Make Your Own Fresh Cranberry Sauce

November 10, 2015   31 Comments

Two years ago I posted this recipe and thought, “No one is going to read this.”

Easy 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. Many people have been thrilled to find out how easy it is to make fresh cranberry sauce and I hope this year is no different.

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
3 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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Have been making fresh cranberry sauce for years. I use just a little less than the 1cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and the cranberries. Nothing more! I like it because it can be made a couple of days in advance.

on November 10, 2015

I've been making it for years too. I add a cut up apple (with skin), cut up orange and a handful of raisins. The raisins add most of the sweetness cutting down the need for much sugar. I add about 3/4 cup water and maybe 1/2 cup sugar. I eat it on Thanksgiving and lots of other times, sometimes on cottage cheese!!

on November 11, 2015

I love, love, love making fresh cranberry sauce! The color, the smell are such a wonderful addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I substitute orange juice for the water and then cut back on the amount of sugar I need to add. I also add some grated orange zest for another layer of orange flavor. Can't wait to stir up a batch ... 😊

on November 11, 2015

I sub Splenda for sugar and add a bag of frozen berries, or sometimes a can of no sugar added peaches or mandarin oranges. The apricots sound like a great idea, I may try that this year!

on November 11, 2015

I also make cranberry sauce. Here in our area, Publix frequently does a buy one get one free promotion 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. I make a huge batch with orange peel, cinnamon and a tiny bit of sugar. I freeze in one cup portions and add to muffins all year long. I also use it as a filling between spice cake layers all year long.

on November 11, 2015

I've been making this cranberry sauce for over 10 years and love it. I was brought up on the canned cranberry sauce and when a friend of mine gave me her recipe, I never looked back :-) I make it every year for our Thanksgiving potluck at work and everyone loves it.

on November 11, 2015

I use 1/2 apple juice in place of water and cut the sugar to 2/3 c. If you prefer smoother sauce...I always run my cranberry sauce thru the Foley food mill. :-)

on November 11, 2015

I use OJ instead of water. A sugar bomb buy so good!

on November 11, 2015

They have this same basic recipe on the fresh cranberry package that you will buy

-- been making it for years. Super easy. I love it. But you do have those family members that love the canned jelly-like cranberries, so I always serve those, too.

on November 11, 2015

I can personally vouch for Snack Girl's cranberry sauce. It is the best. I also have the unfair advantage of having been taught it -- along with some fun tweaks like subbing maple syrup for sugar -- when she and her family visited my home at Thanksgiving 10 or so years ago. It's not Thanksgiving without this sauce!

on November 11, 2015

I make it basically the same, ie:, ginger, cinnamon, etc., EXCEPT, I use maple syrup, (pure!),instead of sugar, and cut back on the water.

on November 11, 2015

Oh, hey, I don't want to eat nearly-bursting cranberries!! Give me a nice thick slice of the jellied cranberry sauce that retains the shape of the can... that's the cranberry sauce of my dreams. You wanna be a cranberry-sauce snob, go for it, but not at my table :)

on November 11, 2015

It is super easy-peasy to make awesome cranberry sauce. I respect Beth and others who prefer the canned, but I love the homemade. Leftover? No problem. It freezes well, so take advantage of the sales on fresh cranberries and have it in your freezer to use whenever.

on November 11, 2015

We like the sauce w/added cinnamon, ground nutmeg-which I find WAY tastier than ground-a cup of Zinfandel, cut up orange, n orange zest! From my tree. In the backyard. YUM!

Don't need as much sugar or water then...

on November 11, 2015

Lisa -- I have been making cranberry sauce for decades - l cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 pound berries; boil for 10 minutes. I believe it is safe in the refrigerator for many, many weeks, no?? Mine has never 'gone bad,' I think due to the high acidity of the ingredients. I'm glad younger generations are making their own, too.

on November 12, 2015

It's awesome to see all the commenters who cut the sugar! Healthy and table sugar don't mix!

on November 17, 2015

I love, love, love fresh homemade cranberry sauce.. Made it one year with orange juice only and never looked back!

on November 24, 2015

I make it fresh, yearly, and hate it out of a can now. Some of these are great suggestions that I will try too! I use less sugar, prolly 2/3 cup, 1 cup water, and the rinsed berries. But I cook the snark out of it! I cook it on med/high heat until the berries burst, watching to not have it all over the stove; then I take it to a simmer for however long ... at least an hour. It will gel up then, and that's how I like it! It is wonderful that you can do it in advance ... like as far in advance as you want, and it does freeze wonderfully! Here's to all the cranberry purists!

on November 24, 2015

I chop a 12 oz bag of cranberries , add 2 chopped apples and 2 chopped oranges and then add 1 tablespoon of chopped candied ginger and a half dash of cinnamon. Mix this all and put in a covered bowl at least 4 hours before serving. I've never had left overs.

on October 15, 2016

I have been making this for years. The first time I took it to our office Thanksgiving potluck, everyone fell in love with it and requests it every year. So easy to make and so very good.

on October 17, 2016

I substitute splenda brown sugar for the sugar, and add only water. After reading other people's variations, I'm going to explore other options. Thanks, ladies!

on November 20, 2017

I make this but I use juice from the orange instead of water and I half the sugar😊

on December 21, 2017

I had some of this in my fridge for several weeks. I forgot about it because I have a side-by-side fridge, and things get pushed to the back and can't be seen easily. When I found it and opened it, I got whiff of alcohol--it fermented! Anyone know if it is safe to taste?

on November 11, 2018

Love homemade cranberry sauce. I cut down on all the sugar by using that blend of Splenda and brown sugar. It comes in a bag. And I am clear with either a cut up Apple or an orange. I also buy a few jars of cinnamon sticks from Trader Joe's this time of year because they only sell it during the season.

@snackgirl what did you mean by you take out the duds? How do I know if the cranberry is a dud?

on November 13, 2018

The “duds” are the pale ones don’s appear to be ripe, also the soft ones.

I also used the brown sugar-stevia blend. I add chopped apple, orange, and raisins, as another person suggested. It’s delish!

on November 14, 2018

the regular cranberry recipe says 4 cup per 12 oz

the wine says 3 cup per 12 oz

on November 15, 2018

@Joan - thank you Joan :)

on November 15, 2018

@HOWARD - Thank you for noticing that inconsistency. I have fixed this recipe to have 3 cups of fresh cranberries (or one 12 ounce bag).

on November 16, 2018

I use 1 bag of fresh cranberries, 1 orange ( use the zest if you feel ambitious), I run these through the food processor ( I like mine somewhat chunky. Then I add 2 finely chopped apples ( not Granny Smith, you want the sweetness), grated ginger and cinnamon to taste about 1T of ginger and 2t of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Mix it all together. I usually do not add any sugar, honey etc but sometimes the sweetness of the fruit varies and I will a a tablespoon or 2 if needed. My grandkids love this.

on November 14, 2019

I have used Splenda or Stevia instead of sugar with great results. I also freeze this in measured portions with great results

on November 14, 2019

I have made cranberry sauce for many years. I about a half cup sugar. This year I plan to used diced apples and see how that turns out.

on November 15, 2019

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