Chill The Cranberry Sauce
Remove the pan from the heat, place on a cutting board, and let the sauce cool to room temperature. The sauce will thicken up further as it cools. Pour it into a container and chill before serving.
Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce: Cranberry sauce can be made in advance. Follow the recipe, and store in the refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze up to a month.
Serve cranberry sauce with roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, and other holiday side dishes. Leftovers are delicious layered into a turkey sandwich, spread on your morning toast, or swirled into yogurt.
What Do I Need To Make Cranberry Sauce
This easy cranberry sauce recipe uses just a handful of real, whole ingredients:
Cranberry sauce is the perfect way to cut through the heaviness of a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and it adds a gorgeous pop of color and flavor to every bite. I hope you give this super easy recipe a try this holiday season!
Easy Healthy Cranberry Sauce The Whole Family Will Love
It feels unusual to be saying that I made the first batch of something for the year, implying that Id be making it many times again. As a food blogger, I tend to develop a recipe and move on to the next. Rarely do I come back to the same one over and over.
Its not because I dont have ones I love, and even miss dearly, because I do. The reality is, there are only so many hours in the day. And, there are only so many meals to feed my little family of three throughout the week.
So, I tend to save my cooking for new experiments. This is even more true during the holiday season, when the occasions to which I can bring my creations are sadly limited compared to the number of ideas I have.
This fresh, homemade sugar-free cranberry sauce is a delightful exception. Its so easy and so good that I always make it for Thanksgiving. Every. Single. Year.
And every single year, everyone at the table eagerly gobbles it up. Even though its sugar-free, gluten-free, low carb, and paleo, the whole extended family tells me this is the best cranberry sauce. Fresh cranberries make all the difference.
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How To Make Cranberry Sauce
Begin by zesting one of the oranges. A rasp grater is the best tool but any grater with small holes will work just be sure to leave the white pith behind as its quite bitter. Always zest the orange before squeezing the juice out, as its near impossible to do afterwards.
Combine the orange juice, water and sugar in a medium pot and bring to a boil.
Add the cranberries, orange zest and salt.
Boil gently for about 10 minutes.
Most of the cranberries should burst open, creating a thick sauce. You may need to mash them a bit with a spoon.
Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
What To Do With Leftover Cranberry Sauce
So you have some leftovers on your hands, huh?
Not to worry, Ive got plenty of ideas for using up some of those leftover cranberries.
Of course, I am always a fan of slathering some of the leftover sauce on a turkey sandwich with a little bit of mayo. Dont knock it until youve tried it its amazing!
My Cranberry Fluff is also a great way to use any leftover cranberry sauce. If youre over sweets just after Thanksgiving, tuck some sauce away in your freezer to make mid-winter when youre craving some tart cranberries in a sweet, fluffy dessert.
You could even try using some in place of jam in these Leftover Cranberry Sauce Bars .
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Cranberry Sauce For The Holidays
Cranberry sauce is an essential part of every holiday meal for one simple reason it cuts through the heaviness of all the other dishes. Its light, its bright, and its actually pretty darn healthy. I add orange and cinnamon to my cranberry sauce which really gives it more depth of flavor and sweetens it just slightly. Its still lovely and tart but not quite so tart that youll be puckering your lips.
Cranberry Sauce Is Perfect With Thanksgiving Turkey
Cranberries are absolutely perfect with turkey. Sort of like lemons and chicken. Something about the flavors, they’re just made for each other. Which is why the sauce is so good to spread over turkey in your leftover turkey sandwiches.
The following is a simple and easy recipe for cranberry sauce, one that you can easily dress up with extras. If you have a favorite way of making yours, please let us know about it in the comments!
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Can Cranberry Sauce Be Made In Advance
Yes! Cranberry sauce requires a minimum of 2 hours in the refrigerator in order for it to thicken and set properly. However, you can make this holiday side dish up to a week in advance. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container.
And thats all there is to making homemade cranberry sauce, no can required!
If you prefer a more visual guide you can check out my cranberry sauce video at the bottom of the post. If you enjoy these videos, please consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel! < 3
Why This Is My Best Cranberry Sauce
- Quickonly 15 minutes on the stove
- Easyno boiling the water and sugar together first
- Convenient just 5 simple ingredients
- Flavorfulmade with fresh orange juice & zest
- Texturemoderately thick with whole cranberries swirled in
- Make-aheadmake it a few days in advance so its ready!
- Unlike the restI usebrown sugar & vanilla
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How Do You Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
The first step is to get some cranberries. I prefer fresh cranberries, but frozen cranberries will also work fine. The cranberries are simmered with sugar and water until the cranberries burst, then a few aromatic spices are added to the mix. You can either add all the cranberries in at once, or add about 3/4 of the berries, then stir in the other 1/4 later on so that there are some whole berries in the final sauce.
How Do You Make Fresh Cranberry Sauce
- Bring sugars , water, and orange juice to a boil
- Add cranberries and return to simmer
- Cook until berries have burst and desired thickness has been reached.
- Transfer to a serving dish and chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Some cranberry sauce recipes use just water, and no orange juice, but I strongly recommend using both. The juice adds a nice bright flavor that really makes this cranberry sauce shine.
Why This Recipe Works:
Homemade Cranberry sauce is so much better than anything you can find at the store, and this recipe is an absolute favorite in our house.
This is the best recipe out there, and if you read all the comments below, you’ll see why so many readers come back every year to make it!
You can easily prepare your homemade cranberry sauce a day or two in advance so that you have one less pot to clean on the day of. And, yes, all you really need to make this recipe is a saucepan, measuring cups, and a spoon.
What makes this irresistible is this concoction of cranberries cooking in fresh orange juice, orange zest, and sugar and then finished off with a hefty splash of Grand Marnier. YUM!
How To Make Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Start with 12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries.
To this add sugar.
One orange peel. Try to avoid getting too much pith when peeling. This will make the sauce taste bitter.
Next, youll need one-half cup of fresh squeeze orange juice.
Then simmer all of these ingredients over medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the cranberry sauce thickens.
Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly before serving. You can also make this sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it until youre ready to eat it. Enjoy!
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Cranberry Sauce Swaps & Substitutions
- Stir in any of the following at the end of cooking: pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.
- For a a stronger orange flavor, decrease the amount of water in the recipe to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup orange juice.
- For a reduced-sugar cranberry sauce, use half the amount of sugar called for, then taste and add more as needed. Also reduce the amount of water to 1/2 cup, adding more as needed if the sauce seems too thick.
- To make sugar-free cranberry sauce, substitute a sugar replacer like Splenda or Truvia for the sugar.
Can I Make Cranberry Sauce Ahead Of Time
Cranberry sauce can be made 3 days ahead of time and stored in the fridge. To reheat, simply warm in a pot over medium-low heat. Thanksgiving can be so overwhelming when you are trying to make all dishes on the same day, so you want to make as many dishes or prep as many dishes ahead of time as possible.
Check out more of my Thanksgiving recipes:
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How Do You Thicken Cranberry Sauce
If cranberry sauce is cooked enough , the pectin in the fruit will cause it to naturally thicken. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so if your sauce isn’t as thick as you’d like, chill it for an hour or two. If your sauce is still watery, try reheating it and adding a slurry of cornstarch and water and cooking until it thickens.
What Can I Make With Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Heres a few random ideas if you happen to have any left over cranberry sauce after the holiday:
- spread over toast or pancakes
- serve warm over chocolate or vanilla ice cream
- spread on a turkey sandwich
- make into a dressing or vinaigrette
- spread over a cream cheese slathered bagel
- add to a fruit smoothie
- use it as a dip for chicken nuggets/sticks
- serve with rotisserie chicken or pork chops
- make a tangy barbecue sauce with it
- add atop cheesecake
- swirl into a chicken or turkey salad
- layer cheese slices or cream cheese over crackers and spread with cranberry sauce
- mix in breakfast oatmeal and top with sweetened whipped cream
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Tools To Make Keto Cranberry Sauce
Tap the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Medium Saucepan This is the cookware set I prefer to use. It is stainless steel and dishwasher safe.
- Utensil Set High heat resistant and BPA free, this cooking utensil set is the perfect choice when making this low carb cranberry sauce.
Homemade Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe
This Homemade Fresh Cranberry Sauce recipe uses fresh picked cranberries, sugar and water, along with a touch of cinnamon, orange and spice.
Just like grandma used to make, this Homemade Fresh Cranberry Sauce recipe uses fresh picked cranberries, some orange juice, sugar and water, along with a touch of cinnamon and spice.
But cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving. We usually stock up in the fall when the new cranberry crop becomes available and freeze them to have them all year long.
Frozen cranberries, like fresh ones can quickly and easily made into a condiment or even a dessert that is both sweet, tart and delicious within minutes.
Consider this recipe if you need something sweet but also healthy for your family.
DID YOU KNOW?Cranberries are rich source of vitamin C, carbs and fiber. Its also delicious when made into juice and dried.
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce Variations
This is a basic cranberry sauce recipe, but you can add all different ingredients to cranberry sauce to customize it to your liking.
- Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce: Substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar.
- Cranberry Orange Sauce: Use orange juice instead of water and stir in 2 teaspoons of orange zest.
- Vanilla Cranberry Sauce: Add one split vanilla bean to the sauce and let it sit overnight in the fridge.
- Cranberry Cherry Sauce: Add 1 cup of chopped frozen dark cherries to the sauce.
- Cranberry Apple Sauce: Use apple cider instead of water and add 1 diced peeled apple to the sauce.
Tips For Making Fresh Cranberry Sauce
- To get your desired consistency, you can use a potato masher to gently mash the cranberries slightly while the sauce is still warm.
- This fresh cranberry sauce is best once it has been stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator 2-3 days before serving it.
- If you want a sweeter cranberry sauce, you can add in more sugar. My family likes it sweet, more like the jellied version from the can!
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Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe
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When it comes to preparing the traditional holiday meal, Homemade Cranberry Sauce has got to be the easiest, if not most colorful, dish to prepare.
This homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe only requires five ingredients to make this perky festive dish to perfectly complement your turkey. But I have to say, even though it is meant to be one of turkeys favorite partners this Cranberry Sauce is an excellent addition to ice cream, pound cake or drizzled over pancakes. Talk about the perfect use for all of those Thanksgiving leftovers!
Like I said, this homemade Cranberry Sauce is incredibly easy to make. It is also a bit of fun as you hear the cranberries pop, pop, pop! I remember the first time I made cranberry sauce from scratch and wondered what the sound was as I was washing dishes nearby. I kept returning to the stove to figure out if something was wrong with my stove or pan, until it finally dawned on me that it was the cranberries heating up. So be sure to have the kids close by so they can hear the cranberries talk!
As I mentioned before, Cranberry Sauce is super easy to make and can be made ahead of serving time by a day or two. Before serving, bring the sauce to room temperature or rewarm if you prefer to serve it warm. It sure does make holiday meals easy when any dish can be prepared ahead of time.
How To Make Cranberry Sauce From Scratch
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Ways To Use Fresh Cranberry Sauce
While the traditional uses for fresh cranberry sauce are more than welcome, I also encourage you to think outside the box! We love to add cranberry sauce to plain yogurt with granola, in oatmeal, on toasted homemade sourdough bread like jam, with grilled cheese sandwiches, or in the place of chutney on a holiday cheese board.
Or, try mixing a spoonful with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to create a wonderful homemade salad dressing! I know many people enjoy fresh cranberry sauce with desserts such as cheesecake or vanilla ice cream, along with a variety of meat dishes too.
Recently we served this fresh cranberry sauce with a platter of garlic and herb smashed potatoes , and it was nothing short of smashing. It is also excellent with sourdough cornbread, or drizzled on top of our sourdough focaccia before baking.
How To Make Fresh Cranberry Sauce:
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan: In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, water, orange zest, orange juice, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.
- Boil then reduce to a simmer: Set over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook until cranberries burst: Allow mixture to simmer about 10 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have popped.
- Let cool and thicken slightly: Allow mixture to cool about 20-30, the natural pectins in the cranberries will thicken up the sauce a bit as it cools.
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Fresh Cranberry Recipes That Aren’t Sauce
Cranberries are synonymous with Thanksgiving. Dreaming up ways to show off these native North American fruits is one of the pleasures of planning that festive meal. Because of their staggered harvest , fresh cranberries are in season from early fall and available through late winter, thanks to their excellent shelf life.
Look for bright-colored, firm cranberries in the produce section. Avoid bags that have brown or shriveled berries at the bottom. Store in the original packaging for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, or up to one year in the freezer. To prep, rinse and discard any discolored or soft berries if frozen, there’s no need to thaw before use.
Cranberries are tart and complex, beautifully suited to every aspect of any cold-season meal, and versatile enough to deserve more than that once-off annual and obligatory seat at our holiday tables. Cranberries have the personality to define and carry off every course from bright cocktails through refreshing appetizers and salads, savory entrées and sweet desserts.
The puckering tannins and tartness of cranberries are a boon to mixologists and cooks, who can use the fruit to add sourness and balance where they are needed. The relatively dry nature of the acidic berries also turns them into sponges for absorbing sweetness without becoming cloying. The crimson berries are as beautifully suited to long, slow braises, as they are to simple skillet-bakes and luscious French toast.