This Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce will become an instant classic for your holiday dinners. Incredibly easy and fast to make, it is so much better than anything you can buy in the store. Run to the store and grab some fresh cranberries today! You’ll find them in the produce department.
One of the quintessential parts of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners is sweet and tart cranberry sauce. It is the perfect complement to all the traditional foods we serve. And there is nothing better on turkey sandwiches the next day!
It is absolutely foolproof and a knock out recipe! Make sure you set aside a beautiful glass serving dish so the stunning color of this sauce can sparkle on the buffet or table.
When you are picking over the cranberries, toss out any white ones and those that are squishy or shriveled. And look for their tiny little stems and remove those as well.
While you can use orange juice out of a carton, freshly squeezed juice make a huge difference in this recipe. Plus you need orange zest – be sure to zest the oranges and then cut them in half. If you try to do it the other way around, it is very difficult to get all the zest off!
It may seem like a lot of sugar to use but cranberries are extremely tart. I usually wind up using the full 2 cups because I like my sauce to be on the sweet side. The Artist prefers it more tart. I often split the difference and find a happy medium.
If you are busy with a bunch of other dishes while you are making this sauce, you can skip skimming the foam off the top while the berries are cooking. Skimming gives you a cleaner looking sauce, clear with no imperfections. But those aren’t going to influence the flavor at all.
Be sure you use a large enough saucepan (a 3 or 4 quart will work perfectly) so the sauce has room to bubble up without spilling over. I prefer to use a nonstick saucepan because it is so much easier for clean-up.
An immersion blender, also called a stick blender, allows you to puree directly in the pot you cooked in. They are not very expensive and are perfect for making this cranberry sauce as well as pureeing soups and smoothing out gravies. I have had mine for years and it is one of my favorite kitchen tools. Some come with whisking attachments that make it even more useful.
There is a lot of natural pectin in cranberries which cause the sauce to gel as it cools. It won’t be as firm as the type in the can, but it will be a lot thicker when it isn’t hot. Once it has cooled a bit, I am notorious for sneaking spoonful after spoonful to “test” it, LOL. It is irresistible!
I hope you give this Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce a try. It is the easiest and fastest recipe I make for Thanksgiving and The Artist’s favorite!
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a star rating and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #theheritagecook on Instagram! Seeing your creations makes my day. I love hearing from you!
Ingredients needed for Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce:
- Navel oranges, orange zest, orange juice
- Fresh cranberries, granulated sugar
Fresh cranberries are found in the produce section of your grocery store. They are available from before Thanksgiving until Christmas. I always buy a few extra bags and keep them in the freezer so I can make this sauce and other cranberry recipes all year long.
How to make Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce:
- Wash and dry oranges and remove the zest and put it in a small bowl. Cut the oranges in half and juice using a reamer working over a sieve place into a measuring cup.
- You need 3/4 cup (177g) orange juice, then add 1/4 cup (57g) water bringing it to 1 cup (227g) liquid and stir together.
- Combine the cranberries, sugar, and the orange juice/water mixture in a nonstick saucepan. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then cook over medium-high heat until most of the berries have popped, about 10 minutes.
- While the berries are cooking, skim the foam off the top and discard it for a clearer final sauce.
- Remove pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, lightly puree the mixture leaving some berries solid. Transfer to a glass serving dish and let it sit at room temperature to cool.
- The sauce thickens as it sits. When cool press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving. Can be made up to 3 days ahead.
If you want to change this up you can add sliced almonds or orange segments. Stir them in while cool but before refrigerating.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Citrus reamer
- Mixing bowls
- Nonstick saucepan
- Immersion blender
This is a naturally gluten-free recipe!
Always check to be sure the products in the recipe haven’t changed and are still safe to consume.
- 2 fresh navel oranges, zested
- 3/4 cup (177g) orange juice, fresh if possible (if using prepared orange juice, reduce the sugar a little to compensate)
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) water
- 1 lb (454g) fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed well (one bag sold in the produce section)
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups (297g to 396g) granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries)
- Wash and dry navel oranges. Grate the zest of both oranges into a small bowl.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the oranges in half through the “equator” (across the fattest part of the orange). Use a reamer, preferably wooden, to juice the oranges.
- Working with a strainer placed over a measuring cup, squeeze the orange juice into the measuring cup and add additional juice as needed to reach 3/4 cup (177g). Add 1/4 cup (57g) of water to the juice bringing it to 1 cup (227g) of liquid.
- Combine the orange juice/water mixture with the remaining ingredients in a nonstick saucepan and stir until sugar has dissolved. Cook over medium-high heat until most of the cranberries pop open, about 10 minutes. As they cook, using a long handled spoon, skim the foam from the surface and discard.
- Remove from the heat and, using an immersion blender, lightly puree the mixture, leaving some cranberries solid. Transfer to a serving dish and let sit at room temperature. The sauce will thicken as it cools. When cool press plastic wrap directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Can be made up to 3 days ahead; will hold an additional week covered in the refrigerator.
This is a naturally gluten-free recipe!
All recommended ingredients are gluten-free as of the writing of this article. Always check to be sure the products haven’t changed and are still safe to consume.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 21Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is calculated by online tools and is merely an estimate.
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