Cranberry sauce is the perfect addition to any meal, but it can be difficult to make homemade cranberry sauce that isn’t too tart or too sweet. With this recipe for Homemade Cranberry Sauce, you’ll get just the right balance of sweet and tangy flavors in every bite! This cranberry sauce goes well with turkey at Thanksgiving or ham at Easter. You could even serve it with chicken or pork chops throughout the year. It’s easy to make and only takes about 15 minutes of active cooking time so you can put together a delicious side dish without spending all day in the kitchen making dinner! The best part about this recipe is that is it relatively inexpensive to make.
Everyone loves cranberry sauce. It is one of the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner and it usually comes out of a can or plastic container that was bought at the store. If you want to make your own homemade cranberry sauce, we have the recipe for you! This cranberry sauce will be perfect for all your special occasions and it’s sure to impress everyone who tries it. Best of all, you can leave it as a whole berry sauce or use an immersion blender to make it jellied.
Fresh or Frozen Cranberries?
Wondering if it is better to use fresh cranberries or frozen? The answer is, it doesn’t matter! If you’re shopping around Thanksgiving time, cranberries are abundant. However, around holidays like Easter they are more scarce. We love using Cape Code Select Cranberries because they are local and harvested at the peak of perfection. I love that they come in 48 ounce sized bags too! When you make things like Cranberry Scones, and Cranberry Salsa, they tend to go fast! Regardless, the cook time or flavor is no different when it comes to fresh or frozen.
Prepping Ahead of Time
One of the best things about making fresh cranberry sauce is that you can prepare it ahead of time, and it will only get tastier! I will be making mine a week in advance of Thanksgiving and storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will allow the flavors to meld perfectly.
Orange Juice or Zest?
When it comes to homemade cranberry sauce, I like to keep it simple. I use a ratio of half water, and half store-bought orange juice. Yes, this recipe does require a fresh orange for the zest, but rather than using two fresh oranges for juice, I zest one, eat the rest for a snack, and use bottled OJ. For me, I always have bottled orange juice on hand so it is easier than breaking out the juicer. However, if you want to use only fresh oranges then by all means, squeeze away!
Cranberry Sauce Add-Ins
The beauty of cranberry sauce is that you can make it super simple and plain, or add in warm spices. One of my cranberry sauce recipes even features white zinfandel and it is ALWAYS a hit with the adults! You can add in cloves, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, or even cardamom. Tangerine, and grapefruit zest can also be used in lieu of the orange zest.
Sweetening Cranberry Sauce
While this recipe does use quite a bit of sugar, you can totally lessen it by one half a cup, but you do risk your sauce being slightly tart. If you want to use raw honey, maple syrup, or even brown sugar you can use that was well. I suggest only subbing one cup of sugar for light brown sugar though (to prevent it from being too sweet).
Ways to use Cranberry Sauce
Besides being the most coveted Thanksgiving side (according to my kids) cranberry sauce also goes well in the below recipes–should you have any leftovers.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 5-quart stockpot
- Wooden Spoon
- measuring cups
- immersion blender
- 12 ounces whole cranberries fresh or frozen
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup water
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons orange zest *zest of one large orange
- 1 whole cinnamon stick *or ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
- In a large stock pot, over low heat, add water, cinnamon stick, orange juice and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
- Add cranberries, and cook until the begin to burst open and split; about ten minutes. Stir in the salt and orange zest; remove from heat.
- Allow sauce to cool for 15 minutes before blending with an immersion blender.
- Cool and transfer to an airtight container. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to one week.