Easy and simple homemade cranberry sauce, made with real whole cranberries! This holiday classic is made with only 5 ingredients!
All about his Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Quick and Easy: Only a handful of ingredients are needed and this dish comes together quickly thanks to not having to boil water and sugar together first before adding other ingredients.
- Flavor: the combination of apple cider, orange juice and brown sugar means this sauce is way more flavorful and interesting than the canned version.
- Texture: thanks to using whole cranberries we are able to mash to create our own desired texture.
- Sugar: using light brown sugar gives wonderful flavor to this homemade sauce.
- Cranberries: this recipe starts with fresh, whole cranberries.
- Apple Cider: gives a fun flavoring that pairs nicely with the tart cranberries.
- Orange Juice: this adds a nice, bright flavoring that sets this cranberry sauce apart from the canned versions.
How To Make (step-by-step):
- Combine the cranberries, sugar, juices, orange wedges, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan.
- Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the berries burst. Mash against the side of the pot if needed to get a smoother texture.
- Orange Zest: we are boiling the orange wedge with the berries for additional flavor from the leftover juice. If you are wanting to add zest to your sauce, do it after the sauce has cooked so you don’t end up with a bitter flavor to your sauce.
- Chill Time: this recipe requires at least 2 hours to set and thicken in the refrigerator.
- Spice: sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Fruits: add in chopped apple.
- Nuts: stir in some chopped pecans after cooked and cooled.
Cranberry Sauce: FAQS
Cranberries are naturally high in vitamin C and fiber, plus they contain vitamin E and anti-oxidants. These nutrients are available when you eat homemade cranberry sauce.
Once you’ve cooked the sauce, if it doesn’t have enough sweetness and it still tastes bitter, add a bit of maple syrup or other liquid sweetener. This way the sweetener dissolves quickly into the sauce and you won’t have a grainy texture.
Cook the sauce a bit longer, to reduce it, this means the liquid will evaporate leaving a thicker sauce. If needed you can add some pectin, gelatin, or even do a cornstarch slurry to help thicken it up.
More Side Dish Recipes to Try:
- Mashed Potato Casserole
- Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Corn Casserole
- Cranberry Salsa
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup apple cider
- ¼ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
- pinch salt
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- Add the cranberries to a 3 quart saucepan. Add in the orange juice, apple cider, sugar, salt and the juiced orange wedges. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Simmer for 10 minutes until berries have burst and sugar is completely dissolved.
- Remove the orange wedges. Spoon the sauce into a bowl and allow to cool. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Recipe first published October 21, 2018. Updated November 8, 2022 with new information. Recipe is unchanged. SaveSave
Do you leave the orange peel in and if so what size should they be?
Hi Linda! I do leave the orange peel while the berries are simmering, just to get as much flavor as I can. I just toss in half of the orange that I used for juice. Then remove the peel before you mash the berries. I did add some orange zest to the top of the berries for the pictures, which you can absolutely do to yours too, just grate the peel a bit to get a small amount of zest and sprinkle on top 🙂