Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

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This homemade cranberry sauce is easy to make and perfect for your holiday table!

This is hands down, the BEST cranberry sauce recipe ever. I mean it really puts the store-bought stuff with refined sugar to shame. I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! And did I mention it’s easy to make? Yep! It’s an “all-in-one-pot” recipe. So grab that pot, and let’s get started.

A spoon lifts a helping of this Homemade Cranberry Sauce out of the serving bowl.

Find All My Thanksgiving Recipes Here!

If you are making Thanksgiving dinner this year or need to take a dish to bring to somebody else’s house, this is it. It’s the perfect Thanksgiving recipe because it’s easy to make and easy to transport if needed. It’s right up there with sweet potato casserole!

How To Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Making cranberry sauce is a very simple process. Pretty much anybody could do it! All you do is put all your ingredients into a pot, and cook over low-medium heat (a low simmer) until the entire thing reduces in size by about half. It will be slightly thickened but will do most of its thickening as it cools. Put it in a serving dish (you can cool it in your serving dish if that’s easier) and serve! It’s tasty, easy and you can make it several days ahead of time to save you some work on the actual holiday!

How Long Does Homemade Cranberry Sauce Last?

Homemade cranberry sauce lasts for about two weeks in the fridge. That being said, I’ve had some batches last for nearly a month or more. I think the honey does a good job at working as a preservative here. But to be on the safe said, toss it after two weeks.

Can You Freeze Homemade Cranberry Sauce?

Absolutely!! Cranberry sauce freezes well for up to 6 months. Make sure you pack it well though. It needs an air-tight, food-safe container.

How To Thicken Homemade Cranberry Sauce

If you’ve made your sauce, cooled it, and realized that it’s still not as thick as you’d like it to be, simply return it to a pot and cook any liquid down a bit more. Some folks have added a teaspoon or so of cornstarch or arrowroot powder. But I find that that alters the cranberry sauce in a way that is slightly unpleasant. So it’s best to stick to cooking the liquid out further.

A bowl of this Homemade Cranberry Sauce sits on an orange cloth. It is garnished with orange peel.

There are so many uses for this sauce! So don’t fret if you have leftovers. In fact, I often make a double or triple batch just so we’ll have leftovers.

How To Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce

  • Freeze up to 6 months
  • Use in place of mayo on a turkey sandwiches with leftover turkey
  • Stir it into your morning oatmeal
  • Make a Thanksgiving parfait
  • Put a little over some vanilla ice cream
  • Use it as filling for homemade pop tarts
  • Spread over pancakes and waffles
  • Make a cranberry grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar cheese
  • Spread over your morning toast with a little bit of cream cheese

Why No Orange Juice?

It may seem counterintuitive to avoid adding the orange juice. I mean, there are plenty of recipes that call for it. The truth is, you can add it if you don’t want the orange to go to waste. But oddly enough, I have found that adding the juice reduces the overall orange flavor and subdues the tang a bit, which is why I only call for the zest.

Ingredient Checklist

(Scroll down to recipe card to print recipe)

12 oz. fresh cranberries – Approximately 3 1/4 cups.

1/2 cup honey – Or pure maple syrup

1 medium cinnamon stick

1 large orange – just for the fresh zest.

1 cup water – Use filtered water of some kind for the best flavor.

How To Make Easy Cranberry Sauce

A white bowl filled with fresh cranberries.

Collect all your ingredients and your pot. Put the cranberries into the pot and zest your orange.

Fresh cranberries in a pot with orange zest sprinkled on top.

Add the orange zest.

A cinnamon stick in a pot full of fresh cranberries and orange zest.

Add the cinnamon stick.

Pouring honey into a pot filled with fresh cranberries, orange zest and a cinnamon stick.

Add the honey.

Pouring water into a pot filled with fresh cranberries, orange zest, honey and a cinnamon stick.

Add the water to the pot.

Simmering a pot filled with fresh cranberries, orange zest, honey, a cinnamon stick and water.

Turn your stove on. Phew! That was tough, wasn’t it? Seriously, that’s pretty much it. Cook over medium-high heat for about 30-45 minutes. When most of the liquid is cooked out, turn your stove down to a simmer. The longer you let this simmer, the thicker the sauce will get. Just don’t let ALL the liquid cook out or it will burn. Stir more frequently near the end.

A silver serving dish filled with homemade cranberry sauce.

Allow this to cool before you eat some. Trust me. I learned the hard way. It really burns right out of the pot! (I have no patience when it comes to good food!) Then transfer to a serving dish. Serve and enjoy!

How To Store Cranberry Sauce

Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

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Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry
This Homemade Cranberry Sauce is being served in a bowl. Looking from the top down, you can see all the cooked, bright red cranberries, the cinnamon stick and the orange peel garnish. It's ready to eat!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This delicious cranberry sauce will be on your holiday table for years to come!
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Print Pin Rate
Course: Fruit, Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 5 servings (1 1/4 cup yield – 1/4 cup serving)
Calories: 152kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Equipment

  • A sauce pot

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries (approx. 3 1/4 cups)
  • ½ cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • 1 large orange (just for zest)
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • Collect all your ingredients and your pot. Put the cranberries into the pot and zest your orange.
    Step one of this Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe
  • Add the orange zest.
    Step 2 is to add the zest.
  • Add the cinnamon stick.
    Step 3 is to add the cinnamon stick.
  • Add the honey.
    Step four of this Homemade Cranberry Sauce is to add the honey.
  • Add the water to the pot.
    Step five is to add the water.
  • Turn your stove on. Phew! That was tough, wasn't it? Seriously, that's pretty much it. Cook over a medium-high heat for about 30-45 minutes. When most of the liquid is cooked out, turn your stove down to a simmer. The longer you let this simmer, the thicker the sauce will get. Just don't let ALL the liquid cook out or it will burn. Stir more frequently near the end.
    Step 6 is to cook it until it has thickened and reduced in size by about half or more.
  • Allow this to cool before you eat some. Trust me. I learned the hard way. It really burns right out of the pot! (I have no patience when it comes to good food!) Then transfer to a serving dish.
    Step severn is to transfer the Homemade Cranberry Sauce to a serving dish.
  • Serve and enjoy!
    And lastly, serve and enjoy!

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 28.8mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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60 Comments

  1. how long will this keep in the fridge?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jacinta – About 3-4 weeks, give or take.

  2. surely there would be sugar in the nutritional info given the honey…

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jacinta – All fixed.

  3. I am going to make the cramberry sauce today but I was wondering how long it will last in the fridge?? Thanks

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Maria B – My guess would be about a week, give or take.

  4. quick question: can I make this with frozen cranberries?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Pam – Sure!

  5. Thank you for this AMAZING, simple, nutritious recipe. Just made it for Thanksgiving tomorrow and am tickled!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Felicia – My pleasure!! Enjoy! 😀

  6. This came out amazing!!! But I found I to be a bit too sweet for my liking (and I do enjoy sweet lol). I wonder if it’s because I used a small clementine zest instead of an orange?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      LaurieR – I’m not sure that would affect it. I would just use less sweetener next time around. The other thing you can do is buy an extra bag of cranberries and boil it down without sweetener and then mix it in. Glad you enjoyed it though! 🙂

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