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Recipes

Homemade Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe

If you are looking for a stellar homemade fresh cranberry sauce recipe, then you’ve come to the right place. This bright and flavorful cranberry sauce strikes the perfect balance between tart and sweet. It is also quick and easy to make, and pairs incredibly well with a variety of meals!

That said, it’s a shame if you think cranberry sauce is just for turkey or Thanksgiving. We love to make and enjoy this fresh cranberry sauce recipe whenever cranberries are in season. When you see them available fresh in the grocery store, snag some! Whole fresh cranberries can often stay good in the refrigerator for nearly 2 months.


Did you know?

In addition to being dang tasty, cranberries are so good for your health that they’re considered a superfood! In fact, research has linked the nutrients and high antioxidant levels in cranberries to a lower risk for both urinary tract infections (UTI) and cardiovascular disease, the prevention of certain types of cancer, decreased blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. Even more reason to enjoy fresh cranberry sauce more often than just the holidays!


Okay, enough chitter-chatter. Let’s get cooking. 


Fresh cranberries sit in a wooden bowl, glistening in the light. The bowl is surrounded by whole and halved oranges, loose cranberries here and there, a white ramekin of brown sugar, a white ramekin of maple syrup, and a teaspoon measurement of cinnamon. These are the ingredients to make the perfect fresh cranberry sauce.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 12-ounce of bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup. No maple? Double the sugar below.
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar. It’s okay to substitute with white sugar if that is all you have, but we prefer using brown.
  • One organic, ripe, medium-large orange. You’re going to use both the juice and zest. Going organic is always awesome, but especially important if you’re using the rind of the citrus.
  • Water. Enough to make 1 cup of liquid total, including orange juice (for example: 2/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup fresh orange juice)
  • 1/8 tsp of cinnamon
  • Optional: a pinch of allspice


Please note that we usually double this recipe – so that is what you’ll see in the photos. In my opinion, the more fresh cranberry sauce, the merrier. A double batch is highly suggested for large gatherings or if you want leftovers, which you can also freeze and enjoy later.


A close up of all the ingredients for fresh homemade cranberry sauce inside a sauce pan, before they started cooking, including whole cranberries, spices sprinkled on top, and a dollop of grated orange peel zest in the middle.


INSTRUCTIONS


  1. Wash the fresh cranberries. Discard and compost any smashed or bruised ones.

  2. Wash and zest the orange first, and then juice it. It is much easier that way.

  3. Add the fresh-squeezed orange juice to a liquid measuring cup, and then top it off with water until you reach one cup of liquid total.

  4. Combine all of the called-for ingredients in a saucepan on the stove.

  5. Bring the pot to a near-boil, and then reduce to medium-low heat to simmer. The cranberries will begin to pop and combine. 

  6. Continue cooking on a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, until around half of the cranberries have popped and reduced. We prefer our cranberry sauce a bit chunky! Note that the cranberry sauce will seem runny while it is still on the stove, but don’t worry! It thickens significantly as it cools. For an even thicker, smoother, jam-like cranberry sauce, continue to simmer and reduce the mixture a few minutes longer. Allow more of the cranberries to pop and “melt”.

  7. Remove from heat, allow to cool, serve and enjoy! Use your fresh cranberry sauce within 10-14 days when stored in the refrigerator, or freeze leftovers to enjoy for months to come.


Ways to Use Fresh Cranberry Sauce

While the traditional uses for fresh cranberry sauce are more than welcome, I also encourage you to think outside the box! We love to add cranberry sauce to plain yogurt with granola, in oatmeal, on toasted homemade sourdough bread like jam, with grilled cheese sandwiches, or in the place of chutney on a holiday cheese board. 

Or, try mixing a spoonful with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to create a wonderful homemade salad dressing! I know many people enjoy fresh cranberry sauce with desserts such as cheesecake or vanilla ice cream, along with a variety of meat dishes too.

Recently we served this fresh cranberry sauce with a platter of garlic and herb smashed potatoes (below), and it was nothing short of smashing. It is also excellent with sourdough cornbread, or drizzled on top of our sourdough focaccia (along with brie and rosemary) before baking.


A platter of roasted garlic and herb smashed potatoes covered in cheese is accompanied by a white ramekin full to the brim of fresh cranberry sauce. The sauce is the perfect accompaniment for savory foods.
A cheese plate filled with sourdough crackers, cheddar, brie, slices of apple, persimmon, red bell pepper, celery, pistachios in their shell, slices of pickle, and corn nuts. There are three ramekins interspersed throughout the plate, one contains various green olives, another contains hummus, and the third contains fresh cranberry sauce. Sprigs of rosemary are sticking out of the plate here and there as a garnish.
A cheese board with fresh cranberry sauce, homemade sourdough crackers, various fruits, veggies, nuts, and pickled things.


Drooling yet?


I hope you love this recipe as much as we do. If you give it a try, please come back and let us know how you liked and used it with a review – and share or pin this post! How do you like to eat your cranberry sauce?


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5 from 29 votes

Homemade Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, Holiday Dish, Party Food, Salad Dressing, Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry sauce, cranberry sauce recipe, Fresh cranberry sauce, homemade cranberry sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (okay to substitute with white sugar if that is all you have)
  • 1/4 cup map syrup
  • 1 organic ripe orange, medium-large (both the juice and the zest)
  • water – enough to make 1 cup of liquid total, including orange juice (for example, 2/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • optional: pinch of allspice

Instructions

  • Wash the fresh cranberries. Discard and compost any smashed or bruised ones.
  • Wash and zest the orange first, and then juice it.
  • Add the fresh-squeezed orange juice to a liquid measuring cup, and then top it off with water until you reach one cup of liquid total.
  • Combine all of the called-for ingredients in a saucepan on the stove.
  • Bring the pot to a near-boil, and then reduce to medium-low heat to simmer. The cranberries will begin to pop and combine. 
  • Continue cooking on a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, until around half of the cranberries have popped and reduced. (Note that the cranberry sauce will seem runny while it is still on the stove, but thickens significantly as it cools.)
  • For an even thicker, smoother, jam-like cranberry sauce, continue to simmer and reduce the mixture a few minutes longer, popping more of the cranberries.
  • Remove from heat, allow to cool, serve and enjoy!
  • Use within 10-14 days when stored in the refrigerator, or freeze leftovers to enjoy for months to come.


DeannaCat signature, keep on growing

18 Comments

  • C K Neilson

    5 stars
    I don’t remember ever having real cranberry sauce until trying this recipe. Once I made this, I am never going through the holidays without it! It is tart, sweet, and somehow savory all at the same time. We even incorporated it in our breakfast granola and greek yogurt. This is actually a very versatile recipe that can be used and incorporated with a variety of other dishes. There is very minimal work involved in the cooking process and the reward makes it more than worth it. Don’t get a can of cranberry sauce, make this!

  • Ellen

    5 stars
    I made this for the first time recently, and it blew my mind how easy and delicious it was. My family already has a cranberry relish which is yummy but I was looking for something simpler for this year. This was the answer! We enjoyed it with holiday meals, but have made it since to put on bread, oatmeal, and whatever really. Probably going to make a lot while cranberries are still in the stores to freeze!

    • Brittany Heckathorn

      5 stars
      This was so delicious and well balanced! Bright, tart, flavorful…I made a double batch to freeze and I can’t wait to continue enjoying it. Plus it makes your house smell amazing while cooking…

    • Tia Wolfe

      5 stars
      Amazing! The Instagram posts of this recipe inspired me to ditch the canned cranberry sauce this year and make my own. This did not disappoint! It was so easy to make, and so delicious.

      Even after using it for our thanksgiving meal, I got so much use out of the leftovers by adding it to my plain Greek yogurt with some pecans and chia seeds. So happy that none of it went to waste.

      I’ll probably be making batches of this for as long as I can get fresh cranberries this season just to use for breakfast. It’s that good.

      • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

        That’s great to hear Tia! We have been making it on repeat once a week over here and will do so as long as fresh cranberries are available!

  • Crysta C

    5 stars
    Very delicious and easy to make. Nice hint of orange in every bite. I made this for my family over Thanksgiving and it was hands down the BEST cranberry sauce I’ve had! Highly recommend!

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