Classic Cranberry Sauce Recipe – 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!
Cranberry Sauce is one of the quickest, simplest things I make on Thanksgiving and yet it made the biggest impression on my husband the first time I prepared it as a newlywed.
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 and again!
How to Make Cranberry Sauce
To make my cranberry sauce, I just use four ingredients – fresh orange juice (and the zest of the same orange), water, sugar, and fresh cranberries. That’s it. That’s simple enough, right?
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.
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.
Be sure to watch this step to make sure that it doesn’t bubble over onto your cooktop.
I just have to tell you that the sound of the cranberries popping as they are heated brings my son to the kitchen to see what cool things are happening. This cranberry sauce grabs the attention of your taste buds too when you serve it along with the turkey, southern cornbread dressing and giblet gravy
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.
I like to test the consistency of my cranberry sauce by spooning a bit into a wooden spoon and then seeing how thick it is when I pour it back into the saucepan.
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!
I like to save just a little bit for topping my cranberry sauce for serving, too.
It’s so delicious and so simple to make that you may even decide it’s not just for the holidays anymore!
Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce
Now, even though my cranberry sauce recipe comes together in a jiffy, we all know that holidays are hectic! 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.
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.
How easy is that?
Here’s my Classic Cranberry Sauce recipe. You definitely want to add this to your holiday menu!
Classic Cranberry Sauce
- 1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries, washed
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- orange zest optional
- 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.
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.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2010.