Homemade Cranberry Sauce


Growing up, we always had cranberry sauce with our Thanksgiving dinner.  Like many people, our cranberry sauce came straight from can, complete with the memorable ridges from being processed many months prior to the holiday season.  I was completely unaware people actually made cranberry sauce themselves until my sister made some one year for our family’s Thanksgiving.  Game-changer!

In the years past, Mama and I have tweaked and tested many different versions.  Alas, the most basic recipe has proven to be our favorite.  Homemade cranberry sauce is ridiculously easy and affordable to make.  Once you start making it from scratch you will forget all about those Ocean Spray cans of cranberry sauce that start making an appearance this time of year.

For my recipe, all you need is cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and water.  Pretty simple, huh?  The cool part is that once you have your basic recipe then you can add all sorts of fun stuff – cinnamon, orange zest, pecans, etc.  I’m a purist when it comes to cranberry sauce, however.  I just mix my boiling water, sugar, and cranberries together and finish with a splash of orange juice.  By the way, orange and cranberry go together like fried chicken and biscuits.  This can be made several days ahead of time for stress-free holiday prep.  Enjoy!

Ridiculously Easy Cranberry Sauce

1 – 12oz. bag fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons (a generous splash) of orange juice

Optional mix-ins: pecans, orange zest, cinnamon


  1. Pour water and sugar into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil; add cranberries.
  2. Allow cranberries to boil until they all “pop open” and the mixture develops a jelly-like texture.  Reduce heat to medium-high if your mixture starts popping everywhere. (It takes about 8-10 minutes so don’t walk away!)
  3. Once sauce becomes jelly-like and thick, add a splash of orange juice, along with any additional mix-ins.
  4. Remove from heat once the sauce thickens.  Allow to cool and refrigerate in an air-tight container for at least an hour before serving.

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