Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce is a must-have for your holiday feasts. It’s simple, yet it adds that extra pop of flavor to your favorite dishes. Tangy and sweet, this cranberry sauce recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time you’re craving a burst of flavor.



Cranberries and two Cinnamon sticks in a pot with water to make easy homemade cranberry sauce


This recipe is different from what you find in a can. This is nothing like the jelly-type cranberries you get in a can that contains high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. (In Canada we don’t have high-fructose corn syrup, but there is a lot of sugar in canned cranberry sauce)

Fresh Ingredients for Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

The ingredients for this simple cranberry sauce recipe are easy to find.

  • Fresh cranberries. These can be found in the produce section of grocery stores.
  • An orange. The juice and zest of the orange is used in this sauce.
  • White sugar. Without sugar, this sauce would be too tart to eat. The sugar balances out the tartness of the cranberries.
  • Cinnamon sticks. The whole stick is used to give flavour to the cranberry sauce. They are discarded after cooking.
  • Water. Everything is boiled in the water to create the sauce.

Substitutions For The Ingredients In this Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Some recipes for cranberry sauce call for the cranberries to be boiled or cooked in orange juice without using any water. From my experience, using only orange juice takes away a lot of the cranberry flavour. If you prefer to have a sauce that tastes more like cranberry and orange, the water can be cut in half, and use orange juice in place of half the water.

Fresh oranges can be replaced with orange juice. You will be missing the orange zest if you use juice but add an extra tablespoon or two of juice in place of an equal amount of water instead. This will balance out the flavour of the sauce.

If you want a less sweet version of this recipe, the sugar can be reduced to ¾ cup or even ½ cup. When reducing the sugar, start with ½ cup and taste after 5 minutes of cooking, add more sugar if necessary.

Cinnamon sticks can be replaced with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

Serving Cranberry Sauce

This sauce can be served at room temperature or cold out of the fridge. Serve it as a condiment with turkey dinner.

Most people like to eat cranberry sauce with turkey. But there are other ways to serve this condiment.

  • Cranberry sauce and leftover turkey make a delicious sandwich.
  • Pair with brie for an updated version of a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • This sauce is great to swirl into muffin batter.
  • Top waffles and pancakes
  • As a spread on toasted English muffins
  • Stir into yogurt with slivered almonds

How To Store Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Store leftover sauce in mason jars in the fridge for up to 14 days.

This recipe can be made and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.

Can Cranberry Sauce Be Made Ahead?

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days before serving. Store it in a mason jar or any type of air-tight container. It can be stored longer but the flavour is freshest when used within 2 days of making it.

I prefer to make it the morning of Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner because it only takes minutes to put together and then you have all day to let it set in the fridge while the rest of the meal is cooking. It also creates an amazing smell that lingers in the kitchen.


Cranberries and Cinnamon sticks

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  • Place all ingredients in a medium sized saucepan
  • Bring to a boil over high heat
  • Boil for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are softened. (You will hear cranberries popping as they soften and crack open)
  • Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Remove cinnamon sticks and discard.
  • Pour into serving dish, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.


  1. 5 stars
    This looks perfect! I love that Canadian Thanksgiving is usually before the US Thanksgiving so we can copy all of your delicious recipes! This will be on our table this year!

  2. 5 stars
    For the longest time I thought cranberry sauce only came in a can, and didn’t care for it. It’s not until I made my own, that I fell in love with it, during the holidays. My recipe is similar to this one and it is SO delicious!

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