Easy Home Made Cranberry Sauce

by Gina Martin on November 21, 2011

in Arts and Culture

If you make nothing else from scratch for the Thanksgiving table, let it be the cranberry sauce. Home made cranberry sauce is super easy to make, and is so much more delicious than any canned version could ever hope to be.

How to make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries

Even better, you can make it in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze for a few months. Prepping in advance makes life so much less stressful, and makes for an easy bring-along if you’re going to someone else’s house for the holiday.

The basic cranberry sauce recipe is on just about every bag of fresh cranberries out there. I usually double it, and save half for baking into my favorite bar cookie recipe after Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s the original recipe, and my own tweaks are below:

Basic Cranberry Sauce


1 12 oz package fresh cranberries – rinsed, drained, with any icky ones sorted out

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Put water and sugar into heavy bottomed saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the cranberries, stir, and bring to a boil again. Turn down heat to a simmer, and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cooking time is up to you, if you prefer more whole berries than mushed/whole mixture, cook less time. When finished cooking, transfer the sauce to a heatproof bowl, let cool at room temperature and then refrigerate or freeze for later.

Okay, that’s the vanilla version. Now for my own tweaks:

Gina’s Awesome Sauce



Ingredients for home made cranberry sauce
2 (12 oz each) bags fresh cranberries

1 ½ cups sugar (you can go as low as 1 cup if you wish)

1 cup water

1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed if you like, or from a container – just don’t use the calcium enriched or artificially sweetened kind)

Zest of one orange

1-2 cinnamon sticks (if you don’t have cinnamon sticks handy, just substitute ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon)

Add the sugar, water, orange juice, orange zest and cinnamon stick (if you’re using them – if using ground cinnamon add with berries) to a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.

How to make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries and cinnamon
Add berries (and cinnamon powder if you didn’t use cinnamon sticks for the first step), stir, and bring back to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer. Cook for 7-10 minutes, as with the other recipe, to desired berry texture.

IMG 2067making cranberry sauce
Transfer to heatproof bowl, let cool at room temperature and divide to store in fridge or freezer. I use half for the Thanksgiving meal, and the other half for my favorite cookie bar recipe, which I usually make around the time we go cut our Christmas tree.

For both recipe versions, if you do NOT want a whole-berry style sauce, you can simply cook for the full 10 minutes and run the sauce through a strainer. Let cool as directed above, and store.

Check out even more cool versions of cranberry sauce recipes on the always excellent Budget Bytes blog:

Red Wine Cranberry Sauce

Jalapeño Cran-Raspberry Sauce

| lives in Coxsackie NY with her husband, their two children, and an assortment of Rottweilers and cats. Gina has been a homeschooling parent since 2003, and is also proud parent of a Tech Valley High School student. Gina is the creator of ModSchooler, her blog about 21st -century learning and fun, and is a contributor to From Scratch Club writing on food and food policy. As lifelong learners, Gina and her tween and teen kids like to go off the beaten path to explore quirky travel destinations, unusual cuisine, and all things geeky. Email: GinaMartin@AlbanyKid.com, twitter: @GinaMartinBlogs

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