This crock pot cranberry sauce is the best cranberry sauce you can make! (Pssst…. it kinda makes itself!)
I love an adjustable recipe. This particular cranberry sauce recipe can be made a little more runny, or more like the stiffer stuff from a can with one easy little adjustment you won’t even have to think about.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
Whether you call it a slow cooker or a crock pot, you’ll end up with a delicious cranberry sauce that cooks itself.
The only thin you have to do? Mash the berries!
What You’ll Need For Crock Pot Cranberry Sauce
24 oz. fresh cranberries – this is about 6 cups. It’s important to wash these in a tub of water and remove any soft or mushy berries. Remember that once these have cooked, you can mash them as much or as little as you want, making your cranberry sauce more or less chunky or smooth.
1 cup honey – This seems like a lot, but remember that the berries are actually pretty bitter. If you don’t want to use honey, you can try maple syrup.
For granular sweeteners, you can try Sucanat, coconut sugar or monk fruit. But be aware that changing the sweetener will change a flavor a bit. Use 1 cup of the dry sweetener to start with. And if it’s not sweet enough for you, you can mix in more sweetener to taste when this is done cooking.
Typically, the exchange would be about 1 cup honey = 2 cups sugar. But that’s a lot of sugar. So start with 1 cup and adjust as needed after cooking. Simply stir the sugar in while mashing the berries.
If you end up putting too much sugar in, stir in a bit more lemon juice and let it cook with the lid off a bit longer.
Lastly, if you use a dry sweetener, consider adding a 1/4 cup unsweetened orange juice so that there is some liquid in the pot. The berries will cook better.
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract – Use the real stuff. This is an optional ingredient, but I find that it adds a certain delicious nuance to the finished sauce.
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice – You can used bottled if that’s all you have. Either will work. But then you won’t have the zest. If that’s the case, consider adding 1 tsp. of lemon extract to make up for the zest.
1 tbsp. lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon) – Zest this with a lemon zester directly into the slow cooker. The amount doesn’t have to be exact. Just get 1 lemon’s worth of zest in there.
½ tsp. ground cinnamon – Make sure you have plain cinnamon here. Some cinnamon spice mixes have sugar added. So used the regular, plain stuff.
How To Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce In A Crock Pot
Add all ingredients to a small crock pot and stir a bit to combine.
Cook low for 4-5 hours or until you can easily pop the berries with a wooden spoon by pushing them gently against the side of the slow cooker.
If you want thicker sauce, remove lid, and allow to cook on high for about 1-2 hours. There will still be a small amount of liquid left. The more you let the liquid cook down, the thicker your cranberry sauce will be. Simply stir in any remaining liquid.
If you want thinner sauce, skip this extra cooking step and put it straight into a serving dish or into the fridge. (or both!)
Pour into a serving bowl, and chill overnight in the fridge.
What To Do With Leftover Cranberry Sauce
If you have a bunch of leftover cranberry sauce, there are many, many delicious ways to use it up. Here are some suggestions.
- Use it like jam on your morning toast.
- Use it in a Leftover Turkey Sandwich
- Make an Easy Shepherd’s Pie from Thanksgiving leftovers including cranberry sauce.
- Bake some into muffins like these Cranberry Muffins. Simply substitute the apple sauce for cranberry sauce.
- Bake it into bars like these Raspberry Bars where you can substitute the raspberry for cranberry sauce.
How To Store Cranberry Sauce
The best way to store cranberry sauce is to put it into an air-tight container and keep it in the fridge for 10-14 days.
Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?
You sure can! Again, you’ll want an air-tight container. Cranberry sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months.
How To Alter The Thickness Of This Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Thicker sauce – Cook longer with the lid off where called for in the recipe. The longer you cook this with the lid off, the more the liquid will cook down and thicken the sauce. For a canned sauce-like consistency, you’ll want 1-2 hours, depending on how much liquid is in the sauce.
Thinner sauce – Skip cooking further with the lid off. If you like thinner sauce, this is an unnecessary step. Note that the photo above is what it looks like warm, out of the crock pot. It will still thicken a bit in the fridge, but not in the same way as if you add the extra cooking time.
More Cranberry Sauce Recipes
Crock Pot Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Crock Pot Cranberry Sauce
CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!
- Small Crock Pot (2 qt.)
- 24 oz. fresh cranberries (approximately 6 cups)
- 1 cup honey
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Add all ingredients to a small crock pot and stir a bit to combine.
- Cook low for 4-5 hours or until you can easily pop the berries with a wooden spoon by pushing them gently against the side of the slow cooker.
- If you want thicker sauce, remove lid, and allow to cook on high for about 1-2 hours. There will still be a small amount of liquid left. The more you let the liquid cook down, the thicker your cranberry sauce will be. Simply stir in any remaining liquid.If you want thinner sauce, skip this extra cooking step and put it straight into a serving dish or into the fridge. (or both!)
- Pour into a serving bowl, and chill overnight in the fridge.