This simple recipe for easy homemade cranberry sauce is a holiday classic. Made with fresh cranberries and sweetened with maple syrup and fresh orange juice, this recipe is a must-have for your next holiday meal.
Skip the canned cranberry sauce and make a batch of homemade cranberry sauce instead. It's one of the easiest things to make this staple for your holiday meal.
Fresh cranberries will start to appear in stores early November and sometimes as soon as late October. If you pick up a few bags of cranberries, you can even freeze them for later.
What should cranberry sauce taste like?
Homemade cranberry sauce has the following characteristics:
- It's tart and tangy
- Because cranberries are naturally very tart, you'll want to sweeten them. but be sure not to add too much sweetener.
- It should balance and complement the rest of your Thanksgiving meal
Ingredients you'll need
You only need a few ingredients to make cranberry sauce.
- Raw cranberries: You'll need a 12-oz bag of fresh cranberries, which is approximately 3 cups of berries.
- Maple syrup: To naturally sweeten the cranberry sauce.
- A cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon
- Zest from orange
- Juice from orange:- this makes about 1/4 cup of orange juice
- Sea salt: a pinch of salt to add flavor
Pro-Tip: While some cranberry sauce recipes use just water and skip the orange juice, I recommend using both. The juice adds flavor and helps cut down the bitterness from the cranberries.
How to make homemade cranberry sauce
Once you have the ingredients, making the cranberry sauce takes only 20 minutes using the following steps:
1. Combine ingredients: In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, water, cinnamon, orange zest, maple syrup, and salt. Squeeze in the juice from one orange.
2. Simmer: Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the cranberries start to pop and get soft, stirring frequently.
3. Cool cranberry sauce: Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Cranberry sauce is usually served at room temperature.
Storing and reheating
To store: Store in the refrigerator for a few weeks in an air-tight container.
To reheat: If you'd like to reheat the sauce later, warm in a saucepan over medium heat.
Making ahead of time
This sauce can be made up to a week in advance. Be sure to store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
This homemade cranberry sauce will last for weeks in the refrigerator. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:
- Add a layer on your sandwiches. I love adding some to my grilled cheese sandwiches!
- Use it on your next cheeseboard or snack board
- Use it in cupcakes and other baked goods
- Add to pancakes and waffles as a sweet topping
- Use in your next yogurt bowl with some granola!
More Thanksgiving recipes
Here are more holiday recipes that are easy to make and delicious:
- Vegan Collard Greens
- Vegan Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Pumpkin Chai Smoothie
If you tried this Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe or any other recipe, be sure to rate the recipe and let me know what you think! Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more delicious recipes.
Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published on November 13, 2019. Since then, it’s been freshened up with new pictures and more details to help you make the recipe.
- 12 oz cranberries, rinsed and drained well
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/8 teaspooon salt
- Combine cranberries, water, maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt in a medium saucepan.
- Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the cranberries start to pop and get soft, stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool to room temperature.