Classic Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Make this Classic Homemade Cranberry Sauce using 4 ingredients and a pan in less than 15 minutes! Why buy when you can make this preservative-free, made-to-your-liking holiday staple yourself in a jiffy? You can even make it ahead of time and keep some for months!
We all know your holiday feast will not be complete without a generous serving of this berrylicious, sweet, and tart sauce! It is one of those dishes that instantly draws the eye with its fetching ruby color and makes our mouths water with its sugary and tangy flavor combo! Having a Thanksgiving Turkey without cranberry sauce is a like eating peanut butter sandwich without the jelly, or biscuits without gravy- still good, but not fit for festivities. They are just a match made in culinary heaven! This super easy homemade version will make you forget all about those cranberry jelly in a can for good.
An All-around Holiday Sauce
Aside from enjoying it with turkey, Cranberry Sauce also pairs well with other meats like chicken, pork, or beef. However, this versatile sauce is not only made to be paired with meat, there are several ways to use it. You can spread it on bread, waffles, or pancakes, use it as a pie filling, or serve it on top of yogurt or ice cream. With just a few tweaks, you can use it to make my Bourbon Cranberry Cider Smash to celebrate the holidays with!
What You’ll Need
Making old-fashioned Cranberry Sauce from scratch is super simple using three ingredients, you will wonder why you made do with canned ones before! The best thing about making it yourself is that you can control the sweetness of the sauce and ensure that it has no additives or preservatives too. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cranberries- fall season is when you will see an abundance of fresh cranberries in the market, right in time for the holidays. The best ones are plump and bouncy! However, you can also use frozen cranberries so you can make this any time of the year too. D
- Granulated sugar- since cranberries are tart in nature, you’ll need this to sweeten them up. It will give the sauce a thick, syrupy consistency. You can also use brown sugar for a deeper caramel-like taste. Other options are maple syrup or honey.
- Orange zest – cuts the tartness of the cranberries
- Water- to boil the berries with.
Jazz up your homemade Cranberry sauce with these additions!
- Lemon or orange- if you want to add a bright citrusy flavor to the sauce, you can use both the juice and zest of one lemon or orange.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice- these warm spices will definitely give the cranberry sauce a more festive flavor!
How to Make Classic Homemade Cranberry Sauce
All you need is a saucepan and a few minutes to get this delicious sauce ready! You can easily double the recipe to make enough for the next few months. Pour some into cute jars and tie them with decorative bows and you have a thoughtful gift for your loved ones this holiday season.
- Make the syrup. In a large saucepan combine the granulated sugar and water. Bring to a slight boil and stir to dissolve sugar.
- Add the orange zest & cranberries. Once the sugar has dissolved, add in the orange zest and cranberries then bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat. You will want to boil the cranberries gently uncovered over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the skins of the cranberries start to pop. Stir consistently.
- Serve. Remove the saucepan from the heat and you can either serve the cranberries warm or chilled.
- If you are buying fresh cranberries, select those that are shiny and firm. They should also bounce when dropped on a flat surface.
- Stir the mixture consistently as it cooks to make sure the heat is evenly distributed on the bottom of the pan does not burn.
- The sauce will thicken as it set and cool, so do not overcook it because it will become too heavy and will taste bitter. Remove it from heat once the skin of the berries starts to pop.
- Make the cranberry sauce a few days ahead of time to let the flavor blossom. That is when it tastes best! When ready to serve, bring the cranberry sauce to room temperature and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do you need to remove seeds from cranberries? Cranberry seeds are small and edible, so you do not need to remove them to make this sauce.
- Why is my cranberry sauce too thin and runny? This can be because you added too much liquid to the syrup. You can thicken it by adding cornstarch to the mixture.
- How can I make it less thick? If it is too thick to your liking, you can add a splash of water or juice to thin it out and stir until you have the perfect consistency you are after.
- Can I serve it right away? Yes, you can serve it after it has cooled down a bit. However, I recommend giving it a few days to really enjoy the flavor.
Storing Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Place the sauce in a tightly-lidded jar or container once it has cooled down. Store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. It is also freezable, so you place them n a freeze-friendly dish and keep it frozen for 6 months or more.
Classic Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 1 cup Granulated sugar
- 1 cup Water
- Zest Medium orange (+ squeeze of orange juice if desired)
- 1 lb Fresh or frozen cranberries
- In a large saucepan combine the granulated sugar and water. Bring to a slight boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Next, add in the orange zest and cranberries returning to a boil and then reduce the heat. You will want to boil the cranberries gently uncovered over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minute or until the skins of the cranberries start to pop. Keep stirring until the cranberries have softened and the sauce has thickened.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Taste the cranberries and determine if the tartness is to your liking or if you want a sweeter cranberry sauce add a squeeze of orange juice until desired taste is achieved. Again, it’s completely up to you how tart you want the cranberry sauce to be.
- The cranberry sauce can either be served warm or chilled.
- Pro tip: make the cranberry sauce a few days ahead of time to let the flavor blossom. When ready to serve, bring the cranberry sauce to room temperature and serve!