Cranberry Sauce

ThanksgivingSauceGluten-FreeVegan

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

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.

How to Make Homemade 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.

Cranberry sauce is perfect with turkey for Thanksgiving

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

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  • 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. If you use less sugar, reduce the amount of water you add as well.

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

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.

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.

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 a pinch or two 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 for Thanksgiving

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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215 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Deb

    Great as written! I added the juice and zest of a lemon and an orange because family members asked me to, but a taste test before the additions was delicious.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Martha Drake

    We made this and it was delicious but a little tart so we added a bit more sugar,.

  • Wendy

    I add grated orange rind and grand marnier

  • Rosie

    Can this sauce be frozen? I live on my own and it would be lovely to be able to freeze some of it for another time.

  • Samantha

    I love this recipe! I’ve made it for the last two years and it’s always a hit! I featured it on a blog post I did of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes!

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