Homemade Cranberry Sauce is one of the easiest side dishes to make! All you need is 5 simple ingredients, and it tastes significantly better than the canned version you’d buy at the store.
Why You’ll Love It
It’s easy to make. Just add the ingredients to a saucepan and cook until the sauce thickens. It takes just about 10 minutes!
It tastes amazing. Fresh cranberry sauce tastes 100% better than the kind you’d buy at the store. The addition of fresh ginger, cinnamon, and orange juice takes the flavor over the top!
It’s naturally sweetened. Instead of using white sugar, this recipe is made with pure maple syrup. It adds a rich flavor you’ll love, without tasting too sweet.
You can prep it ahead of time. Cranberry sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 7 days, and since you can serve it chilled, it’s easy to grab and set on the table in time for your Thanksgiving meal.
The leftovers are useful. Spread extra cranberry sauce on leftover turkey sandwiches, turn it into a salad dressing, or use it as a filling for cranberry crumble bars.
Ingredients You’ll Need
What’s in cranberry sauce?
- Fresh cranberries
- Orange juice
- Maple syrup
The fresh ginger makes the cranberry sauce absolutely delectable, so feel free to add more, if you love it!
You can also add in a little orange zest when you use fresh orange juice, or you can use lemon juice, instead. (The lemon will add a little more tartness to the overall flavor.)
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
1. Gather the ingredients.
Pour the cranberries into a fine mesh strainer, and rinse them well. Be sure to remove any berries that look soft or bruised.
Transfer the cranberries to a medium saucepan and add in the maple syrup, orange juice, cinnamon, and ginger.
Place the pan on the stove over medium high heat, and bring the liquid to a gentle boil. Lower the heat, and let the cranberries cook, stirring often.
The cranberries will start to pop and burst as they cook. After 5 to 10 minutes of cooking and stirring, they will be soft enough to mash against the side of the pot. Use the spatula to mash the cranberries as you stir. (Feel free to leave some whole, too. The texture is up to you!)
Tip: Don’t let the cranberries cook for longer than 15 minutes, or the pectin that the cranberries contain may start to break down. This can prevent the sauce from thickening up as it chills.
Once the cranberry sauce has thickened on the stove, remove it from the heat and let it cool. You can let it rest in a serving bowl if you plan on serving it soon, or transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
The cranberry sauce will thicken even more when it’s cold. Serve the cranberry sauce chilled, or let it come to room temperature for an hour on the counter before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Homemade cranberry sauce should keep will in the fridge for up to 7 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. To thaw frozen cranberry sauce, remove it from the freezer and place the jar in the refrigerator. Let it thaw for 48 hours before you plan on serving it.
You can swap the maple syrup for honey, if you don’t need a vegan recipe. Or, you can use 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, but in that case increase the orange juice to 3/4 cup total.
For more of a cozy holiday flavor, you can add in a pinch of nutmeg or allspice, and you can also add a pinch of salt to help boost the overall flavor.
More Holiday Recipes to Try
Holiday Salad. This salad is topped with apples, crunchy pecans, and a delicious apple cider vinaigrette that you can stir together in minutes.
Homemade Apple Cider. This recipe will make your house smell amazing as it cooks! Serve it warm with a cinnamon stick, for a festive holiday drink.
Sweet Potato Casserole. Featuring a crunchy oat & pecan topping, this recipe is a delicious alternative to the kind topped with marshmallows.
Easy Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup orange juice*
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger , finely grated
- Wash the cranberries and discard any soft ones.
- In a 1 1/2 quart sauce pot, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, orange juice, cinnamon, and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- The cranberries should burst as they cook, and the sauce will thicken. Be sure to stir often, to make sure nothing sticks to the pan, and press the cranberries against the side of the pan to help them break down and thicken the sauce.
- Make sure you don't cook the cranberries any longer than 15 minutes, or pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a storage container with a lid.
- Store in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 6 hours before serving. You can make this sauce up to 5 days in advance, to make your holiday meal a little easier!
If you try this cranberry sauce recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.
Questions and Reviews
This recipe looks fantastic! And thanks for sharing that info about not cooking cranberries longer than 15 minutes. I has no idea! I always wondered why my cranberry sauce never thickened as much as I wanted it to… 🙂
Okay, I totally thought I hated cranberry sauce, but I mean it does look pretty nasty coming out of the can. But, this looks delicious. May have to try this one out!
I didn’t know that about the pectin, either. Great tip. We take a bit of a pass on T-giving, so I’ll probably make my orange cranberry sauce (it’s a hit with the whole family), but I really appreciate the tip!
Thanks for this! The hub and I were just talking about cranberry sauce yesterday!
Do you know how long it might last in the fridge before it needs to be fully eaten? Our first sweetie is due around Thanksgiving, and hub’s parents are visiting then. I’d love to make this up early (e.g. next week) and still have it be a-okay when they are here the following week.
I’m hoping this batch will last us until Thanksgiving, too! I’ve read varying opinions on the shelf-life of cranberry sauce; it sounds like it stores a lot like jam? In that case, it would easily keep in the fridge for up to a month or more. I’ve been considering freezing mine, then thawing it the day before Thanksgiving… but I’m not sure that the consistency will be the same after freezing.
So, the short answer is… I don’t know. But, I’m pretty sure you could make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge– as long as it doesn’t grow mold or smell “off” it should be fine. Good luck with the new baby!! 🙂
i love making homemade cranberry sauce!! never used lemon- typically use orange zest and honey with ginger, but lemon with maple sounds like a great combo! i already have 4 bags in the freezer waiting to be used 🙂
was wondering if frozen berries would thicken or be too watery?
Every year I think I will make the cranberry sauce and haven’t but this year I saw how good yours looks so I tried it and it is Amazing!, I’m taking it to the family dinner along with your pumpkin bars. And some vegan Mac and cheese sauce. Thanks for having so many amazing recipes available . I might try the sugar free challenge.
This looks great – I’ll be making it this year. Thanks for the timing tip!
Any idea of the # of servings? We’ll be 40 family & friends on Thanksgiving.
I’ve been making a somewhat similar cranberry sauce using grape juice, it’s always a hit and I like to smear the leftovers on bagels and cream cheese
I made my own cranberry sauce a few years back similar to yours. I used brown sugar instead and added flakes of red pepper. That spicy flavor in the background was soooo good!!
Ps I linked your blog on my monthly learning log. You are a great inspiration in our house. My kids are participating in a cookie contest next week and we will be using one of your recipes. Just don’t know which one yet!! 🙂
This is by FAR my favorite cranberry sauce recipe! I never liked the canned stuff and once I made this, I’ve never turned back!! Alton Brown Rocks!
Try adding jalapeno for a lil kick! Yum! Thanks, Megan!
This was awesome! I added some thinly sliced kumquats, but otherwise followed your recipe to the letter, and it was perfect. 🙂
Love this recipe!!! I made it and it is super yummy!!! I made a second batch using the orange and added some cayenne pepper too. I I think that version is my favorite!! Thank you for all your amazing recipes!!
When you add the cranberries & cook for 15 min, do you cook them at boil or simmer level?
Love this recipe! Have been using the other similar versions and variations I have used for years – and as the left overs have used as jam for toast or in the the turkey sandwich BUT now I hardly use any bread at all so very perfect to have this other use for the left over cranberry sauce!
LOVE the recipe!!
We made this tonight and my hubby liked it better than his mom’s! 😉 I bought and froze about 10 bags of cranberries at the holidays since you can’t get them any other time of year. Looking forward to making this all year long! 🙂
Did you end up making this with fresh cranberries frozen and then thawed? Did it come out just as good?
As soon as I can get fresh cranberries I do. I usually make the standard sauce and we ate it with everything. Cranberries are very healthy and I love them. So I’m trying this out. It sounds delicious.
Just made this for our early thanksgiving celebration and my kids liked the pan clean (once it was cooled). So so yummy and so excited to share tomorrow!
This is incredibly delicious. I liked the spoon, scraped out the sides, and was left wishing I had made more! I have a feeling the rest of the English department will, tomorrow, too…
licked* this is what i get for typing while eating..lol.
tons of thanks for sharing this, my 9yr old made this and came out so good, everybody enjoy this, she also suggest that instead of peanut butter jelly sandwich you can replace jelly as cranberry jelly…..love this
we don’t have fresh cranberries over here. Do you think I could adjust the recepie wih dried cranberries, maybe soaked in water? Would love to hear your opinion on this. Thanks, Tonia
I, too, live in a country that doesn’t have fresh cranberries. I have tried Megan’s recipe the past two Thanksgivings using dried cranberries, and it is possible, but you have to alter the sweetness since dried cranberries are sweetened already. It seems like I might have added more lemon to balance it as well. I never used exact measurements, so I can’t tell you exactly what I did…I just taste along the way. Just wanted you to know someone else out there had tried it. I’m sure it’s not the same taste exactly as the recipe written, but it is delicious and doable all the same.
This week I found a bag of fresh cranberries while visiting another city, so this Thanksgiving I’m so excited to actually try the recipe as written!
Can this recipe be made in the Instant Pot? Hoping Yes!
Someone on my Instagram feed just mentioned that they made it in the Instant Pot, but they thought the water should be left out because it doesn’t evaporate in the Instant Pot the way it might on the stove. I think it’s worth a shot!
This recipe looks great! I’m super excited to try it this weekend!
This is my all time favorite cranberry recipe! Love the addition on ginger. So yummy!
Thank you for this healthy recipe and clear instructions! Can’t wait to try this sauce!
Great recipe! I’ve made this recipe the last few years and it’s always a big hit.
So easy and so delicious! This was my first time making cranberry sauce and it turned out perfectly. My husband said it’s the best cranberry sauce he’s ever tasted!
I’m so happy to hear that, Sarah! Thanks for letting me know!
I was a little nervous to make cranberry sauce after I failed last year! Incredibly easy and delicious! Thanks for the 15 minute tip too!
Delicious!! I just made this and it is perfectly tart and not super sweet which I think is how cranberry sauce should be! Added a handful of toasted walnuts at the end which isn’t good for nut – free folks but adds great flavor and crunch. Funny I found an older recipe from your website – prob at least a few years old – that was a smashing hit – I’m sure this one will be also! Thanks and happy thanksgiving Ms. Detoxinista!
Great recipe! My husband thought I was a genius, even though this was incredibly easy to do. I refrigerated most of it for Thanksgiving dinner, but we ate some immediately on waffles with maple syrup while watching the Macy’s “parade.” Heaven!
Tried this recipe and it was delicious. Good way to make my kid eat cranberries. Thank you for sharing this Megan
Another fantastic recipe!! I will definitely be making this again.
Was easy and delicious, even my 7 yr old loved it! I did not have fresh ginger on hand and substituted with 1/2tsp ground ginger.
First time making homemade cranberry sauce and I’m never going back! I was always intimidated to try making it but this was so simple and tasted delicious. Winner!
I’ve been making this recipe since I discovered it on your site about 3 years ago. It is my absolute favorite. I have always HATED cranberry sauce, thought it only came in cans and the slices with the can ridges in it always turned me off big time. This, though, is fabulous and after the thanksgiving feast, I use it as preserves with toast until it’s all gone! Thank you!
I made this for Thanksgiving and it was super easy. Very delicious.
I made cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries for the first time last Thanksgiving and was going to use the same recipe this year. At the last minute I decided to use this recipe instead and I’m so glad I did. I liked using maple syrup instead of white or brown sugar and I thought the ginger and cinnamon would be nice additions. My family loved this dish and one even said “it tastes like Christmas”. All wanted the recipe and I hardly had any leftover! That means I have to make it again. And I appreciate the tip to not over cook the cranberries. My sauce was done quickly and thickened up nicely. Thank you Megan for a great addition to my repertoire.
These were by far my he best cranberries we’ve ever had for thanksgiving! Perfect notes of orange and ginger. And for once our cranberries we’re thick!
My sister makes this for thanksgiving every year and I’m excited to try it this year. When I watched the video it was for salad dressing (which looks delicious, it just wasn’t the cranberry sauce). 😛
Thanks for letting me know, Bree! I just fixed that video issue. 😉
Super easy and delish, love this!
Just made this for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. It was SO EASY, SO DELICIOUS, and set up perfectly. I need to stop putting it on our rolls and cornbread so we have some for tomorrow LOL I am planning on buying more cranberries to freeze and make this throughout the year as Jennifer mentioned in her review. Thank you for all your recipes. Everyone I have ever tried has been super easy and a slam dunk. In appreciation – Carole
For the past couple years, my kids have always helped me make this recipe. Welp, this year my husband and I down for the count sick on the couch and the kids (10,7,6) are handling it all by themselves! I hear them squeal with glee each time a cranberry pops. Easy to make and so delicious.
This is the first time ever that I made cranberry sauce and used this recipe. I loved how super easy it was! Not only that but I finally understand the hype about cranberry sauce. It is delicious! I keep eating the leftovers with a spoon with zero guilt as the ingredients are clean and wfpb. Thanks for another great recipe Megan!
I’ve made this almost every year for several years now, no matter where I’m going for Thanksgiving, and every year I get tons of compliments! One of these years I’ll remember to make a double batch so I can hoard some leftovers.
This recipe is a delight to the taste buds! I’ve made it twice. I use mandarin or regular oranges in it. Thank you, Detoxinista for always sharing recipes that are not only healthy, but also reliably delicious. Bravo!
Oh and I must add- it’s so simple to make!
So quick and easy and delicious. Why would anyone ever made this with white sugar or use a can? I make this every year for American and Canadian thanksgiving – it’s a staple!
This recipe is a favorite of ours! Delicious and easy.
This recipe was SOOOO easy to make! Everyone loved it. We had a friendsgiving over the holiday weekend and I paired this with the stuffed acorn squash recipe. They were perfect together!
Love this recipe! I’ve made it the past few years, but never left a review. I just bought a bag of cranberries just so I could make it this week! So yummy!