Simple Cranberry Sauce

simple cranberry sauce Condiment
Simple Cranberry Sauce
  • Prep 5 min
  • Total 3 hr 25 min
  • Servings 16

When you can’t eat another bite of buttery mashed potatoes, hearty bread stuffing or herb-infused turkey, reach for the cranberry sauce! Delightfully tart and tangy, this essential side cuts through all those Thanksgiving flavors giving your palate the refreshing break you never knew you needed. With just a fast five-minute prep time, some fresh or frozen cranberries, a little water, sugar, a zest from your favorite citrus and some simmer time—homemade cranberry sauce will be on the table before you know it. The best part? You can make this crimson berry sauce the night before, so come turkey day you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Updated November 26, 2019


  • 1
    pound fresh or frozen cranberries (4 cups)
  • 2
    cups water
  • 2
    cups sugar


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  • 1
    Rinse cranberries with cool water, and remove any stems or blemished berries.
  • 2
    Heat water and sugar to boiling in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
  • 3
    Stir in cranberries. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling about 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to pop. Pour sauce into bowl or container. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled.

  • Be sure to cook the cranberries until they “pop” in order to release the natural pectin, which thickens the sauce.
  • Want more flavor? Stir in 1 tablespoon grated orange peel after cooking.
  • A little citrus can add big flavor to your sauce—try stirring in the zest or peel of an orange or lemon (whatever’s lurking in your crisper drawer will do)! For even more zing, stir in the juice of your favorite citrus.
  • To plus up the sauce even more, add a few pinches of cinnamon or stir in a cinnamon stick while the sauce is simmering.
  • Leftovers? Make these Turkey and Swiss Biscuit Sliders turkey and swiss biscuit sliders. Slathered in cranberry sauce, they’re the perfect way to use up leftover turkey!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
20 mg
Total Carbohydrate
29 g
Dietary Fiber
1 g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
2 Fruit;
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

  • Wave goodbye to canned cranberry jelly. This scratch-made version is hardly any harder than opening a can, seriously! With three ingredients and a pot of boiling water, you’re on your way to mastering this holiday classic. The only real trick to making perfect cranberry sauce is to use your ears. When the cranberries begin popping, you’re on your way. Remove the pan from the stove when the cranberries appear to have broken down, and your sauce has thickened. Cranberry sauce needs three hours to set up in the fridge, but you can also make your sauce the day ahead to save stress on Thanksgiving. Not that you have to limit yourself to eating fall’s favorite fruit only on Thanksgiving. We certainly don’t! Check out the rest of our cranberry recipes for proof. And if you’re still a bit apprehensive about taking on such an iconic holiday dish, have a look at our tutorial on how to make cranberry sauce.

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