Cranberry Sauce

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.

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


  • 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.

dissolve sugar in water to make base of cranberry sauce boil sugar in water before adding cranberries for cranberry sauce

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.

add fresh raw cranberries to boiling sugar water simmer cranberries in sugar water for ten minutes to make cranberry sauce

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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  • AT

    Can this cranberry recipe be canned, using hot water bath?

    • Summer Miller

      Hi, AT — I’m Summer, an editor here at Simply Recipes. This wasn’t written as a canning recipe, and I’m not sure what the requirements are for canning. You could always do some research on this Home Canning and Preservation website and see if this fits the bill. Good luck!

  • Millie

    Great for ham sandwiches too. I used less sugar and it came out more tarty.Thanks for sharing.


  • Linda S

    Love it! It’s easy and tastes great. I add orange zest to it. I love it with peanut butter, chicken, turkey and pancakes! Yum


  • Judi

    Hi, I love this recipe but lately when I’ve made it, it tends to leave tiny little granular (not sugar) seeds that I need to remove from my mouth. I don’t remember that happening before. I’m sure it’s from the cranberries. How do you prevent that from happening? Thank you !


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Judy! That sounds like cranberry seeds to me! It’s possible that some bags of cranberries will just have more seeds than others. If it bothers you, you can pass the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve, though this will remove the skins as well and make a much smoother cranberry sauce. Hope that helps!

  • Carrie

    How many does this recipe feed?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Carrie! It really depends on how much cranberry sauce each person likes with their food! I generally think 1/4 cup per person is a healthy estimate. Using that as our guide, I’d say this recipe would easily serve 8 to 10 people.

  • Rena Wiseman

    Oh. Forgot to mention, I added 1/2 fresh orange juice from my orange tree, and orange zest.


  • Rena Wiseman

    I made this recipe today and tagged #simplyrecipes. It was simply delicious.


  • Lisa Jester

    My father also loves cranberry sauce year round. We freeze many bags of cranberries each holiday season. It’s wonderful with roast chicken pheasant, and chukkar! This simple recipe needs not dressing up…perfect as is…

  • Veronica Smitj

    The recipe is ambiguous. Says 4 cups frozen or fresh which would be 32 ounces yet in parenthesis says one 12 ounce bag. Which one is correct?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Veronica! Four cups of cranberries weighs 12 ounces! I think you’re maybe confusing fluid ounces (a volume measurement) with ounces (a weight measurement). A cup is equal to 8 fluid ounces, but not necessarily to 8 ounces by weight. It depends on what you’re measuring. Imagine a cup of rocks vs a cup of feathers. The rocks would weigh more, than the feathers, right? Similarly, a cup of cranberries weighs only 3 ounces instead of 8 ounces. Make sense? I hope that helps!

    • Sue Robbins

      I made the sauce like the recipe on the back of the 12oz. bag of cranberries, it is the plain one with just sugar and water. It is very tasty only I would like it a little less tart and a bit more sweet. I love your different recipes I am going to make Cranberry Bread with the left over sauce I made I live alone and have about two cups left. I am going to mix flour, sugar, eggs, nuts and spices and orange juice to get cake consist and bake at 350% until done . Does that sound good?

  • Coy Mills

    I’ve made this the past 2 years for Thanksgiving and have made it a few other times during the year. My husband says it’s the best he’s ever had. This will be a new tradition.


  • Carlos

    I add crushed pinapple, nutmeg, cinnamon, pecans and orange zest.

  • Trish

    Unreal how good


  • Kara A Sherk

    This is the classic cranberry sauce. I add a few strips of orange or tangerine peel while the berries are bursting, but it comes out great. I am grateful that I count on Simply Recipes to provide the easiest and the best recipes. Thanks!

  • Brenda

    I’ve made this recipe the last 2 years. Now everyone asks if I’m making it ! My husband doesn’t like cranberry sauce but loves this one. My mom said it tastes just Ike my grandma’s did.

  • Kara J

    This is the only recipe I use! Love how adding orange juice and zest changes the taste!


  • Supereeeyah

    This is our Thanksgiving go-to recipe now!


  • Alexa

    How long does it need to refrigerate for?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Alexa! The cranberry sauce will reach maximum thickness when it’s completely chilled to fridge temperature, which typically takes a few hours. This said, I think if you give it a minimum of one hour in the fridge, you’ll be just fine. (Also, honestly, it won’t be as thick, but the sauce can still be served if it isn’t totally chilled. It will still be delicious!) Enjoy!

  • AJ

    Thank you so much for a basic cranberry sauce recipe. I get so tired of the “fancy” ones. All you need is water, sugar, and cranberries. Unfortunately, I can never remember the amounts of each!


    • Elise Bauer

      You’re welcome AJ! That’s how my father likes his cranberry sauce too. Nothing fancy. Personally I like to add some grated orange zest, but he’s usually the one tasked with making it for Thanksgiving and I’m not complaining!

  • Autumn Cruz

    I substitute a little bourbon for the water, add a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean stick for some added flavor too.

  • Sue

    I added a minced navel orange after zesting it to the sauce while boiling. While cooling I also added 2 Tablespoons orange liquor and toasted 1/2 cup chopped pecans, adding nuts to the cooled sauce. The orange liquor made such a fantastic difference.

  • Ellie

    Needs a little orange juice in place of some of the water.

  • Ashley

    How can I make this a more jellied consistency? Not completely as my husband does like some of the “whole berries”, but the kids and myself like it a bit more smooth. Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Ashley, you could use an immersion blender to blend about half of the cranberries after they’ve cooked.

    • Jackie

      My mother in law likes a cranberry mold consistency, so she’ll add 3 packets of dissolved Knox gelatin — and then it will turn to jello texture … or maybe use 1 or 2 packets only to maintain a thick sauce

  • JB

    Awesome, I added one cinnamon stick-Perfect

  • Maxie

    Easy to make! Husband wants it a little sweeter. Any way to sweeten it a little after refrigerating? Thank you.


  • Angela

    Question, would I half the water / sugar ratio if I only have a small 2 cups of cranberries?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Angela, since proportionally more of the water can evaporate when you bring it to a boil, I would start with 3/4 cup of water, and half a cup of sugar.

  • Michele

    Delicious and easy. A family favorite ! I added orange zest and cinnamon sticks .


  • Zachary

    Add traditional flair with cardamom! I won’t make it without. The seeds just be pulverized with mortar and pestle. I’m also a fan of spiral cutting and orange (approx 1/4-1/3inch) then quarter it. It’s another way to get the presence of zest, and it comes with candied orange chunks.

  • Susan

    How far in advance can I make it? 2 or 3 days?

  • Francisco

    I replace some of the liquid with Cointreau or Gran Marnier-delicious


  • MaryKat

    I simmer mine with a bit of port or red wine–water and orange juice, then a couple good splashes of port or red wine. The alcohol cooks off and leaves a lovely flavor that enhances the spices I use.

  • Sue

    Great recipe, thank you. It was exactly what I was looking for. I love the fact that you can add whatever you want to it. I added a pinch of orange rind, half a pinch of cinnamon and half a pinch of nutmeg. I smashed the berries after they were softened with the spoon. Great consistency, and I’m thinking it’ll set up even more in the refrigerator.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sue, cranberry sauce lends itself to so many variations with the mix-ins! So glad you liked it. It does tend to set up more when chilled.

  • Jeanine

    I substitute orange juice for the water in this recipe. It’s delicious!


  • Susie Juergens

    Thank you for the recipe! How many people do you think this would feed? I didn’t see servings on the recipe but maybe I missed it. TIA

  • William Tidball

    This recipe is the best! I’m just like Elise’s father…. Can’t get enough of cranberry sauce. I also buy alot of bags and store them in the freezer. Sugar and cranberries is all I need!
    Thank you for the recipe!
    William Tidball. Oviedo, FL

  • Emma

    How long does the sauce last in the fridge? I have made a schedule for the days I’m going to prep for Thanksgiving, and was wondering that if I make this on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving it will be to thick? What day would you recommend I make this on?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Emma! You can definitely make this on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. In a covered container, it will last in the fridge for at least 5 days. It shouldn’t thicken up too much. You can also freeze it for up to three months. (Take it out of the freezer 1 to 2 days before Thanksgiving so it has time to thaw in the fridge.)

  • Rosalee

    This is the recipe I remember, some very odd recipes out there including
    one which has 2T of water…….

  • 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.


  • 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!

  • Betty Michaud

    I used crushed pineapple in mine. Amazing over smoked pork.

  • Christina

    I doubled the recipe, except I only used one cup of sugar because I don’t like it as sweet. It’s been a few hours and the cranberry sauce still has not jelled and is very watery. What do I do??

    • Bemindful

      I know that this response is too late to help you, but I added 1 tbsp of Great Lakes gelatin mixed with 1 to 2 tbsp of cool water. My family doesn’t like whole cranberry sauce, so I put the berries in a food processor until chopped. Followed the recipe and then once cooled, put the mixture in the processor again with the gelatin and processed until smooth. That made the consistance more like the congealed cranberry sauce you get in the can once chilled. I actually converted my daughter from that nasty canned cranberry sauce with this recipe. Happy holidays!

    • Nate

      Keep simmering off the water content. You removed an entire cup of dry ingredients, you probably should’ve reduced the amount of water you added as well.

    • Kathleen Lamberton

      Christina, it is the sugar that causes the sauce to thicken. If you cut back on sugar, you would need to cut back on the water, as well.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Christina, what causes the sauce to thicken is the interplay between the pectin and acid in the cranberries with the added sugar. If you reduce the sugar, you’ll need to reduce the water by as much, or just let it simmer a lot longer so that more water evaporates.

  • ValerieH

    I just made this plain with no add ins. I did add a pinch of salt to help balance the sugar. Some of the cranberries didn’t pop, so I used a potato masher to gently mash everything. I strained it through a sieve to get out the seeds and skins. I had to use a silicone spatula to press it through because it is really thick. It tastes delicious and not too sweet, which was my concern with so much sugar. I like the texture after it has been through a sieve. I can’t wait to put it on turkey!

  • Rosalee Adams

    I want to make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries, cranberry juice and dried cranberries, but I do not know how much additional sugar I need if I use Langer’s Cranberry Juice which has sugar (NOT high fructose corn syrup) instead of water.
    Not interested in any recipe that includes orange anything in it as I think it ruins cranberry sauce.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Rosalee! Try adding the sugar a little bit a time as you’re simmering the cranberry sauce. Make it a little sweeter than you would otherwise because once the sauce cools, it will taste less sweet. Good luck!

      • Rosalee Adams

        Thank you Emma!!! I will start with 1/2c and Langer’s juice and then test it to see how sweet. It makes a rich sauce and color is amazing.

    • Jimmytherose

      8oz in one cup.

    • Ashley

      Would love to know how this turned out using cranberry juice in place of water…I’ve been thinking of doing it this way.

  • Sharon bowling

    Do you serve it cold or warmed up? I plan to make it the day before for the first time.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Sharon! Emma, managing editor for Simply Recipes, here! This is best made a day or two ahead so that the sauce has time to set and thicken, and it’s best served either cold from the fridge or room temperature. I think you could certainly warm it up if that’s what you like, but it will loosen up and become more like a sauce than a jelly. Enjoy!

  • Elizabeth Leitch

    As I live in the uk we don’t use CUP measuring so, can you please tell me how many Oz’s in a cup. Thank you.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Elizabeth! The weight measurements (grams and ounces) are right next to the volume (cup) measurements in this recipe. One ounce = 28 grams. Enjoy!

      • Elizabeth Leitch

        Thank you so much. Just managed to find measurements cups in supermarkets

        • Justin K

          In US measurements one ounce volume is different than one once weight…yes o e once is 28g in weight….liguid measured by volume does not translate to grams as easily as every liquid weighs differently. For volume: 2 tablespoons is 1 ounce. 8 ounces is 1 cup. 2 cups is 1 pint. 2pints is 1 quart. 4 quarts a gallon which is 3.75 litres. I know that’s more than you asked for but i hope it explains it better.

    • Kish

      Elizabeth, there are 8 oz. to 1 cup. Happy cooking!

      • Elizabeth Leitch

        Thank you. I will try this for my family this xmas

  • Julie

    I’m planning on this recipe with OJ and water but thinking I should double it. Any suggestions?? Wondering if I need 2 cups of sugar??

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Julie! You could try doubling everything except the sugar. Start off with a cup, and then taste the sauce after the cranberries have been simmering for a little while. Add more if you think it needs it — the sugar will easily dissolve in the hot sauce. Remember that the sauce will taste less sweet once it’s cooled, so I’d recommend adding a little bit more sugar than you think it needs while it’s still warm.

  • Frederick Hinch

    Turkey, without wholeberry cranberry sauce, can cause acute gastric distress and I consider it poisonous.

  • Michelle McGurk

    I made this the day before Christmas using Cuties. Cutie zest & 2 chopped cuties. Dashes of Nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon were added. This IS the BEST cranberry sauce I’ve ever eaten and my first attempt at homemade. Thank you!


    • Sheri Campbell

      How much of the spices did you add?

  • Carina

    Could I make this the day before. Also how long will it last for?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Carina, yes you can make this cranberry sauce the day before (we usually do), and it will last for several days in the fridge.

      • Carina

        Great. Thank you

    • Diana

      Can Cranberry sauce be preserved like jam by putting hot into a steriised glass jar and the jar then sealed, please?
      Otherwise how is shop bought cranberry sauce made to be long life?

      • Anne

        I’ve done it for years.

  • Jackie bell

    Great recipe, thanks. I tweaked it slightly by using blueberry juice instead of water and I added chopped orange peel – delicious and very simple to make.
    Quantities used were 11 cups cranberries, 2.5 cups juice, 2.5 cups sugar and peel from 1 large orange.

  • Natalie

    I made this as is. I liked it very much and so did my guest. She was impressed when I told her I made it, and surprised at how easy it was. I personally don’t like sweet cranberry sauce, so when I read the recipe I was worried that 1 cup of sugar would be too much, but it wasn’t at all. It’s just the right mix of tart and sweet. Thanks so much for the post.

  • 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!

    • Minky Hawke

      Your post lifted my spirits. I found a *bog* at my store, too. I’m making the family cranberry sauce. Sometimes the simplest recipes bring the greatest joy.

  • 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!

  • Abrianna

    I have done this with the cranberries, sugar and orange juice. This year I am substituting pomegranate juice for the o.j.

    12 oz cranberries
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup pomegranate juice

    put it all in a pan, start on high heat to boil, then turn down to med and let the berries pop. Can be made ahead a couple days and will thicken in fridge. I just made this earlier tonight,

  • Rosalee Adams

    I made mine today with a cup of cranberry juice (a brand with cane sugar rather than corn syrup)..sugar, dried cranberries and frozen cranberries (the cranberries I bought were so beautiful, not a light colored in the bunch so no wonder such vivid color.)
    It is cooling now.
    The end product is beautiful
    I am hopeful it turns out. If not I will save it to use here at home and start over tomorrow with a more conventional recipe..

  • Amber

    Followed this recipe and the cranberry sauce was delicious!! I will definitely make it again, thank you!

  • 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.

    • Janet Ortega

      Lisa, thanks for sharing this. My husband has RA and not supposed to eat cane sugar.

  • 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!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Adrian, I’m so glad you liked it! It is easy, isn’t it? And so much better than the canned stuff.

      • Kathy Refaely

        can I make it and freeze it for about a month?

        • Elise Bauer

          Hi Kathy, great question! I haven’t tried freezing cranberry sauce but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

        • Lloyd

          I do it every year. 1 cup in a ziplock bag and suck the air out. It is good even a year later. My recipe is even faster. 1 bag berries 6 ozs water 2 ozs Grand Marnier 1/2 a granny smith apple, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 cup stevia and 1 tsp cinnamon. 6 mins in the microwave and set aside. Mash cool and serve.

        • tessa

          To be honest, I once had it in the fridge (in a canning jar, but not actually canned) for well over a month and it was fine – I’m almost certain that it would be fine frozen for ages. Acid + sugar = good preservation ;-)

  • 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 [email protected]

  • matt

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

  • Robb

    My cranberry sauce always starts out with your basic recipe and often ends right there. However, over the past 40+ years I have made many variations that included as few as several additions that you mentioned to a complex version that I call Cranberry-Fig Chutney. My chutney contains all of the ingredients listed below, all dumped together and simmered for about 15 minutes. If you want something *really* different, you might give this a try.

    4 c Cranberries, coarsely
    – chopped
    1 lg Navel orange, quartered,
    – finely chopped
    1 sm Onion, finely diced
    1/2 c Dried currants
    5 Dried figs, finely snipped
    – calamyrna or black mission
    1/2 c Walnuts, coarsely broken
    – and toasted
    2 tb Whole yellow mustard seed
    1 One-inch knob ginger root,
    – peeled and finely shredded
    2 tb Cider vinegar
    3/4 c Bourbon or Scotch whiskey
    – (optional)
    1 1/2 c Light brown sugar
    2 ts Ground cinnamon
    1 t Freshly ground nutmeg
    1/2 ts Ground cloves
    1/2 ts Salt
    1/8 ts Cayenne pepper

  • Doris

    Does anyone have any other suggestions for a healthier alternative to sugar or Splenda (plus quantity)? Thanks!

    • Na

      Maybe honey? :)

    • Lainse Boyd

      Xylitol is a good sugar substitute. Just don’t let your dog get any. It measures cup for cup.

  • Katie

    This will be my third year in a row making cranberry sauce using this recipe. It is a family favorite at our holiday table! The recipe is so easy and allows you to be creative and add your own flavoring. I use the 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup orange juice and it is perfect! Slightly tart but sweet at the same time.

  • Clara

    I’m in Europe where I can only find frozen cranberries in a box of 250g (the 12 oz you call for converts to 340g). What modifications would you suggest?
    Less water due to the quantity and frozen state? Do I let them thaw before cooking?? Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Clara, you can use either fresh or frozen cranberries to make the sauce, makes no difference. If using 250g instead of 340g, use a quarter less of the water too.

  • Beth Swift

    I have made this general recipe forever-but a double amount as there is usually a big crowd! I use 1 1/2 cups white sugar, and 1/2 cup organic dark brown sugar. This puts a lovely glaze on the sauce. I love a bit of orange flavor, so I add the zest and juice of two navel oranges. Measure the orange juice in a measuring cup, then make up difference with cold water. I also put 1/2 stick of cinnamon in while simmering.

  • Lisa

    If you add one of the spices (allspice, nutmeg or cinnamon), how much do you add??? 1tsp? 1 Tbsp?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lisa, I would start with small pinches (especially nutmeg, it’s strong!), taste and add more to taste.

  • Ann Buettner

    I also add about 1 tsp of almond flavoring. Gives it a nice lift.

  • Nada

    Hello. Weird question, I bought 12 oz bag but it says 3 cups on it not 4….is it by weight or cup to be on the safe side?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Nada, it could be that the brand of cranberries I use has larger berries, so 12 ounces fills up 4 cups. I would go with the weight. The thing to do is to error on the too little sugar side than too much. You can always add more sugar to taste.

  • Lorrina

    How long can this last in the fridge? Thanks.

  • Rebecca

    My daughter made a big batch of some awesome spiced whole berry cranberry sauce for thanksgiving..she put the extra from the pot in a small Pyrex bowl and sealed it with the lid and kept refrigerated for me to take home. She did tell me to throw it away at Christmas!….I didn’t.. We just ate a new has been in my fridge since then!! I may be crazy or just plan stupid to many people but, to me, with the amount of cooking and sugar put in cranberry sauce it should keep like jam, normally about two to three weeks without reheating. so as I was cleaning out some leftovers for my lunch, I remembered the thanksgiving cranberry sauce that was tucked way back in the fridge.. Open it up to see it looked and smelled of beautiful sweet spiced cranberries.. Had a big spoonful on my warm stuffing!! :-D lovely!! Well, if I’m not in the hospital or pushing daisies.. I’ll heat them up to keep and eat soon on toast! I’ll let you know.

  • glyn w

    awesome sauce just made some for tomorrow so easy to make

  • Jim

    It’s just terrific! My wife and I both put it on our toast in the morning. I also have recipes for both chicken and pork tenderloin that use cranberry sauce and this one works just fine. Thank You!!


  • Marjorie Arbidans

    Marjorie Australia
    Hi I used moscvado sugar and grated orange rind and a little Grand Marnier delicious

  • Elaine

    Do cranberries contain seeds?

    • Elise Bauer

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Susan Fortney

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

  • 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! :)

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

  • Heather

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Elise Bauer

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

  • 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.

    • Elise Bauer

      Some people use splenda instead of sugar in recipes like these.

  • 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

  • AE

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

  • 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?


    • Elise Bauer

      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.

  • Mike

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

  • Patty

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Rick Shaw

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Elise Bauer

      Great idea, ginger would be terrific with the cranberries! Make it zingy.

  • 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.

  • Susanne

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

  • 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!)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…….

  • 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.


  • Jay

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • [email protected]

    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.

  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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 :)

  • 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!

  • 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
    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

    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……..

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Tess

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Joe

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

  • 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…

  • 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

  • Tenzin Dolkar

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

  • Noah

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Anonymous

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

  • 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

  • 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 ….

  • Elena H.

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • gina covey

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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Annette

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • D & T

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.)

  • 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!

  • Valerie

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

  • 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 ?

  • Sophia

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

  • 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.

  • 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!)

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • marvellous

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • John

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

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Elise Bauer

    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

  • 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?

  • 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!)

  • karla

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Sharon

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

  • Ole Aioli

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

  • 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).