Cranberry Sauce

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Perfectly tart, sweet, and easy-to-make cranberry sauce! Kick your holidays up a notch this year with this delicious sauce.

If youโ€™re serving this easy sauce for Thanksgiving or Christmas, consider serving it alongside these mashed potatoes, a wild rice saladroasted vegetablesThanksgiving dressing, and/or this watergate salad.

A bowl of homemade cranberry sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is one of my husband’s favorite sauces. (Sadly for him we don’t eat it much outside of Thanksgiving…) But because it’s his favorite, I wanted to create an extra-special recipe for him so he could enjoy it the one time of the year he gets to eat it ๐Ÿ™‚

What I’m sharing today is the best cranberry sauce I’ve had! It’s just the right amount of sweet while still remaining true to the delicious tart profile of cranberries. The texture is perfect and with how easy this sauce is to make, you’ll never want to go back to the cans!

And as it turns out, making this sauce homemade is not as difficult as you’d think.

A bowl of cranberries and a pot ready to receive them: process shots of creating delicious cranberry sauce recipe

How do you make homemade cranberry sauce?

Start by combining white and brown sugar with cranberry and orange juice. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and then stir in the fresh cranberries.

Watching closely and stirring occasionally, the cranberries will begin to become soft, break down, and thicken the sauce (thanks to the natural pectin in cranberries). You can use a spoon to smash some of the cranberries as they become tender. Let stand off the heat and the sauce will continue to thicken!

So now that we know how to make cranberry sauce; how do we make it the very best?… cranberries softening over the stove : homemade cranberry sauce being made

How to make it the BEST

Because let’s be honest, if we’re going through the trouble of making homemade cranberry sauce, it better taste good ๐Ÿ™‚

The majority of recipes combine 1 cup of sugar, a bag of cranberries, and 1 cup of water. To make it the BEST though, we’ll be making some tweaks: reducing the sugar (and switching out some of the white for brown sugar) and replacing the water with cranberry juice and orange juice.

The cranberry juice adds an extra layer of tart cranberry flavor while the orange juice adds an additional layer of flavor and sweetness to create a hint of cranberry orange sauce.

Fresh juices make all the difference! Definitely the “secret” to this sauce!

finished product of cranberry orange sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce ready to serve for the holidays

Serve this sauce alongside:

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Cranberry Sauce

5 from 4 votes
Perfectly tart, sweet, and easy-to-make cranberry sauce! 
Print Recipe

Cranberry Sauce

5 from 4 votes
Perfectly tart, sweet, and easy-to-make cranberry sauce! 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword cranberry sauce, cranberry sauce recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side
Calories 54kcal
Author Chelsea


  • 1/2 cup 100% orange juice
  • 1/2 cup 100% cranberry juice
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark; I like dark best!)


  • Wash and dry the cranberries. Make sure to check the cranberries for any stems or bad cranberries and remove. (Nothing ruins a good sauce like  branches in it!)
  • In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, dissolve both sugars in the orange and cranberry juice. 
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, stir in the cranberries and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and then reduce to a simmer over medium low heat. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 7-12 minutes. (Watch carefully as the sauce can bubble up a bit!) Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole -- you can mash up more cranberries as desired. (If the sauce is thickening too quickly, low the temperature a bit and alternatively if it isn't thickening, increase the temperature a bit)
  • Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken more as it cools. Store for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 54kcal


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Take your holidays to the next level this year with this delicious homemade cranberry sauce recipe. Sure to be an instant family classic! via #cranberry #sauce #recipe #homemade #easy #quick #thanksgiving #christmas #holiday #holidays


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    1. Isn’t it the “secret”?! So good!! You’ll have to try some cranberry juice too! Thanks for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. 5 stars
    Why only make this once a year for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Grab several bags of the fresh berries, wrap them in an additional freezer bag and add the date. You can make this cranberry sauce all year long. Also, you can make some incredible freezer jam using cranberries or with a variety of fruit: berries, apple.

  2. I used to make it with frozen cranberry concentrate, but for some reason no longer find it in the stores near me. Do you use unsweetened or sweetened cranberry juice for your recipe?

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