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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!
4.67 from 3 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 344kcal
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
Recipe Rating

Sara Marruffo-Blodget

Tuesday 21st of November 2017

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.

Rachel Ballard

Wednesday 22nd of November 2017

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

Amy Griffin

Friday 10th of February 2017

Looks so much better than a can!

Rachel Ballard

Saturday 21st of January 2017


Erin @ The Speckled Palate

Thursday 19th of November 2015

We ADORE homemade cranberry sauce at our home, and I'm glad you've finally hopped on the bandwagon. It's utterly delicious AND so easy to make!

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