Homemade Cranberry Sauce with text

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Side Dish

Homemade Cranberry Sauce is a Thanksgiving necessity. It brings color, sweetness, and acidity to an otherwise very beige meal. It’s so easy to make at home, it’s practically magic.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with text

It’s been a doozy of a week/month/year. Part of me just wants to hibernate until this dumpster fire is put out, but then I realize that at least a few of those sparks can only be extinguished by me. Which is so annoying. But here we are. We have to be adults and deal with our own issues no matter how much we wish we could just hide away.

We’re also counting down the final week leading up to Thanksgiving, and I know a lot of us are scrambling to figure out how to make it special this year and keep everyone we love safe. My friends (who are my family here) and I have already started planning the feast we’re going to enjoy when we can finally get together again. I’m so excited for it.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce close up in a square dish

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this year, or if you plan on having turkey at Christmas, you really need cranberry sauce. I grew up with the stuff from a can. I just always thought that the ridged cranberry jelly was the only option. When I started getting interested in cooking, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make your own cranberry sauce.

Whatever you do, don’t leave the cranberry sauce off your table. Holiday meals are very beige and very rich. They desperately need the color and more importantly, the acidity that cranberry sauce brings to the plate. It really helps to add brightness to a heavy meal.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce overhead with mint

How to make Homemade Cranberry Sauce

The cool thing about homemade cranberry sauce is that it practically makes itself. All you need to do is add some fresh or frozen cranberries to a pot, along with some sugar, some orange zest and juice, and a bit of cinnamon, then let it cook over medium heat. Give it a stir from time to time. My favorite part is when the cranberries start to pop. They’re filled with natural pectin, so the only thing you need to thicken it is heat and time.

I think you do get slightly better results with fresh cranberries, but sometimes they’re just not available. This batch was made with frozen berries. You can definitely double this recipe if you do happen to be serving a crowd and think you’ll need more. This is also the perfect thing to volunteer to bring if you’re not confident cooking.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce on a spoon

Look, everything is going to be okay. Eventually. Take a deep breath, hug someone or something, then get ready to feast, even if you’re on your own. Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce. It’s too awesome to miss.

Looking for something to serve your cranberry sauce with? Try my Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf or stay more traditional with a Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy.


Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce overhead with mint

Homemade Cranberry Sauce is a Thanksgiving necessity. It brings color, sweetness, and acidity to an otherwise very beige meal. It’s so easy to make at home, it’s practically magic.

  • Author: Renee Rendall
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 8 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Zest and juice of half an orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat.
  2. Stir occasionally and cook for about 20 minutes until the cranberries break down and the sauce thickens.
  3. Serve warm or store in the fridge. Can be made several days in advance.



Think you’re going to need lots of cranberry sauce? Double this recipe. No problem.

Keywords: Cranberry

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2 thoughts on “Homemade Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Pingback: Cranberry Mule

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