Cranberry Sauce Made From Scratch

Set the can of cranberry sauce down and back away carefully! Instead, create this 5-ingredient fresh homemade cranberry sauce recipe using whole cranberries and freshly squeezed orange juice and zest from scratch. The ideal complement to the roasted delicata squash and brussels sprouts, cornbread and bacon stuffing, and buttery cornbread on your holiday table.

For me, every holiday in my family revolved around cranberry sauce. All I needed was a can of jellied fruit, sugar, and a spoon to make me happy. You could have removed the rest of the food off the table and I wouldn’t have minded as long as I had my cranberry sauce.

I realized as I got older that I could probably afford to go homemade and try something new. That’s not to say I don’t sometimes pick up a can for nostalgic reasons; I do.

But the point is that when a family meets to feast, they could use a little home-cooked affection instead than fruit in a can that comes out with ridges and makes a slurping sound when served.

You understand precisely what I mean.

Ingredients for homemade cranberry sauce

  • 1cupwater
  • Freshly squeezed cuporange juice with no pulp is the finest.
  • One orange’s zest
  • 1 cup sugar (or honey) (can use less based on taste preferences)
  • 1-12 ounce package fresh cranberries, keep aside a few for garnish, optional
  • Optional rosemary sprigs

How to make homemade cranberry sauce

  • One orange should be zested. After washing and drying your orange, use a microplane zester (aff link) or grater to remove just the orange exterior colored section of the peel. More zesting will expose the white pith, which has a harsh flavor.
  • When you’ve finished zesting, cut the orange in half.
  • Squeeze one of the orange halves by hand, or use an orange juicer (aff link) to get all of the juice.
  • 4 quarts orange juice Depending on the size of your orange, you may also need to utilize the other half. You want one.
  • Add water, orange juice, orange zest, and sugar to a medium pot.
  • Stir regularly over medium heat for a minute or two, or until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Cranberries should be added gently.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Simmer on low heat.
  • Stir constantly for for 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. If you like a smoother sauce with fewer whole cranberry bits, use a potato masher halfway through the cooking time to crush them more.
  • It will still include cranberry chunks, which is exactly what you want!
  • Remove from the heat and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Prepare for cranberry splatter!

or clothing that you don’t mind having cranberry spatter on since cranberry juice splatters and may stain if you’re not cautious! Oh, and I suggest wrapping your spoon rest with paper towels while wearing an apron.

Can I use frozen cranberries?

Absolutely! I usually keep at least one bag of fresh cranberries in the freezer for later use, and this is a great way to utilize them. You don’t need to defrost them; just dump them into the pot frozen.

Can you freeze cranberry sauce?

Indeed, surprisingly (at least to me)! That really does freeze well.

After a few hours in the fridge, transfer to a freezer-safe airtight container or bag and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to eat, defrost in the fridge overnight.

Homemade, but make it can-shaped

If you truly want to feel nostalgic, pour the newly produced, still warm cranberry sauce into an aluminum container to refrigerate. Then transfer it to a platter and slice it apart. You have an option.

Make a double batch of cranberry sauce

I’d make two batches of this, one for the dinner table and the other for my cranberry fluff.

Kids adore it, and to be honest, so do I.

I’m certain that after you’ve tried making your own cranberry sauce from scratch, you’ll never go back to canned.

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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Prep Time: 2hrs
Cook Time: 20mins
Total Time: 2hrs20mins
Servings: 8servings (about 2 cups)
    ✓ Read the recipe beginning to end
    ✓ Check oven calibration
    ✓ Check expiration dates
    ✓ Properly measure ingredients
    ✓ Check butter temperature


Put down the can of cranberry sauce and slowly back away! Instead, make this easy, 5-ingredient, homemade cranberry sauce recipe with whole cranberries and freshly squeezed orange juice and zest. The perfect addition to your holiday table!


  • Small saucepan


  • 1cupwater
  • Freshly squeezed cuporange juice with no pulp is preferred (about 1 whole orange)
  • One orange’s zest
  • 1 cup cuphoney (granulated sugar) (can use less based on taste preferences)
  • 1-12 ounce package fresh cranberries (fresh or frozen), keep aside a few for garnish, optional
  • Optional rosemary sprigs


  • 4 cup orange juice, 1 orange zest, 1 cup honey

    Add water, orange juice, orange zest, and sweetener of choice to a medium pot. Stir regularly over medium heat for a minute or two, or until the sugar has dissolved.
    1 cup water, 1 cup

  • Bring cranberries to a gentle boil.
    1-12 ounce fresh cranberry bag (fresh or frozen)
  • Lower the heat to low and continue to whisk constantly until the sauce thickens, approximately 15 minutes. It will still include cranberry chunks, which is exactly what you want!
  • Remove from the heat and let aside for a few minutes before transferring the sauce to a heatproof bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
  • Instead, rosemary sprigs may be used. Enjoy!
    sprigs of rosemary

    When ready to serve, just mix with a fork to break it up a little, then decorate with fresh whole cranberries, orange zest, and parsley.


Prepare for cranberry splatter: The cranberries might pop while they’re cooking, so I recommend wearing an apron and/or clothes you don’t mind getting a little cranberry splatter on!Smoother cranberry sauce: If you’d prefer the sauce to have less whole cranberry chunks, use a potato masher about halfway through the cooking time to smash them more for a somewhat smoother sauce.Using frozen cranberries:  You don’t need to thaw them, just pour them right into the saucepan from frozen.Freezing: Once it’s chilled in the fridge for a few hours, transfer to a freezer-safe airtight container or bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight when you’re ready to dig in!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 33IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

This piece was initially published in December 2013 and was modified in October 2019 for clarification and additional photographs.


What is the process to make the cranberry sauce?

Method\sTip Bring 100g light muscovado sugar and 100ml orange juice to a boil in a saucepan.
Mix in 250g fresh or frozen cranberries and cook until soft but still keeping their form, around 5 minutes if using frozen cranberries and 8-10 minutes if using fresh.
When it cools, the sauce will thicken.

Is homemade cranberry sauce worth it?

As compared to store-bought cranberry sauce, homemade cranberry sauce contains roughly half the calories, carbs, and sugars. It also includes more fiber and potassium! However, purchasing cranberry sauce from the supermarket is not the only choice. For the approaching holidays, we offer the ideal Easy Cranberry Sauce recipe!

How long is homemade cranberry sauce?

Homemade cranberry sauce can keep in the refrigerator for 10 to 14 days if properly kept in a sealed glass or plastic container. When kept correctly in the freezer (in a closed, airtight container or freezer-safe bag), it will keep for approximately a month.

How long does homemade cranberry sauce last in a mason jar?

For optimal quality, store sealed jars in a cool, dry area for 12-18 months. *Note: If some of the jars do not seal properly, just place them in the refrigerator and eat within 10-14 days.

What makes cranberry sauce thick?

If your cranberry sauce is excessively thick, it is probably overdone. When cranberries (or other berries) are cooked, they burst, releasing pectin, a natural thickener. Allowing some but not all of the cranberries to split apart is the key to achieving the proper consistency—something you’ll accomplish with less time on the burner.

Why is my homemade cranberry sauce not thickening?

One option is that you did not use enough sugar: sugar helps the sauce firm up, therefore use the entire quantity specified in the recipe. Another option is that the cranberries need to be cooked for a longer period of time to release their pectin and achieve a jelly consistency.

Why does my homemade cranberry sauce taste bitter?

If your cranberry sauce turns out to be too bitter, don’t add sugar. Granulated sugar may aggravate the condition, particularly if you don’t have time to reheat the sauce so the sugar dissolves properly. Instead, go for maple syrup as a sweetener.

Can you overcook cranberry sauce?

Can cranberry sauce be overcooked? It’s easy to overcook cranberry sauce if you’re not accustomed to creating fruit sauces or jams. Keep the heat low so that the sugars do not burn (and your pan). After bringing the sauce to a boil, decrease the heat to a low simmer.

Can I use fresh cranberries instead of canned?

Some savory meals benefit from the acidity and delicate sweetness of this fruit. Pork loin with cranberry apple sauce and chicken with cranberry sauce You may use bottled cranberry sauce instead of fresh cranberries if you like.

Does homemade cranberry sauce thicken as it cools?

When it cools, the sauce will thicken. Continue to boil the mixture until more pectin is released from the fruit, more water evaporates, and the sauce thickens enough to solidify into a hard gel if you want a cranberry mold that retains its form.

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