This homemade cranberry sauce isn’t too sweet and— thanks to the pie spice and orange juice— is really flavorful. From start to finish, recipe takes about 15 minutes to make. Plan on chilling it for at least two hours before serving.
If you can boil water, you can (probably) make homemade cranberry sauce. All you need to do is combine fresh or frozen cranberries with water and sugar. That’s the basic recipe. For a little extra flavor, add some pie spice and the juice and zest of one orange.
As the cranberry sauce cooks, the berries pop–which is a sound I love. If you like a smooth sauce, mash the soft cranberries with a potato masher.
Homemade cranberry sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. Making it a perfect recipe to make in the days before Thanksgiving.
Easy Cranberry Sauce: Ingredients.
- Fresh or frozen cranberries. Fresh or frozen cranberries both work in this recipe. If your cranberries are frozen, the cooking time increases slightly but not by much.
- Granulated sugar. As written, this recipe makes a sweet-tart sauce. If you prefer a sweet cranberry sauce, increase granulated sugar from 3/4 cup to one cup.
- Water: A cup of water is an essential ingredient. It gives the cranberries a nice saucy texture.
- Pie spice. Pumpkin pie spice adds a lovely flavor to the sauce. It’s a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, replace it with a blend of cinnamon and ginger—or all cinnamon.
- Orange juice and zest (optional). If you like the flavor of cranberries and orange, add the juice and zest of one orange.
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce.
- Combine all ingredients. As cranberries cook, they pop. Use a medium pot to prevent a mess.
- Stir frequently. As the cranberry sauce comes to a boil, stir it frequently to prevent it from sticking to the pot and burning.
- Mash the cranberries. (optional) For a smooth sauce, mash the cranberries with either the back of a spoon or a potato masher. If you like a really smooth sauce, use an immersion blender.
- Cook until thick. Cook the cranberry sauce until thick. This usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes total. The longer you cook cranberry sauce, the thicker it will be.
- Serve. Cranberry sauce is usually enjoyed cold. Remove the sauce from the stove and allow to cool. Then transfer to a covered container and chill until ready to serve.
Other Holiday Recipes To Try
Creamy Lemon Pie. An easy three ingredient pie.
Easy Chocolate “Mousse” Pie. Instant pudding and heavy cream make it easy to make a fluffy chocolate pie.
Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread. A savory cranberry sauce tops a block of cream cheese for an easy appetizer.
Cranberry Puff Pastry Pies. So good and so easy. Fill puff pastry with a little leftover cranberry sauce and some cream cheese for an easy (and delicious) dessert!
Easy Cranberry Sauce
It's easy to make homemade cranberry sauce. Cook together fresh cranberries with water, sugar, and some spices. If you've got a fresh orange, it's a lovely addition to this sauce.
- 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (see note)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see note)
- 1 medium orange, zest and juice, optional
Wash cranberries. In a medium pot, combine cranberries, water, granulated sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. If using an orange, add the zest and juice. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently. When cranberries are soft, mash with either a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Do this right in the pot. Stir to combine. Cook until thick, about 12 minutes total.
Remove from heat. Serve sauce warm or allow to cool and then store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Sugar. As written, this recipe makes a sweet and tart sauce. For a sweeter cranberry sauce, increase sugar to one cup.
Pie Spice. Replace pie spice with ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ½ teaspoon ground ginger.
Orange Juice. The fresh orange and zest can be replaced with ½ cup orange juice.