged or bruised cranberries. Put the water and sugar in a medium saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

add cranberries to pot and return to a boil simmer cranberries until they are popped

 

2 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.

3 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.

4 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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Comments

  1. Reginae

    I’m probably the only college student out there who actually takes the time to make real cranberry sauce the old fashioned way like this =P

    Raisins and cinnamon — great suggestion. I’m going to try that next time!

  2. Bea

    In France, we eat cranberry sauce with game meat rather than turkey, so it is interesting for me to know that this is a sauce that goes with turkey too.

    • Laura

      My husband really likes cranberry sauce with pheasant and that’s kind of game-ish and yet tastes kind of like turkey too. He also will pile on the real stuff with venison (he hunts, isn’t always too good at it, but he tries).

  3. vanessa

    everyone’s got their must-have food. at least your dad makes his from scratch and resorts to the canned stuff when it runs out.

    my dad’s still got this thing for Carl’s Jr. He eats it EVERYDAY. It was momentous occasion when he came home with Wendy’s.

    btw, i forgot to mention–how cool that all the bay area bloggers got together! good conversation, fo sho. Oh, and thanks for listing me on your link site :) Cheers!

  4. Ole Aioli

    Substituting OJ for the water is nice – a little oomph without overwhelming.

  5. Sharon

    This is the recipe we use as well. Instead of orange zest, I like adding lime zest for a kickier version.

  6. Larry

    I call mine Cape Cod Cranberry Sauce. try using a little vodka (a few Tablespoonsor as much as 1/3 cup) and Lime juice and zest in place of the water. gives it a nice lil kick and garnish with some lime zest!

  7. Lori: British Columbia

    I used this recipe for my first time ever homemade cranberry sauce. I added about a TBLSP of orange zest and hand squeezed the juice from 3 oranges into my water to equal 1 cup, I also squeezed the juice of 1 lime into it after it boiled. It turned out incredible! I can’t wait to put it on our Christmas Table. My family will be so impressed.

  8. nitka

    Cranberry sauce is great with deep fried camember cheese- my mum makes a fantastic sauce and she always adds small, sweet and aromatic pears cut in halves while simmering the cranberries in syrup-at the end. They look beautiful on the table-you can put some cranberries in the hollowed pear.

  9. karla

    I am very happy to say that I tried this recipe and it came out great so I think everyone should try it.

  10. Lisa

    Im in charge of the cranberrry sauce this year! I like to make mine with cans of frozen concentrated apple juice in place of the sugar/ water. I just put in 1 large or 2-3 small cans of the juice with the cranberries. It adds the sweetness and gives it an apple/cranberry flavor! (I suppose I could try adding one apple and one frozen o.j…Maybe I will try that!)

  11. jake from Houston

    I love this stuff!!!! My mom made it once when i was a kidd …and now im making it part of my Thanksgiving AND Christmas!!! Enjoy!

  12. Moesy

    Does anyone know why sometimes this cranberry recipe will gel and sometimes it’s runny. I’ve been making this for years and just can’t figure out why it does that ….. anyone know?

  13. Elise

    Hi Moesy – cranberries have a lot of natural pectin in them, which can cause them to gel when cooked. Other factors also contribute too, the amount of sugar in the sauce and how long you cook it.

    • Stanley Dickes

      For EliSE Use a little less water than what is called for on the package. You will have no problem about the gel. I also use a potato masher to break up the berries. This releases more of the pectin. Stanley

  14. Liza Gabriel

    Does anyone know if there are any special instructions for preserving (canning) this sauce? I haven’t made it before and would like to include it in a xmas basket for family and friends.

  15. Barbara Lukancic

    My mother used to make the cranberry sauce and would get it to gel. Now that she is gone, my sister makes it with nutrisweet because family members have diabetes. It doesn’t gel.

  16. Lisa S.

    My sister made this for me because I can’t stand the canned stuff, but the fresh stuff I like. I had more than I really needed so I used it as jelly on my English muffins. Those were some good breakfast muffins!

  17. Alison

    I always add roasted walnut pieces and orange marmalade and lemon juice to mine. But I don’t boil mine I simply put sugar and washed cranberries in a large Baking dish and pop them in the 350′ oven till they start bubbling. Keep an eye on them. Remove them from the oven and add the marmalade and lemon juice and roasted walnuts. mmmmm-mmmmm-mmmmm I make up a big batch and give a mason jar full to all my friends every Thanksgiving!!

  18. John

    I add jalapeños, walnuts and mandarin oranges to my cranberry relish. It’s always a hit at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  19. NorCalHarris

    I also buy cranberries as they become avail fresh in hte store. I LOVE to mix some cranberry sauce into my Oatmeal instead of butter, sugar & raisins or what-have-you. Even turned other family onto it.

    Tried the Spicy Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir Recipe and tasted it… GOD-AWFUL and will never stray from the tried & true plain ever again…

    Note from Elise: Sounds like you didn’t use a good bottle of Pinot Noir. I love that recipe.

  20. Wendee

    I love your blog and the wonderful, wonderful photos. My variation of cranberry sauce, like Nitka’s, includes diced pears (canned pears work great / two 15 oz cans, drained) and honey, and then a bit (1 tsp) of lemon zest and 2 tsp of lemon juice after its cooled off. I find that fresh cranberry sauce always surprises people – they don’t expect very much at all from fresh cranberry sauce, but find it very yummy once they’ve tried it.

  21. Carol

    Can someone please tell me how to get the cranberry sauce to jell? Do you need to add additional pectin to obtain jellied sauce?

  22. glenn galloway

    I use black cherry jello. Make the normal way of berries, sugar, nuts, almond extract, and chopped celery. After berries are done add to jello and let sit until firm.

  23. Claudia a/k/a Happy Nutritionist

    I searched for a Cranberry Sauce recipe and found your site right at the top of the list, what a great site! I am making Cranberry Sauce from fresh berries we picked up at a farm in Maine a couple of weeks ago. I wrote some about it on my blog. Have a thankful Thanksgiving!

  24. T

    1 cup of sugar was to much. Used some graded orange peel and lemon juice, added a nice touch without over doing it. Just a little sweet for my preference.

  25. marvellous

    I add a few spoons of sugar with a little lime juice to fresh cranberries. Turned out so good.

  26. Lisa S.

    I made this recipe this year and I loved it. I did change the water to 1/2 cup and used 1/2 cup orange juice along with the sugar. Very good recipe – and so simple. Thanks!!

  27. Wes S.

    I like this simple recipe. It’s just like my aunt used to make. I change it up a little bit by mashing the cranberries with a potato masher and sprinkling chopped walnuts over the top of it before putting in the fridge.

  28. Gaston Bacquet

    I live in Chile and I made this recipe for a group of people who’d never tried cranberry sauce before. It was a big, big hit. Thank you. (Coincidentally, it’s the best I’ve tried!)

  29. Jo

    I put buscuit pastry inside muffin tins, spooned in some of this sauce and baked. I also mixed it with a sauted apple sauce and added to muffins. Once out of the oven and cooled slightly, we added ice cream and a bit of whipped cream. My husband was very pleased with my quick dessert. I will definately use this again. This was a bulls-eye on my first visit to the website.

  30. Sophia

    How long can this sauce last in the fridge? Can I freeze the extra sauce?

  31. Tammy

    Is canning the sauce the only way to preserve it? How long does it last refrigerated or is it ok to put into plastic container and freeze the extra sauce ?

  32. Valerie

    Tammy, my grandma poured the sauce into pretty glasses and then sealed with parafin.

  33. Ellen

    Thank you for this simple recipe! I grabbed some cranberries at a farmer’s market today and was able to use your recipe as a guideline. I had lemons on hand and those worked just fine instead of orange. Everyone loves it!

  34. Michael Chenot

    Thanks for the Recipe I often get tired of eating the stuff out of the can!

  35. thekevinmonster

    Nice, simple cranberry sauce. :) I believe I made this last year and I’m doing it again this year. I’ve tried all kinds of cranberry sauces over the years and the simple one’s always the best.

    (if you put some coconut rum in it, it’s very good with fried ripe plantains.)

  36. Sherry

    I used a 1/2 cup of sugar and a 1/2 cup brown sugar. Also used 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of orange juice. Came out perfect.

  37. Ruby

    Yes – cranberry sauce freezes well. I just thawed some out a few weeks ago & we had it with roasted chicken. I also put diced apples in mine.

  38. Srini

    Thanks for the simple recipe, I made this for my 6 year old Daughter for Thanksgiving and she liked it very much. She said your a good Cook Dad…. (This credit goes to you too)

  39. Dereck

    Just made it tonight for Thanksgiving. Smells good, and I took a sample taste when it cooled and it is very good. I can’t wait for the rest of the family to try it tomorrow.

  40. Anna

    My husband bought 2 12 oz. bags of fresh cranberries today, I went too cook them up and guess what? No directions on the bag. Found this blog, what a help! When making the sauce I use 1/2 the amount of sugar. I like them on the tart side. I also like them out of the bag. I will buy a lot of cranberries when they are in season and freeze them the way they are in the bag. I will also make a lot of sauce at Thanksgiving and freeze them in plastic containers. They taste great on the frozen side.

  41. Felicia

    Very funny story, I made this exact recipe tonight for Thanksgiving tomorrow and then I got nosey and wanted to see how other people were making it. Fabulous recipe. Although I didn’t add any orange just stuck to the staple recipe and I also put the cranberries through a sieve to make it more smooth, I don’t care for it with the cranberries whole.

  42. KimberH

    Great recipe. I never get the cans, make my own as it is so easy. Add some orange juice in place of part of the water (1/2 and 1/2) and a little orange zest, and now it is gourmet!

  43. Jess

    Im very excited to try this recipe! I had my first taste of homemade cranberry sauce last year at a friends thanksgiving dinner and I have been craving it all year long!

  44. S Logan

    I LOVE this recipe! I also used this for the first time for Thanksgiving. The cranberry sauce turned out absolutely delicious. I’ll never go back to the canned stuff, ever.

  45. jeta

    How long is cranberry sauce will stay good in the refrigerator? or in the freezer? I’m planning to make a big batch and have it for our Christmas party next week.

    I would hazard a guess of a week, covered, in the fridge. The sugar will help it keep. We usually eat ours up before a week is up though. ~Elise

  46. Jelena

    This recipe was a hit on my first try. I used the suggestions of 1/2 water, 1/2 orange juice, 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 regular sugar. It was easy to make and tasty. Next time I want to try the lemon juice suggestions to vary it.

  47. kagan

    This by far was the best cranberry sauce EVER. We added some pecans and a splash of port. Our guests couldn’t get enough. Thank you for the posting.

  48. thekevinmonster

    I added a tablespoon of white rum and a tablespoon of amaretto for an extra bolt of flavor. I also put in flakes of orange rind.

    One thing that I noticed was that, despite cooking for ten minutes, some of the cranberries were still very intact and provided an explosive tart zap when eaten.

  49. gail

    My family tradition is for fresh cranberry relish – uncooked. I use a bag of washed, sorted cranberries, process to a fine chop in food processor, dump into a bowl. Then process 2-3 apples, cored but not peeled (usually MacIntosh or Delicious) to same consistency. Add to cranberries. Finally, puree 2-3 peeled navel oranges – number of oranges depends on how juicy they are – don’t want the relish too runny. Add to bowl. Stir in sugar to taste – tangy to sweet – to your personal preference. Err on side of tartness and adjust on the day of serving. Refrigerate 1-3 days to blend flavors. Adds great fiber and phytonutrients to the Thanksgiving and Christmas feast. It lasts for days, refrigerated. Goes well with hot or cold cereal, as condiment on side with any meat. Could be added to a breakfast smoothie, but might be too sugary.

  50. D & T

    My boyfriend made this sauce for a Christmas party and it tastes lovely, thanks!

  51. Jeanette Coleman

    I used this recipe to make my families’ first time ever experience to tasting homemade cranberry sauce. It was such a hit with my family that we were arguing about who was going to eat the last little bit. It was gone by the end of Christmas dinner. We will not be eating cranberry sauce in the can anymore! I will be making twice the batch for New Year’s. I also added pecans, cinnamon, & nutmeg to my sauce and had it in the fridge 2 days before Christmas dinner. Thanks for the recipe..I’ve already passed it on to my sister who wasn’t able to have Christmas dinner with the family.

  52. Molly

    Our family recipe is very similar, but we substitute brandy for the water (we’re Irish, what do you expect?!). It’s always fantastic. Word to the wise though, cooking with high alcohol concentration on a gas stove top is more dangerous than I thought. I nearly lost my eyebrows last year!

  53. Annette

    Hello,
    try addng apple sauce to it. Everyone seems to love it.

  54. lora

    I really liked this recipe. My 7 year old daughter made it under my supervision. We used 3/4 cups of fructose instead of sugar. my dad prefers to use honey as the sweetner.

  55. Gayla Jean Christianson

    I am preparing a simple cranberry sauce for our Thankgiving family reunion. There will be between 70 guests. I am unsure of how much cooked sauce to allow for each guest. Our guest list will include children and adults. We will be serving a huge meal with many side dishes. I have cooked a batch of sauce starting with approx. 26 cups of berries and my yield is approx 14 cups of sauce. Am am freezing this sauce until T-Day. Should I prepare more?

    Your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise

  56. gina covey

    I add a little grand marnier, orange zest, and pecans to canned whole cranberries. It’s simple, quick, and yummy!

  57. Rhonda K.

    I have never made fresh cranberry sauce, my family likes the canned stuff you can slice. Well I have a lot of pomegranates from my tree and don’t know what else to make with them so I plan to substitute them in the recipe for the cranberries.I thought since the fruits are so similar and my family really likes them, why not try pomegranate sauce.

    Well, one difference is that pomegranate arils are seedy. You can’t just cook them up like cranberries and mash them. Well you can, but the texture would be weird. Pomegranates also don’t have the pectin that cranberries do. So they will not thicken the way that cranberry sauce thickens. Pomegranate sauce is delicious though, it’s usually referred to as pomegranate molasses. We have a recipe for pomegranate molasses that you might want to investigate. ~Elise

  58. Milli K.

    Would anyone have a cranberry recipe without cooking? I was raised grinding the berries and adding sugar and walnuts. No cooking involved. AND it is delicious.

    Yes. Try our cranberry relish. ~Elise

  59. Elena H.

    Add a little pineapple to your raw cranberry relish, it’s lovely.

  60. Stacey B.

    This is a fantastic and easy recipe! However, I add frozen red raspberries to mine. It gives it a tart taste! Highly recommended ….

  61. Betty P

    I’m with your Dad. Fresh cranberry sauce can’t hold a candle to the canned variety. This is tart and sweet and yummy. I like to keep it on hand for any meal. Delicious

  62. Anonymous

    I think I’m gonna try adding some key lime juice this year

  63. Lisa

    This is the first time I can honestly say this..I love this stuff. I’m not a fan of the canned stuff either, my son’s school was having native american day and they made a recipe very close to this and I thought this would be great to put on toast, or use in one of my pies. I will be trying this tonight in one of my pies to see how great it turns out.

  64. Margaret

    This was an incredibly simple and delicious recipe! I actually just got done making mine, and it’s cooling off in the fridge right now. I put some clementine zest as well as the juice from one clementine in with the water to have it equal a cup, and topped off with a little cinnamon. So Good, even warm!

  65. Lauren

    I have been making this recipe for the last 3 Thanksgivings and it has always been devoured. I doubled the recipe this year and added a pint of blueberries, juice from 1 lime, chopped pecans and cinnamon. So easy, and so many ways to make it original. Yum.

  66. Noah

    Thanks for the recipe! Yours was listed #1 out of over 3 million on Google. Nice work ;-)

  67. Tenzin Dolkar

    It is awesome! I love it I used it for Thanksgiving. AMAZING!(grace).. JKing I love it!

  68. Bev

    I want to make some for gifts. Can I put it in jars and how long would it last?

    Great question. I don’t think there is enough sugar in the recipe to can the way you would a jam or jelly. But you should be okay if you put them into sterilized jars (with sterilized lids) and let them cool, then store in the fridge for several weeks. ~Elise

  69. Hans

    Thank you for the recipe. The sauce (from fresh berries) turned out great the last time, and I’m going to follow you again today.

    For a fancier sauce, I sometimes like to add some freshly grated ginger. Adds a bit of an edge…

  70. Joe

    Made this today. A really great, simple recipe. What I like about it is the cranberry flavor is not covered by other flavors.

  71. Autumn

    Another wonderfully delicious and easy recipe I used this Thanksgiving. I had a book with a great cranberry recipe I was going to use but then lost the book! So I started to look for a recipe again and found yours. I actually goofed and put orange zest rather than orange skins in, but its a very yummy goof. At first bite, it as the sweetness from the sugar mixed with the flavor of the cranberries and at the very finish a wonderful zing of orange. I only made this for myself because my father in law will only eat canned… I’ll tell you what.. I am never going back to canned.

    Hi Autumn, my goof! The recipe should have read “orange zest” not “orange peel”. I’ve corrected it now. When you use strips of the orange, you need to take just the top part (the zest part) not the bitter white part. Recipe has been corrected. ~Elise

  72. Linda Brown

    I made this recipe just as is and put it in canning jars which I sealed the usual way of sterlizing in water bath. They turned out great and I am giving them as gifts this Christmas.

  73. Matthew

    I use the same recipe but add a half of cup of orange juice and a half of cup of triple sec. This gives the recipe a nice smooth kick.

  74. Katie

    This is my first time ever cooking Christmas dinner and I am living in the middle east so its a challenge, no tesco’s down the road like the UK!! Couldn’t find cranberry sauce but found fresh cranberries and now you’ve completed the dinner for me, thanks!!

  75. Tess

    I’m also a college student who only makes the real stuff. This is delicious and very easy to make.

  76. Ace

    Fantastic and simple. I made half a batch with orange zest, cinnamon and a few pecans. I’ll NEVER be able to buy a can of cranberry sauce again!

  77. Dina

    I found your recipe few days ago and I made this sauce today it turn out perfectly since I never make my own cranberry sauce. I added orange zest, orange pulps and sultanas. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  78. Turkey in the Straw

    Hi–I made this recipe with a few modifications and it was lovely. I used a half cup of brown sugar and a sweet apple, chopped fine, along with some cinnamon and nutmeg, and the results were brilliant.

  79. Elizabeth

    A few years ago I was at a Thanksgiving dinner where cayenne pepper was mistaken for cinnamon – which turned out to be a fortunate mistake! Now I always add a few dashes of cayenne AND cinnamon – the heat adds another dimension to the tart/sweet combination…enjoy!

    What a great idea, thanks! ~Elise

  80. Brooke

    I have canned this recipe by adding some apple for pectin. I used 8oz jars and processed them for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. It jelled fantastically and the colour was beautiful – I brought it as a hostess gift to our family holiday meals.

  81. art

    Hey y’all!!!

    I absolutely love REAL cranberry sauce!!!! Not that whatever it really is stuff that comes out of a can…. And I love eating them all year long too…. And here all these years I thought I was the only one!!!

    I buy a few dozen bags the first day the supermarkets slash the price on cranberries, which I believe is usually the day before Thanksgiving….. I take no chances on not having two or three bags a month all to my self… so I buy a lot!!!!

    I have been told it’s really good on pancakes and on occasion poured all over a big bowl of Bryers too…
    Now then, THIS, YES, THIS RIGHT HERE is the right and true way to a never ending cranberry sauce sensation of your very own, any time you want it….

    1 bag cranberries
    1 cup honey
    1 big can frozen orange juice concentrate
    1/2 cup raisins
    1/2 cup dried cherries
    or
    1/2 cup fresh_or_frozen raspberries or blackberries
    2 tablespoons of REAL BUTTER, and not some of that
    margarine crap either
    1/2 cup of pomegranate or raspberry or grapefruit or
    whatever your favorite juice might be
    1 big sectioned and the sections halved ruby red
    grapefruit

    Throw, put, or whatever you wanna call it, everything in a big old pot, bring it all to and keep at a boil for 12 minutes or so…. OMG!!!!! Eat it hot! Eat it warm! Or, eat it cold!
    This stuff is so good fresh made and still warm, and, you will be so happy to have a fresh bowlful of it, your spouse person might make it for you on a real regular basis, !!!

    This recipe will last me two, sometimes three days………. Nobody else I know ever eats the stuff except maybe for maybe 4 tbls on Thanksgiving, and 3 more at Christmas.

    But I, no way babe, not me, no, I wouldn’t trade 1 bag of cranberries for a lifetime of Big Macs, Whoppers, Wendy’s, Hardee’s, and/or any body else’s burger for that matter either……..

  82. Ginger

    My sister is diabetic, so I make the sauce with sugar-free strawberry jam instead of sugar (sub on a cup-per-cup basis), then adjust with a little Splenda at the end. I always add tangerine zest, Saigon cinnamon and either pitted fresh/frozen black cherries or bings. We love it!

  83. Kristina

    I grew up with the sliced, canned junk and thought I hated cranberry sauce–boy was I wrong!! I hosted T-giving last year and tried this recipe and it was a hit! I just finished making a double batch for this year’s feast. Thanks so much! Oh, and I suppose you can add another college student to the list :)

  84. Teresa Torres

    I made this recipe tonight after my daughters teacher shared it with me. Can the cranberries be cooked too long? My batch tastes sour in comparison to hers.

    I think it’s very hard to overcook cranberries. Sounds like you need more sugar in yours. ~Elise

  85. Katrice

    I adore your blog. And honestly, and this is sad, have only just tried real cranberry sauce this year. As I too grew up with the nasty canned junk. And look four years later and this recipe is going strong. I’m so excited to make REAL cranberry sauce. Thanks so much, oh and might as well add another college student =)

  86. Gabrielle

    I’m very glad this idea was posted! I tried to make it with lemon zest instead of orange zest, walnuts instead of pecans, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It taste great! Thank you for helping me with my Thanksgiving feast!

  87. Faye

    I made this for our own little Thanksgiving meal (my first ever Thanksgiving for ourselves and friends); the cranberry sauce was the best part! LOL nothing helps an over cooked turkey more than this. This recipe was so easy, so good and all I did was add a few blueberries to the mix and it was delicious! Thank you thank you!

  88. Peggy Miles

    This recipe is fabulous. I made a double batch to share with a friend who said — “Yep, this is the best cranberry sauce ever.” It’s so easy. I did add pecans and raisins. Can’t get over how great it turned out!

  89. goobles

    suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupppppppppppppppppppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  90. Harriette

    This was great, thanks! I like my cranberry sauce on the sweet side so I was not cheap with the 1 cup of sugar. Also, I added 1 tbs. of fresh grated ginger and the zest of 1 orange. So so good!

  91. kathy

    6 years since the original post in 2005!!

    I was just cleaning some fresh cranberries picked a couple of days ago in West Virginia and needed some guidelines for making sauce, and as someone else mentioned, this site was at the top of Google results. It’s been great reading through all the various comments full of ideas for adaptations. I echo the comment from someone who said they only used 1/2 the amount of sugar. To me, using 1/2 the amount of sugar in just about any recipe is the way to go.

    Aside from eating it with some sort of nutloaf for those holidays, I like to eat cranberry sauce with an eggs and toast breakfast. Though I grew up with the canned stuff, in more recent years my mom took to making it from fresh berries. And since then I would never dream of touching the canned sauce.

  92. rosa

    The pectin level is higher in unripe fruit so I would imagine a higher percentage of unripe cranberries would cause the cranberry sauce to gel more. I love the plain version and I am definitely NOT a fan of marmalade; adding citrus peel and zest makes it like a cranberry marmalade to me. I could tolerate pears, apples or raspberries but why gild the lily?

  93. mary cunningham

    How long will this recipe keep in the refrigerator? Can you freeze it?

    Several days I imagine. No idea about freezing cranberry sauce, haven’t done it. ~Elise

  94. Laura@MotherWouldKNow

    I freeze cranberry sauce all the time. Also freeze cranberries whole in the plastic bag to use them all year long. Both work fine. Note: last year I froze a couple of bags by just throwing the plastic bag from store in freezer – it leaked and during a power outage the cranberries defrosted and I got red juice all over my freezer. Yuch. This year I’ll put the store bag inside a freezer bag.

  95. Heather Spell

    I made a large batch of this for Christmas last year, had some leftover so I stuck it in the freezer. We pulled it down at Easter, and it still tasted great. Although I’m going to can some this year so that I can give as gifts and save precious room in my deep freeze!

  96. Pam

    I have been using this recipe since I was a little girl. My great grandmother used to have me stand on a chair and help her “pick over” the berries. As with all holiday meals, nostalgia is part of the flavoring! I usually add thin orange slices as a garnish, and some years add either orange or apricot marmalade after the berries have cooked(reduce the sugar when adding a marmalade). Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

  97. JoAnna Adams

    I am attempting to make cranberry sauce from scratch this year and I have a question. I would like to use orange juice to replace some of the water and honey instead of sugar. Does anyone know what the measurements might be to do this?

  98. amanda adams

    i made this last year and it was a hit! this year i added a tbl.lemon zest tbl.grated ginger root and 3/4 cup of chopped walnut with the juice of one small lemon. Absolutely phenomenol and i love that its so easy to make.

  99. amanda

    but, with orange juice instead of water, and a couple of handfuls of CANDIED GINGER and stir in at the end a handful of toasted pine nuts. then, you can die and go to heaven.

  100. Jay

    I’m going to use what I have in the fridge i.e. lime & candied ginger

  101. Patricia Williams

    Without a doubt this is the most delicious
    cranberry sauce I have ever tasted! And
    it is so fast and easy, too. I’m a diabetic
    so I substitute Splenda for the sugar. My
    husband likes some orange flavor in it
    so I cook it in orange juice instead of
    water, with a bit of the zested orange rind.
    The pecans sound like an interesting
    addition. We use this year round with
    different roasted meats…..pork, beef,
    chicken. It is just as wonderful in hot
    weather as in the fall or winter. Just
    be sure you don’t run out cranberries.
    Buy extra packages and keep them tucked
    away in your freezer, because they aren’t
    available in the stores after January 1.

  102. CathyF

    This is exactly the same recipe as is on the Ocean Spray fresh cranberry bags….equal parts water/sugar and berries…..I use only 3/4 cup sugar though. Will have to try the OJ variation next yr…….

  103. Amber

    I grew up thinking I hated cranberry sauce. I’d only ever had the canned version, and it never appealed to me.
    I saw fresh cranberries on sale last week and bought them on a whim, not really knowing what I would do with them. This was my very first experience with fresh cranberries (I do like dried ones, but there’s too much sugar); I ate one raw and it was (not surprisingly) so tart!
    I figured I’d try to soften/sweeten them up a little bit to add them to yogurt or something (like blueberries)…so I threw a cup in a pot with some water and a little bit of apple cider vinegar and brought it to a boil. I didn’t know they pop! It was fascinating and so much fun. I turned the heat down to a simmer and added some honey, whiskey (Irish girl), and cinnamon and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. When it was done, I was so thrilled to discover that I had accidentally made cranberry sauce, and it was delicious!! I had no idea it was so easy and that I would actually like it.
    That was 2 nights ago. Last night I made more, and this time I added a tiny tiny dash of ginger and one of cayenne…it has a very small kick to it as an aftertaste. I want to make this all the time now and will definitely be eating it year-round. I think I will try adding my ingredients *after* simmering (as per your recipe) next time just to see how it turns out, and I also want to try it with some other fruits added, but I’m satisfied with it just the way it is for now.
    Delicious!!

  104. Glenda

    Our family loves anything cranberry. One of our Thanksgiving favorites is one cup of boiling water with the one cup of sugar.(You can add an extra sprinkling of sugar to taste and account for the tartness of the raspberries)… Add a pint of raspberries and serve with or without some grated orange peel. Easy easy.

  105. judith hoger

    I may be the person making cranberry sauce for the holiday season (hmm, ginger, hot peppers, dried cherries) Have also seen a recipe for cranberry chutney.

  106. Christina

    I added cardamom this year because I didn’t have oranges, which I usually add. It was very nice.

    (And, cranberry sauce makes a great addition to muffins, if you have any leftover, though it doesn’t sound like you have that problem!)

  107. simone

    I think your dad has the right idea by freezing all those bags…:) I do the same! I just love cranberries and have been stocking up on them already. Cranberry sauce is my all time favorite!

  108. Susanne

    A very small amount of Grand Marnier (2 tsp) is wonderful. The alcohol cooks out but the orange flavor remains. Mmmm.

  109. WHStoneman

    I am a big fan of “canned” cranberry jelly. Problem is the can ridges on the side. I take it out of the can, heat until liquid and then pour into a nice Waterford bowl…..spectacular presentation.

  110. Michelle

    Fresh GINGER! Also, I always use orange zest and orange juice instead of water (and thereby reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup). Some chopped pear or apple is a nice touch too. I love the fresh stuff – never grew up on the canned version so I don’t get people’s nostalgia about it.

  111. mllp

    That’s FAR too much sugar for me. I’ve been making cranberry sauce for years and use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar. 1 cup ruins the tartness of the cranberries. I sometimes add other things, orange juice, ginger, etc. but mostly prefer the simple undiluted cranberries.

  112. Jon

    Like most of the commenters I can’t stand the canned stuff but love cranberries so I to have been making this for years. Thanks Elise for posting this all those years ago. I use fresh OJ as well and cut some of the sugar. To really give it that Holiday smell and flavor I throw in a pinch of clove as well, not to much since a little clove goes a long way.

  113. Glenda

    We love homemade cranberry sauce, so when they’re in season, I can my own to last through the year, and some extra for gifts.

  114. Rick Shaw

    I make this recipe with Splenda. I use one cup of Splenda in place of the sugar. It comes out great.

  115. shawn

    I like to make a cup of jamaica tea to use instead of just water. Brings a nice flavor and really brightens the color – like the cranberries aren’t bright enough – but still.

  116. Joanna

    Ok. Confession. I have never actually tried cranberry sauce. Weird? Shocking? Strange? Maybe. But it’s going to change. I am actually going to prepare it myself! Thanks for the (simple) recipe!

  117. MaryAlecia

    I love cranberry sauce! My husband and I have been making a fresh version for a few years now; all who eat it love it.

    12 oz fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup red wine, 1 cup or less of sugar, zest of one orange, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 cinnamon stick, pinch of salt , pinch of cayenne. Add everything but the cranberries to a sauce pain and bring to a simmer. Add cranberries. Cook gently until they start to pop; you can use the spoon to gently press them against the sides of the pan to help break them down. Remove from heat. You can add a few tablespoons of cold water to help speed down cooling. Chill overnight if possible.

    I’ll have to give your recipe a shot this year since i’m pregnant and not drinking alcohol. Thank you!

  118. FoodJunkie

    Thanks Elise. Cranberry sauce is so easy to make and so much tastier than canned. As you and many commenters have added the flavour has infinite variations by changing the liquid and/or the spices . Wine based sauces with a hint of ginger, cardamom or rosemary are my favorites.

  119. Joanne W.

    Use a bottle of POM juice instead of water and then half the amount of sugar, and a tablespoon of either lemon or orange zest.

  120. B

    Hit “print” and use 7 pages of full color pages of cranberries. Really disappointed. Should have fit on a 4 x 6 size card.

  121. Patty

    I add fresh rosemary to mine, takes some of the edge off the sweetness from the sugars.

  122. Kandace

    Thanks for putting the options for what can be added and when to the recipe. I like to experiment with my recipes but am not a professional so a little guidance is greatly appreciated!

  123. Mike

    I added Amaretto and cinnamon sticks and cut back on the sugar a bit due to the amaretto – Excellent!!

  124. Bebe

    help….I made Cranberry sauce and added a peeled orange (left some white part on orange think its called rine, pureed & added to cranberry).
    Sauce tastes a little tart to me. Is there something I should add so you don’t taste the tartness from orange rine?

    Bebe

    • Elise

      Hi Bebe, you puréed the orange zest with the cranberry sauce? That’s the issue. That will make the sauce bitter. If you add zest, keep it in a strip to flavor the sauce, and then just remove it to serve. Or add some grated zest—orange parts only, no white. Cranberries are tart and sour in themselves and the only way to offset that is to add sugar. But don’t add too much or you will lose the flavor of the cranberries.

  125. AE

    Any leftover cranberry sauce and turkey make a fabulous monte cristo!

  126. Carla James

    I always add fresh lime zest and juice in addition to the orange. This years is cooling on the stove e and the house smells divine

  127. jakes mom

    Im diabetic, the stuff in the can is way too high in sugar . Never found a sugerfree can cranberry sauce. How can this recipe be adjusted for diabetics?
    Its not Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce.

  128. Eliza

    Have never tried cranberry sauce but planning to this year. Is it served warm or cold?
    Got it already made from the fresh market but not sure if I should heat it up first and if so for how long or simply serve it cold from the fridge.
    Any input is greatly appreciated.
    Eliza

    • Elise

      I think it’s entirely up to your own preference. Some people like hot, some room temp, some chilled.

  129. Jack

    We skipped the water and used a combination of orange juice and pomegranate with half as much sugar (raw and organic) and some local honey with a slice of lemon. Had some leftover for a cranberry cocktail and even a bit on the mincemeat pie. Our guests asked if they could take some home with them.

  130. Mandy

    Love this recipe. I’m not a fan of orange or lime with cranberry, so this simple recipe with chopped pecans is great. Very tasty! Thank you.

  131. Scott in SoCal

    I’m sure you get this a lot, but I check your site first when I’m looking for a recipe. This one is simple, but thanks for putting it in here. This year is my first attempt at homemade cranberry sauce, and it’s cooling now. I added 1/4 tsp of allspice and another 1/4 tsp of cinnamon to the recipe, just on principle, then added 1/2 tsp of orange peel. It tastes excellent!

  132. Laura

    This recipe saved me in a pinch because I didn’t know how many cranberries I had bought. So I just needed to measure four cups. My daughter and I love homemade sauce rather than the canned and we are going to her mom in law’s home for thanksgiving where only canned is served so I’m bringing mine that I just made using your recipe. One more thing to be thankful for on this special holiday!

  133. Lanette

    This was so delicious and easy. Our variation was that we grated some fresh ginger and added it and a cinnamon stick with the cranberries. Best I have ever made. Next time I would maybe cut the sugar a bit.

  134. Heather

    Made this today for Thanksgiving and used grapefruit zest along with fresh juice instead of orange and it was great. Thank you!

  135. Marianne

    Simple is best. In past years I’ve made other recipes with spices or citrus in them, but tried this basic recipe this year with none of the added flavors. My family loved it! Everyone commented it was their favorite.

  136. Peter

    By far the best cranberry sauce I have ever made. I included orange zest and cinnamon, and added a little fresh squeezed orange juice. Thank you for this recipe!!!

  137. Jennifer

    Thank you for the recipe! I made it on thanksgiving and had no leftovers! I did half the sugar and it came out perfectly sweet! Thanks again! :)

  138. Susan Fortney

    This was wonderful……. I added blue berries to it… my family and guests loved it.

  139. Rachel

    This was my first time making homemade cranberry sauce and I was worried, but is was easy to follow your directions. I added cinnamon and nutmeg, and my husband loved it. Thank you for a new Thanksgiving tradition!

  140. Ruth Craig

    Thanks so much for this recipe, it is the “Classic” and so delicious.

    There are so many ideas here that I will be honest and let you know, I have not been able to read carefully through all of them. So, I may repeat a suggestion that someone may have already made.

    However, for a long time I have used this original recipe and have added an ounce (or two) of Grand Marnier liqueur (Fr spelling). I splurge and purchase a whole bottle, which then lasts me through quite a few Holiday seasons over the years, until I am forced to replace the now empty bottle. It is delicious and worth every penny!

  141. Marilyn Stefano

    Does anyone remember when the first cranberries were sold in 16-oz. bags, with the recipe calling for 1 Cup of water & 1 Cup of sugar? Then they reduced the bag to the current 12-oz., but kept the same amount of water & sugar, making it much sweeter.

  142. Linda

    I have made this recipe and use brown sugar about 1/2 cup, apple juice and allspice. Wow it was a big hit. I only used a little over 1/4 tsp of allspice but it was terrific.

  143. Elaine

    Do cranberries contain seeds?

    • Elise

      If they do they are completely unnoticeable. They’re like blueberries, except red, tart, and crunchy when raw.