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Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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Homemade cranberry sauce is so much better than the canned versions! Fresh cranberries are simmered on the stove with honey, orange juice, water and cinnamon. The cranberries will break down and absorb the sugar creating the perfect tart and sweet side dish.

A saucepan with cranberry sauce and a spoon. Small bowls of fresh cranberries and orange zest beside it.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

There’s no comparison to homemade cranberry sauce! The canned versions just can’t compete. Fresh cranberries make a world of difference when served with Thanksgiving turkey.

I’ve been skipping the cranberry cans to make my own cranberry sauce for a few years now. I’ve used it at Thanksgiving dinner and brought it over to other family holiday dinners. It’s an easy, yet thoughtful side dish to bring as a guest. I always get compliments on it.

This recipe only requires 5 ingredients. Everything is mixed and simmered in a small saucepan. First, honey, water and orange juice are heated together. Then the cranberries and cinnamon are added. It takes just a few minutes to hear all the cranberries “pop” as they begin to heat up and break down.

Bowls of fresh cranberries, honey, orange juice, water and cinnamon sticks.

The most important part of this recipe is that you stir slowly through the whole thing! This will prevent the sugar from burning as the cranberries cook.

I have also another version of this recipe which is cranberry sauce with orange zest.

Recipe Ingredients

  • ¾ cup honey – or granulated sugar (both will work)
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries – you must use fresh cranberries. Canned versions will not work the same way here.
  • 1 cinnamon stick – or ½ tsp cinnamon powder
Four images of a saucepan, first two with honey and orange juice. Second two with fresh cranberries and cinnamon stick added, then broken down to a red sauce.

How To Make Cranberry Sauce

Full ingredients and instructions are also in the recipe card at the bottom of this blog post.

STEP 1: Add ¾ cup honey (or granulated sugar), ½ cup orange juice, and ¼ cup water to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves with the liquid.

STEP 2: Next add in the 12 oz cranberries and 1 cinnamon stick (or ½ tsp cinnamon powder). Let this simmer over medium heat, stirring often (or the sugar will burn). Continue to stir and cook until all the cranberries start to “pop” and break down.

You can leave a few cranberries whole for presentation, if you prefer!

Close up of cranberry sauce in pot.

STEP 3: Discard the cinnamon stick and let the cranberry sauce cool for 30 minutes on the counter, then transfer to the fridge to chill overnight. Stir just before serving.

A spoon scooping cranberry sauce in a pot.

Recipe Tips

  • Make A Double Batch – We are really big fans of homemade cranberry sauce over here! I usually double the recipe because a single batch is typically gone after Thanksgiving dinner. And we love it for leftovers!
  • Stir Frequently – Stay close to the stovetop while the cranberries simmer. It’s so easy to burn the sugar which will ruin the cranberries. If you stir slowly but regularly the whole time, you won’t have this problem.
  • Make In Advance – Cranberry sauce is best served cold. This will need to be chilled for at least 6 hours before you serve it. I like to make this 2-3 days in advance because it frees up time to focus on other dishes during the big day.

How To Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerate – If you have leftover cranberry sauce you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. But honestly, we’ve stored it longer without it going bad yet. It’s best to assume that it will be freshest within 3-4 days.
Close up of bowl of cranberry sauce with a spoon and orange zest on top.

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The nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving. There are 11 servings in this recipe.

Cranberry Sauce

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup honey - or granulated sugar
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick - or ½ tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • Add ¾ cup honey (or granulated sugar), ½ cup orange juice, and ¼ cup water to a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves with the liquid.
  • Now add in the 12 oz cranberries and 1 cinnamon stick.
  • Let this simmer over medium heat, stirring often (or the sugar will burn). Continue to stir and cook until all the cranberries pop.
  • Discard the cinnamon stick and let the cranberry sauce cool 30 minutes on the counter, then transfer to the fridge to chill a minimum 6 hours but preferably overnight before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 46IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.2mg

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving.

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