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Cranberry Sauce

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This Thanksgiving, make some homemade Cranberry Sauce to go along with your turkey dinner! Easier to make from scratch than you think and tastes so much better than store bought!

spooning cranberry sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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.

My Cranberry Sauce Recipe| Main Ingredients Needed

Homemade Cranberry Sauce requires 3 basic ingredients: fresh cranberries, sugar and water. The spices and orange zest can be adjusted to what you like and prefer, but the basic recipe is super simple and oh so worth the time. Here’s what you need:

  • Fresh Cranberries – even with sweeteners, cranberries are naturally very tart! Don’t worry because that is exactly why this sauce is perfect for any Thanksgiving spread.
  • Sugar – to sweeten and to create the sauce. As the water reduces, the juices of the berries and the sugar come together and thickens.
  • Orange Zest – this adds citrusy notes.
  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Salt – just pinches here and there to create that warm and familiar flavor of Thanksgiving. Add more, as desired.
  • Water – you need water to dissolve the sugar and turn this into a ‘jam’ of sorts.

Love cranberries? Here are a couple of recipes to check out: Lemon Cranberry Coffee CakeHoliday Cranberry SalsaOrange Cranberry Crinkle Cookies, and Lemon & Cranberry Scones.

rinsing cranberries in colander

How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Who knew that cranberry sauce, made from scratch, would be so easy?! For full details and increments, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Place all ingredients into a small pot. Stir to dissolve the sugar while cooking.
  2. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer until all cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened.
  3. Remove and discard orange peels. Pour sauce into a small bowl and serve with turkey.

Note: As the cranberry sauce cools, it will thicken even more!

cranberry sauce ingredients in pot


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!


One of the beauties of this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time. No need to add one more thing to make on Thanksgiving. Make it ahead and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve! It’s the perfect accompaniment for turkey because you can make it ahead and keep it stored until you’re ready for dinner.

Make the recipe as directed. Then store cranberry sauce in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, microwave 10-15 seconds to loosen up and bring to room temperature.

cranberry sauce in plastic container

Don’t Forget Side Dishes for Thanksgiving Dinner:

Be sure to print/pin/save/bookmark this Cranberry Sauce recipe for your Thanksgiving table this year! Have a great day, friends!

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

This homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe is perfect with Thanksgiving turkey and leftovers. It's easier to make than you think too!
servings 12 servings
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 10 mins



  • Wash cranberries well in colander.
    rinsing cranberries in colander
  • Place all ingredients into a small pot. Stir to dissolve sugar while cooking over medium heat.
    cranberry sauce ingredients in pot
  • Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer until all cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened.
    finished cranberry sauce recipe in saucepan
  • Remove and discard orange peels. Pour sauce into a small bowl and serve with turkey.
    spoon in cranberry sauce
  • OR store in airtight container for up to two weeks in refrigerator. Microwave 10-15 seconds to loosen up and bring to room temperature before serving.
    cranberry sauce in plastic container


Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry sauce

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Recipe Rating

4 Responses
  1. Giovanna Foresta

    Hi Lauren,
    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.

  2. Nikki

    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.

  3. Brenda Goulet

    Yum! This recipe looks amazing! I am definitely going to make it for Thanksgiving. I love orange cranberry anything. Thank you Lauren.