No holiday meal is complete without Homemade Cranberry Sauce. It’s a festive classic. Not only does it add a delicious sweet-tart flavor kick to the plate, but it’s also surprisingly easy to make! So ditch the canned stuff and make the best cranberry sauce ever. As a bonus, my version contains much less sugar than most recipes. So, you can feel good about adding a spoonful or two to your roast turkey and leftover turkey sandwiches this year!
Why You’ll Love This Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- It’s easy to make. This cranberry sauce recipe is quick and easy to make, and it’s absolutely delicious!
- It’s a make-ahead recipe. Make ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve. The flavors only get better!
- It’s perfect for holiday meals. This sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the Thanksgiving table, your Christmas meal, or a Boxing Day buffet.
- It’s also great any time: Cranberry sauce is great this time of year to serve with your Christmas turkey and ham. But it’s not just for Christmas. It’s a perfect year-round sauce to serve with pork, chicken, or fish.
These are the ingredients you’re going to need to make this delicious and nutritious Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe:
- Ground Cinnamon
- Frozen Cranberries
- Coconut Sugar
- Natural Apple Juice
- Port (or red wine)
This cranberry sauce recipe is not your average canned variety! Adding coconut sugar and natural apple juice gives the dish a hint of natural sweetness. In contrast, ground cinnamon adds just a touch of festive spice. As it’s the holiday season, I love adding port or red wine for an even more flavorful twist on traditional cranberry sauce. It feels a little extra special.
So, whether you’re a savvy cook or just starting out in the kitchen, this easy-to-make recipe will quickly become one of your favorites!
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce: Step-By-Step
Here’s how to make Cranberry Sauce in four illustrated steps:
Place a medium saucepan on medium-high heat and add the cinnamon. Cook over the heat for about 30 seconds until it releases its flavor.
Next, place the cranberries, coconut sugar, apple juice, port, orange juice, and half of the orange zest into the pan. Bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly. You want the cranberries to soften and break down. Remove the cranberry sauce from the heat and pour it into a suitable container to allow the sauce to cool completely at room temperature. The cranberry sauce will continue to thicken up as it cools down.
Serve your cranberry sauce cold or warm, topped with some of the remaining orange zest (optional).
Find the recipe card with exact ingredients and full recipe instructions at the bottom of this page. ⇩
Suppose you want to give your cranberry sauce a unique spin. In that case, several ingredients can be added or substituted depending on what flavors you like best.
- Spicy Cranberry Sauce: If you like a little heat with your sweet, try adding some crushed red pepper flakes or jalapeno pepper to your cranberry sauce. This is a great way to add a bit of depth to the sauce without making it too spicy.
- Lemon Cranberry Sauce: Adding lemon zest and juice to your cranberry sauce is an excellent alternative to fresh orange juice to brighten the flavor.
- Maple Cranberry Sauce: For a unique twist on cranberry sauce, try reducing the coconut sugar and replacing it with pure maple syrup. This will give the sauce a lovely sweetness with a hint of maple flavor. You can also add some chopped nuts for an extra texture.
- Herby Cranberry Sauce: If you want to add more savory flavors to your cranberry sauce, try adding some fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary. This is a great way to liven up the sauce and make it more interesting.
- Apple Cranberry Sauce: Add a chopped peeled apple for a little more texture and sweetness.
- Boozy Cranberry Sauce: Instead of adding port, what about your favorite spirit or liqueur? Whiskey or Brandy are both a perfect addition to the festive season. I also love Grand Marnier (or any orange liqueur) for a stronger orange flavor.
- The perfect cooking temperature: Place the cranberries in a saucepan over low heat and cook until they begin to burst. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- The perfect flavor: Letting the cranberry sauce cool completely before serving allows flavors to develop fully. And as the sauce cools, it will thicken.
- The perfect texture: I like my cranberry sauce chunky, so I prefer to leave some cranberries whole. If you prefer a smooth sauce, use a food processor or blender to achieve the desired consistency. Simply mash berries with a fork if you want something somewhere in the middle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! The Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools. This is because the pectin in the cranberries sets as it cools, creating a thicker consistency. So if your cranberry sauce is too thin, don’t worry – just let it cool, and it should thicken up nicely.
Yes! Homemade cranberry sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months. Leftover cranberry sauce can be frozen in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Ideally, freeze it in small batches and thaw only what you need when you need it. When ready to enjoy it, simply defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it on the stovetop or microwave.
Yes! This homemade cranberry sauce recipe is gluten-free.
Yes! This homemade cranberry sauce recipe is vegan.
No. This recipe for cranberry sauce is not keto, as it contains coconut sugar. Even though coconut sugar is natural, its carbohydrate content is too high to be considered keto compliant.
Yes! I like to use frozen cranberries as they are much easier to get hold of where I live. But fresh cranberries work just as well in this recipe.
More Christmas Recipes
If you like the look of this Cranberry Sauce, check out more delicious recipes that are perfect for the holiday season.
- Sausages Wrapped in Bacon
- Honey-Roasted Parsnips
- The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes
- Braised Red Cabbage
- Honey Glazed Carrots
- Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Easy Roasted Butternut Squash
Thinking of making this recipe? Please drop me a note in the comment section and provide a star rating! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I ALWAYS LOVE hearing from you.
Printable Recipe Card
Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe
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- 4 cups (450 g) frozen cranberries, or fresh
- ⅛ ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (95 g) coconut sugar
- ½ cup (120 ml) natural apple juice
- 2 tablespoons port, or red wine (optional)
- 1 orange, juice and zest
- Preparation: Gather and prepare your ingredients. Wash cranberries if using fresh.
- Cinnamon: Place a medium saucepan on medium-high heat and add the cinnamon. Cook over the heat for about 30 seconds to release the flavor.
- Boil, then Simmer: Next, gently place the cranberries, coconut sugar, apple juice, port, the juice of a whole orange, and the zest of half the orange into the pan and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly. You want the cranberries to soften and break down.
- Cool and Serve: Remove the cranberry sauce from the heat and pour it into a suitable container to allow the sauce to cool completely at room temperature. The cranberry sauce will continue to thicken up as it cools down. Serve your cranberry sauce cold or warm, topped with some of the remaining orange zest (optional).
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Nutrition Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator. For accuracy, we recommend you calculate using the exact ingredients and brands you used.