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Homemade cranberry sauce

“Mommy? Where does cranberry sauce come from?”

“Well it comes from a can darling.Where else?”

Oh how wrong we’ve been. This fast, amazingly flavorful homemade version takes 15 minutes and will knock your can on its backside.

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homemade cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce takes all of 15 minutes to make. Are you shocked? Because I sure was. My traditional choice for the holidays is a cranberry and orange relish–freshly ground cranberries and oranges  with sugar and that’s it. You don’t even cook it.

All the “regular” cranberry sauce in this house came from a can.

But homemade was amazingly easy, has very few ingredients and the taste is fresher, brighter, and doesn’t taste like the can. This is a whole berry version and I know a lot of you don’t like whole berries, but there’s just not a good way to strain them out here so just suck it up and go with it. Besides, I thought the cranberries in this version were much more tender than the canned kind and you didn’t spend all evening chewing and chewing.

It’s normal for this sauce to make a little foam as it cooks. You can gently lift it off with a spoon if it bothers you, but it’s perfectly fine to leave it there. Won’t hurt a thing. And don’t forget it will thicken more as it cools so if it seems thin, don’t sweat it. It will be fine.

I’m gonna need to stash a few extra bags of cranberries away in my freezer for more sauce later in the winter!

Homemade cranberry sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce takes only 15 minutes, a few ingredients and never tastes like the can!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 1 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries checked for stems and any squishy ones removed
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 slice orange with the rind and all about 1/2 inch thick


  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium sauce pan and place over medium high heat.
  • Stir well, and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat to medium low and boil until thickened; about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the orange slice.
  • Skim any foam from the sauce once it cools.
  • Chill or serve warm.
  • May be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.


Calories: 344kcal
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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  1. 4 stars
    I loved the orange zest and orange slice. I cut the sugar to 1.5 cups, but next time I’ll try 1.33. I ran it through the food mill to remove the skins. We’ll find out later this week whether that was a good idea or not.

    1. Sara it’s going to be AMAZING. So much better than anything from a can. And great idea on the food mill. My family doesn’t mind the skins, but for those who want it smooth, that’s a wonderful idea. Happy Thanksgiving! –Rachel

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.