DIY Cranberry Sauce: You Will Never Go Back To The Can

November 17, 2014   38 Comments

Last year I posted this recipe and thought, “No one is going to read this.”

DIY Cranberry Sauce

I guess I didn’t think there was an interest in making fresh cranberry sauce.

Boy, was I wrong. This recipe got thousands and thousands of views. This year, I was featured on last week in an article on Thanksgiving Hacks.

I have attended a Thanksgiving where a gelatinous can-shaped thing arrived at the table and it was dubbed “cranberry sauce”. Oh no. You see, I am a cranberry sauce snob.

I learned that all you have to do is the recipe below and you have mind-blowing cranberry sauce. It is so simple and almost as easy as opening a can and plopping said purplish goop in a bowl. Believe me.

Fresh cranberries can be found EVERYWHERE right now in your produce section. Yes, they might set you back $3 but your family and friends will applaud when you serve this.

Above in the photo is my pot of cranberry sauce bubbling away for all of 10 minutes. At the stage in the photo, the berries are just about to pop.

I mix in ground cinnamon and ground ginger because I am super lazy (do not want to peel ginger or buy cinnamon sticks). I shake in about ½ teaspoon each until I like the flavor.

The sauce firms up in the fridge and looks beautiful when served in a bowl (unlike the other stuff).

Do you make fresh cranberry sauce? How do you make it?

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

1.6 from 15 reviews

Makes 2 cups

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1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 cups (1 12-ounce package) fresh cranberries
Optional: ground cinnamon, ground or fresh ginger, orange zest, pecans, walnuts, allspice, raisins, dried apricots


Wash cranberries and check for duds. In a saucepan, mix sugar, water, and cranberries. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.

Add optional ingredients and then chill in refrigerator. This will keep in the refrigerator for about a week (if your family doesn’t try to eat it all).

Nutrition Facts

For a two tablespoon serving: 59 calories, 0.0 g fat, 0.0 g saturated fat, 15.4 g carbohydrates, 13.1 g sugar, 0.1 g protein, 1.1 g fiber, 4 mg sodium, 2 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 38 )

What can you substitute for regular sugar, Domino light sugar???

I use 1/2 cup of sugar and it's still great!

I love making cranberry sauce! Here's my twist on making it. For 12 oz. of berries, I combine 1 cup of orange juice and 1/2 cup of sugar. Bring that to a boil stirring to dissolve sugar. Add washed cranberries and bring back to a boil til berries start to "pop". Turn down heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated orange zest. Cool and enjoy. Yum, it's the best!

My family loves raspberries, and we used to buy the Ocean Spray CranFruit, but now I make my own cranberry sauce with less sugar and add a bag of frozen raspberries. Also don't forget that cranberries freeze very well - so buy them now when you can - I make cranberry sauce for Easter dinner too and use my frozen cranberries!

Love homemade cranberry sauce. Last year I used half cup honey, OJ for water and one orange's zest at the end, it was sweet enough and no honey taste. This year I'm going with 3/4c OJ, 1/4c Cabernet, 1/2c honey, orange zest.

Lisa, its cool you were featured TWICE in Redbook's article on Hacks, congratulations. I also learned how to peel a whole head of garlic in 30 seconds-very clever.

Have you ever used all of the options at once or do you only pick a few that you like?

You can also run the cranberries through a sieve before adding sugar to have it without the hulls.

I use the same ratio of cranberries, sugar and water. When fully cooled I take the extra step of straining it to really have that jelly-like consistency. My favorite flavor combination is to add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish to taste and fresh grated orange zest. This makes a great complement to turkey.

It is even better with brown sugar - adds a richer flavor. We usually add cinnamon and nutmeg as well.

Since I'm not fond of that orangey taste in cranberry sauce, I'm going to try this recipe as written - love the taste of the sweetened cranberries and I've tried so many recipes where they call for orange juice, orange zest and I just felt like I was eating orange marmalade - didn't care for it. Love the sounds of this one! So easy too :) Thank you!

I've been making my homemade cranberry sauce for years -- yours sounds good, too. So much better than the awful canned version. Thanks for sharing.

I agree with Sue. It's hard to find a recipe that does not include oranges. I make two versions. One plain one for the family, and one for me with nuts and fresh ginger. I am going to try the brown sugar this year as well.

Like others, I've been making fresh cranberry sauce for many years. Only buy the canned type in the off-season, after I've run out of the packages of the berries I've frozen. I also use less sugar (around 2/3 cup) and add cinnamon. Sometimes I add cayenne also.

I substitute bourbon for water,and add toasted chopped pecans. I also add a can of madarin oranges another version, I use port wine, add dried cherries and use brown sugar. Cranberries are so versitile, you can use many different things to make this easy sauce!

The first time I made cranberry sauce I was like, "it is this easy?!" and taste great!

I'm embarrased to say this since I am normally a person that makes everything homemade, but I actually like the canned stuff. I have tried to make homemade but I just do not like the chewiness of the fresh cranberries. Neither does the rest of my family. Can you strain this and get something kinda thick, or would you just end up with runny juice?

If you have any leftocer sauce, it also freezes well and can be used for the next turkey dinner at Christmas.

I use merlot and sherry wine, as well as a cinnamon stick and some orange peel in mine. So easy yet impressive to serve ...

I started making cranberry sauce last year! Some of my family do not like the whole berry style, so I run it through the great!! :-)

I cook my berries in orange juice, add a generous grating of ginger, one unpeeled, diced red apple, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and a bit of allspice. I use brown sugar instead of white sugar. Your suggestion of adding some raisins sounds like a good idea, or maybe currants.

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