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Published November 21, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This amazing homemade fresh cranberry sauce comes together in minutes and perfectly complements your turkey dinner. You’ll never go back to canned cranberry sauce after tasting this.
We love serving up sauces with all the protein and veggies we eat. It can also help mask the flavor of foods for your daughter to eat. If you are interested in exploring some new sauce recipes, then for sure, check out my Pesto or Tzatziki sauce.
Cranberry sauce has been around for over 2 centuries in the United States. Some late 18th-century writings reference a simple cranberry sauce using water, sugar, and cranberries created by Native Americans and was officially recognized by cookbook author Amelia Simmons in 1796.
Cranberry sauce became popularized in a can in the early 1940s with the mass preserved food era to help get American soldiers fighting in WWII food that would last. However, there is no comparison in flavor between the canned jelly version and homemade fresh cranberry sauce.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Water -Any tap or bottled water will work.
- Sugar – Plain granulated sugar is what’s needed.
- Cranberries – Fresh cranberries are better, but frozen cranberries can be used.
- Orange – You will need the zest of a fresh orange.
- Spices – Some ground cinnamon and nutmeg will help elevate the flavors in this cranberry sauce.
How to Make a Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Bring some water and sugar to a boil in a medium-sized pot.
Add in the cranberries and return it to a boil.
Once boiling, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until it becomes very thick.
Remove from the stove and add cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest.
Mix everything using a rubber spatula, but press on the cranberries slightly to help break them up more. Cool in the refrigerator until cold.
There are a few other ingredients you can add to this cranberry sauce to enhance the flavor further:
- Golden Raisins
- Crushed Pecans
- Crushed Walnuts
- Ground Cloves
- Orange Juice
- Lemon Juice
- Lemon Zest
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 2 days ahead. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for 7 days. You can freeze it covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator until soft.
Recipe Chef Notes + Tips
- The sauce will thicken up a lot once it is cool.
- You can use frozen cranberries in this recipe.
More Sauce Recipes
Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 12 ounces or about 4 cups fresh cranberries
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Add the water and sugar to a medium-size pot and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
- Next, add in the cranberries and return them to a boil. The cranberries will begin to pop.
- Once boiling, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until it becomes very thick.
- Remove the pot from the stove and add in cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest and using a rubber spatula mix everything together but also press on the cranberries a little bit to help break them up more.
- Add the cranberry sauce to a container and cool in the refrigerator until cold, which takes about 30-45 minutes.