This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This Thanksgiving, walk on past the canned cranberry sauce and make your own tangy-sweet Cranberry Sauce instead. With just a few ingredients, and 10 minutes of cooking you’ll have the most perfect companion for your Turkey Dinner.
Cranberry Sauce Made Easy
Have you seen the Friends episode where Monica has Chandler make the cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving? And then Joey runs into all the food, landing it all on the floor and Chandler yells “my cranberries!” and then Monica replies “a monkey could have made them.” She wasn’t kidding. Cranberry Sauce is the easiest thing you’ll make for your Thanksgiving dinner. It’s very few ingredients and needs only 10 minutes of cook time. Make it in advance or make it the day of, this cranberry sauce will have you fall in love with turkey all over again.
Love cranberries? Here are a couple of recipes to check out: Lemon Cranberry Coffee Cake, Holiday Cranberry Salsa, Orange Cranberry Crinkle Cookies, and Lemon & Cranberry Scones.
How to Make Cranberry Sauce
Who knew that cranberry sauce, made from scratch, would be so easy?! For full details and measurements, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is what you expect when making this recipe:
Rinse Cranberries, Combine All Ingredients
Rinse cranberries well in colander. Place all ingredients into a small pot.
Bring to a Boil
Stir to dissolve the sugar while cooking. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer until all cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Note: As the cranberry sauce cools, it will thicken even more!
Remove From Heat + Discard Orange Peels
Remove and discard orange peels. Pour sauce into a small bowl and serve with turkey.
Cranberry Sauce Variations
Cranberry Sauce comes in a lot of different flavor profiles, lots of which are a little out of the ordinary, but if you’re feeling adventurous or wanting a delicious change, give one of these a whirl!
- Orange Juice: use orange juice, instead of water, to add even more sweetness and citrus notes.
- Brown Sugar: I used regular granulated sugar for this recipe but feel free to experiment by using brown sugar or a combination of both types.
- Raisins, Currants, or Blueberries: these are added in some recipes to add more natural sweetness to the tart cranberries.
- Pecans: and then other recipes call for chopped pecans which adds nutty flavor and crunch!
Cranberry Sauce Make-Ahead Directions
One of the beauties of this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time…in fact you SHOULD make it ahead and refrigerate. No need to add one more thing to make on Thanksgiving. It’s the perfect accompaniment for turkey because you can make it ahead and keep it stored until you’re ready for dinner. Bring to room temperature when ready to serve.
Make the recipe as directed. Then store cranberry sauce in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
More Side Dishes for Thanksgiving Dinner:
- Buttery Mashed Potatoes or (make ahead) Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
- Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Cornbread Sausage Dressing
- Green Bean Casserole
- Cauliflower Au Gratin
- Buttery Corn Casserole
- Maple Glazed Carrots
- Homemade Dinner Rolls
Be sure to print/pin/save/bookmark this Cranberry Sauce recipe for your Thanksgiving table this year! Have a great day, friends!
- 12 oz fresh cranberries 1 bag
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 strips orange zest peeled off a navel orange
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Wash cranberries well in colander.
- Place all ingredients into a small pot. Stir to dissolve sugar while cooking over medium heat.
- Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer until all cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened.
- Remove and discard orange peels. Pour sauce into a small bowl and serve with turkey.
- Or store in airtight container for up to two weeks in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature when ready to serve.
I will have to make this for my grand son.
Love hearing from you and when I found the cranberry recipe this morning it really brought back memories. My Mom, born in 1915 and passed away at 97, always made our cranberry sauce, as well as our mayo. Your recipe (plus) is my Mom’s, too. On Sundays I have 2 friends over for dinner and am able to express myself with whatever meal I decide to offer. So far, my creations have been very well-received. Now that I have you sending me more recipes than my files can hold I am delighted that I can try new things. Thank you.
Love cranberry sauce. Have several recipes of various taste…all good. My favorite is a savory spicy variety that can be served warm or chilled & I like to serve it with ham. It has a Mexican flare as use jalapeños or Serrano peppers & cumin & lime juice.
Yum! This recipe looks amazing! I am definitely going to make it for Thanksgiving. I love orange cranberry anything. Thank you Lauren.