This Cranberry Sauce recipe is an easy holiday classic! Ready in minutes, this homemade cranberry sauce has only four ingredients and is perfect with turkey and more! 

Cranberry Sauce in glass bowl

Cranberry Sauce is one of the most simple, easy dishes I make on Thanksgiving, yet it always makes such a big impression! Everyone loves this holiday classic and it’s a delicious must with turkey!

This homemade cranberry sauce recipe is made from scratch with just four ingredients and is ready in just 15 minutes! It’s also a perfect dish to make ahead too. Since it’s so simple to make and absolutely delicious, this is one recipe that you’ll turn to time after time!

Cranberry Sauce

Fresh whole cranberries, fresh orange juice, and sugar on wooden board

How to Make Cranberry Sauce

For this homemade cranberry sauce, I use only four ingredients:

  • cranberries – use a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, which is equal to about 3 cups
  • fresh orange juice – as well as the zest of the same orange
  • sugar – I use granulated sugar, but you can substitute with another sweetener that you prefer.
  • water

First, I pour my orange juice, water, and the sugar into a medium saucepan set over medium heat, give it a quick stir and then let it all come to a boil.

Adding fresh cranberries to saucepan of boiling orange juice, water and sugar. // addapinch.com

Then, I add in my fresh cranberries and let it all cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

You’ll notice the cranberries will begin to pop as they cook. I just love the popping sound – and it always seems to make my family come through the kitchen to check out the pops too!

Classic Cranberry Sauce Cooking in Saucepan - Cranberries pop open as ingredients boil. // addapinch.com

Be sure to watch your saucepan especially during this step to make sure that it doesn’t bubble over onto your cooktop.

Classic Cranberry Sauce - Testing consistency and thickness of cooked Cranberry Sauce with a wooden spoon. // addapinch.com

How to Know When It’s Done

I’ve found that eight minutes always works just fine when I make my cranberry sauce, but if you prefer yours just a bit thicker, cooking it another minute or two will do the trick. Just remember that it will thicken as it cools.

The method I use to test the consistency of my cranberry sauce uses my wooden spoon. I spoon a bit onto a wooden spoon and then seeing how thick it is when I pour it back into the saucepan.

Classic Cranberry Sauce - Metal grater with orange zest over saucepan of cranberry sauce. // addapinch.com

Once it has reached the desired consistency, I turn off the heat and stir in most of the fresh orange zest. This is optional, but I can’t recommend it enough!

Classic Cranberry Sauce in glass jar with spoon adding fresh orange zest // addapinch.com

Save just a little bit of orange zest to top the cranberry sauce for serving. Pretty and scrumptious!

What Does Cranberry Sauce Go With?

It is such a family favorite side dish for Thanksgiving and other holidays and is delicious with turkey and dressing, Mashed Potatoes and more! This cranberry sauce is so simple to make that you may even decide to make it year round. Honestly, why save it  just for the holidays?! It not only tastes amazing on slices of leftover turkey in turkey wraps when Thanksgiving is over, but is scrumptious on top of buttermilk pancakes too!

Make Ahead Instructions

Even though my cranberry sauce recipe comes together in a jiffy, we all know that holidays can be busy! To make your day even easier, you can absolutely make this cranberry sauce ahead of time!

To make ahead, simply follow the recipe instructions and set aside to cool completely.

To Refrigerate: Then, you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

To Freeze:  Again follow the recipe instructions, let cool completely, and place in freezer safe containers. It will store in the freezer for up to a month.

If frozen, you can thaw in the refrigerator overnight. You can serve it cold or reheat and serve if you prefer it warm. So easy!

This cranberry sauce certainly tantalizes your taste buds when you serve it along with the Roast Turkey or Roast Turkey Breastsouthern cornbread dressing, turkey gravy or giblet gravy. It’s a definite must at our family Thanksgiving meal and other times throughout the year!

Classic Cranberry Sauce in bowl with spoon.  // addapinch.com

More Thanksgiving and Holiday Favorites:

Sweet Potato Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pie

If you are planning ahead for your Thanksgiving meal, I’ve made it easier for you with my Make Ahead Thanksgiving meal plan and more!

Here’s my Classic Cranberry Sauce recipe. You will love how easy it is to make from scratch and definitely want to add this to your holiday menu!

Classic Cranberry Sauce Recipe - This cranberry sauce recipe is a classic holiday recipe. Made of fresh cranberries, orange zest and juice, this cranberry sauce recipe is a must make! // addapinch.com

Classic Cranberry Sauce

Classic Cranberry Sauce recipe perfect for serving throughout the holidays. This cranberry sauce recipe is a holiday classic! Made with just four fresh ingredients and ready in minutes, this homemade cranberry sauce is a must make!
5 from 4 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries, washed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • orange zest optional

Instructions

  • Bring orange juice, sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.
  • Add cranberries and cook over low-medium heat until they begin to pop and thickened to desired consistency, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, add orange zest and stir until just combined.
  • Top with additional orange zest for serving, if desired.

Notes

Make Ahead Instructions:
To make ahead, simply follow the recipe instructions and set aside to cool completely. Then, you can either store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to a month. If frozen, you can thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then serve cold or reheat and serve if you prefer your cranberry sauce warmed.
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

Classic Cranberry Sauce Recipe - This cranberry sauce recipe is a classic holiday recipe. Made of fresh cranberries, orange zest and juice, this cranberry sauce recipe is a must make! // addapinch.com

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2010.

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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33 Comments Leave a comment or review

    1. Celeste, this recipe will have enough servings for 8 to 10 people using one 12-ounce bag of cranberries. You would need to make this recipe about 4 times for 40 people.

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