Homemade Cranberry Sauce is quick & easy to prepare, and tastes much better than the canned version, if you ask me. I love how this recipe is made with simple ingredients, and how it can be made in advance so you don’t have to worry about cooking it during a busy holiday.
Benefits of Cranberries
Cranberries are in peak season in the Fall (mid-September to mid-November) and they are high in antioxidants, especially polyphenols.
- Polyphenols called A-Type proanthocyanidins, which are found in cranberries, may help to protect against uninary tract infections. (source)
- Cranberry juice may also lower the risk of stomach cancer, by preventing the bacteria H. pylori (a risk factor for stomach cancer) from attaching to stomach lining. (source)
- Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that may help to lower your blood pressure (source) and it may also help boost immunity by promoting the production of white blood cells. (source)
- Cranberries also contain vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble antioxidant which may help to protect cells from reduce free radical damage. (source)
This tart fruit is also a great source of fiber, and adds a nice contrast of flavor to your favorite holiday meal– especially when you make this version from scratch!
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
To make homemade cranberry sauce, you just need a few easy ingredients. Instead of using white sugar, I like to use maple syrup for sweetness, which adds a rich flavor to the final dish. Paired with orange juice, and fresh ginger, I find this version irresistible!
The main thing you need to know about making cranberry sauce from scratch, is that you can over-cook the cranberries. So don’t leave this recipe unattended on the stove!
The cranberries will burst quickly– usually in about 10 minutes– but you don’t want to go past 15 minutes of cooking or the pectin they contain will start to break down, and the sauce won’t set as well.
The good news is that you can make this sauce ahead of time, so you won’t have to worry about multi-tasking and watching several other dishes at once for a holiday meal. The flavor gets even better as it marinates in the fridge, so I like to make it a day or two beforehand, anyway.
How Long Will Cranberry Sauce Keep?
This homemade cranberry sauce should keep well in the fridge for up to 7 days, when stored in an airtight container. Make sure you always use a clean, dry utensil for serving, to avoid introducing any excess moisture into the jar.
You can also freeze it! If you want to make it in advance, you can freeze it in your favorite glass storage jar for up to 3 months. To thaw, place it in the fridge and let it thaw the night before you plan on serving it.
How to Sweeten Cranberry Sauce: Alternative Sweeteners
If you don’t have maple syrup on hand, you can swap it for honey instead. Or, you can use 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I like coconut sugar) with 3/4 cup of orange juice instead of the ratios listed in the recipe below.
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
- 12 oz. fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup orange juice (You can add a little orange zest, if you like, too!)
- 1/2 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!
Cranberry Sauce Nutrition (per 1/4 cup): Calories: 105, Fat: 0g, Carbohydrates: 26g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 1g
- This recipe is easily adapted to use what you have on hand, as long as you start with fresh cranberries. I’ve used the juice of half a lemon, to replace the OJ, with good results.
- If you want to try using another sweetener, please read the notes above the recipe card for swapping honey or a granulated sugar.
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too! We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: Are you a fan of cranberry sauce? Did you grow up with homemade or canned versions?