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Simple Cranberry Sauce

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  • Prep 5 min
  • Total 3 hr 25 min
  • Servings 16
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Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without fresh cranberry sauce! This delightfully tart and tangy side perfectly balances all those Thanksgiving flavors that we've come to know and love. Don't let the idea of making cranberry sauce from scratch stress you out. You can make this easy cranberry sauce the night before and cross it off the to-do list. It goes without saying, but Thanksgiving cranberry sauce on a leftover sandwich is something to look forward to all year.
Updated Jul 19, 2021
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  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries (4 cups)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar


  • 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.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    Be sure to cook the cranberries until they pop in order to release the natural pectin, which thickens the sauce.
  • tip 2
    Want more flavor? Stir in 1 tablespoon grated orange peel after cooking.
  • tip 3
    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.
  • tip 4
    To plus up the sauce even more, add a few pinches of cinnamon or stir in a cinnamon stick while the sauce is simmering.
  • tip 5
    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!
  • tip 6
    In this recipe for cranberry sauce, make sauce as directed, adding 2 teaspoons grated orange peel with cranberries.
  • tip 7
    Make your easy cranberry sauce up to 48 hours ahead of time, so you’ve got one less dish to worry about on Thanksgiving. Just remember to chill sauce in your serving bowl, because it sets as it cools.
  • tip 8
    Wondering what else you can make ahead of time? Check out our 48 Hours of Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet


110 Calories, 0g Total Fat, 0g Protein, 29 g Total Carbohydrate

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
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.

More About This Recipe

  • 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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