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

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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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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.

I love making cranberry sauce with 1 bag of fresh cranberries and 1 can of crushed pineapple mixed and heated in a medium saucepan. I bring it to a boil, cover it, lower it to a simmer, and let it cook for about 20 minutes until all the cranberries have popped. It's delicious and all-fruit!

All of the above and then--Bourbon. Just a shot. Fabulous.

I'm so glad someone else makes a simple cranberry sauce. My mom taught me to make this. You don't talk about how important it is to check for the 'dud' cranberries. If you use one's that aren't firm and don't 'bounce', then the sauce will be bitter. We never use any spices or the orange stuff either. That version is never appealing. After making jams and such, I realized a few years ago that I am in essence making cranberry jam every year. And we have reduced the sugar over the years. Mine has much more of a pucker power to it than the canned stuff. Glad you are getting the word out about how easy it is to make homemade cranberry sauce.

I love making homemade cranberry sauce. A co-worker shared the recipe with me many years ago and I haven't looked back. I fix it every year for a potluck at work and for my Thanksgiving dinner. Yummy! So easy to make and so very good. I am also a cranberry sauce snob and love it *.*

Meg, good to know that you can freeze the leftovers. Thanks for the info.

Been making my own cranberry sauce for a few years. Will try it with a little less sugar.

This girl s the recipe on the back of ocean spray cranberry pkg been using it for years

I LOVE making cranberry sauce. Most of my family seems to have texture issues, so I just make it for my husband and me. I add 1/2 c sugar, two tablespoons of orange marmalade and 1/4 cup orange juice. Yummy :)

I've been making the fresh cranberry relish on the package for years with our wonderful california navel oranges. Some of my family likes the canned jelly. We don't like the skins in the cooked whole berries. So I serve both.

I used to think I did not like cranberry sauce. I had only ever tried the jelled type from the can. Then, I saw a recipe for homemade cranberry sauce that did not look too difficult. It was similar to this recipe and included ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. It was so delicious! I hope that anyone who has never tasted real cranberry sauce will consider this recipe. Leave the canned stuff in the market. You won't need it!

This all sounds too good to be true,I have a problem here.we cannot get fresh cranberries in Sydney Australia. The next best i can do here is use Ocean Spray Craisins.How do you think this will work???

I put cubed orange and apple pieces in with the cranberries, a bit of sugar and raisins (for sweetness) and an inch or two of water. I like mine tart and the raisins add sweetness so I don't put in more than maybe a 1/2 cup sugar or less. I cook it until the cranberries burst open and then chill.

John, Contact Ocean Spray @ 800 626 338 or Tell them you're an American and need them for your Thanksgiving dinner! Their fresh cranberries come packaged in a plastic bag with blue print and can be found in the produce section. Or they might have them in the freezer section. Just as good frozen.

John, Craysons wont work. They are a different animal! fresh or frozen thats it.

I have used half steevia (scant 1/8 tsp, to taste) and half sugar to cut calories and add nutrition. My family didn't notice, and I love it!

I add a jello to the mixture and also celery and walnuts. As much as you want. Love cranberries. G

For each bag of cranberries I use 1/3 cup sugar, juice and zest of 1 or one and a half oranges, and 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce. It makes about 7 cups. This year I'm putting it in jars for holiday gift-giving.

Try cranberry sauce on pancakes- it's amazing! Never liked the stuff before I made it this year. Cranberries are so good for you!

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