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Cranberry Sauce is so easy to make with just 3 ingredients. It is tangy, sweet and perfect for your holiday meal. Try it today for an easy side dish.

cranberry sauce in a bowl.
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This is a must try and super easy. Cranberry sauce is one of those dishes that is a must for Thanksgiving or anytime you have turkey and stuffing. They just go hand in hand to me.

If you love this recipe, check out Easy Crockpot Cranberry Sauce Recipe, Fresh Cranberry Relish Recipe or Cranberry Jello Salad.

Why You Will Love this Recipe:

This cranberry sauce is a classic recipe that is full of flavor. We love to serve with our holiday dinner and great with leftover turkey sandwiches.

You will love the tartness from the cranberries and how easy this recipe is to make.


ingredients for recipe: cranberries, sugar, orange juice.
  • Fresh Cranberries:
  • White Sugar
  • Orange Juice
  • Water

For the full list of ingredients and recipe, scroll to the bottom of the post to see recipe card.

Variation Ideas:

  • If you do not like fresh orange juice: Substitute pomegranate juice instead. It will provide a similar taste to the recipe without using citrus.
  • Add orange Zest: Add a little bit of orange zest from an orange peel before you cook it to bump up the citrus flavor.
  • Maple Syrup: Cut the sugar in half and then add in pure maple syrup to a slightly different flavor. You can also substitute with honey instead of maple syrup.
  • Fresh or Frozen Cranberries: We have made this recipe with fresh or frozen and it works great.
  • Spices – Feel free to add in additional spices for added flavor. We have added in allspice, pinch of salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Step by Step Instructions:

  • Step 1 – First, add cranberries and the other ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir everything to combine it really well.
sauce pan with ingredients ready to be cooked.
  • Step 2 – Next, heat the saucepan over medium heat. Continue heating it until the cranberry mixture is simmering.
Cranberry sauce in a sauce pan.
  • Step 3 – Finally, let this continue to simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally. You want most of the cranberries to have popped and the everything starts to thicken. Do not cook on high heat or to boil. If you are not careful, it could burn.
  • Step 4 – last step is to take the pan off the heat and let it cool completely for 30 to 45 minutes. You want to allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Step 5 – Then put in the fridge covered until you are ready to serve.

Recipe Tips:

  • Keep the full sugar: I don’t recommend reducing the amount of sugar. The ½ cup sugar helps the sauce to thicken so you really need to use all of it.
  • Cinnamon Stick: You may like the flavor of a cinnamon stick in your cranberry sauce. Stir with a cinnamon stick while the sauce is cooking.
  • Cooking the Sauce – Be careful not to overcook this. It continues to thicken as it cools.
Sauce pan with cranberry sauce in it.

Serving ideas:

Cranberry sauce is traditionally served around Thanksgiving or Christmas.

How to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce:

  • Appetizer or snack idea: Get a block of cream cheese and pour cranberry sauce over it. If you like nuts, sprinkle a handful of walnuts or pecans on top. This is so good served with crackers. This turns out similar to a cranberry relish.
  • Sandwiches- Try Turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce. We also like to make sliders for the kids.
  • Yogurt: Yes, top your favorite yogurt with leftover sauce and some granola. It is a delicious combination.
  • Breakfast: Top your pancakes and waffles with leftover cranberry sauce. It is a great substitution for maple syrup or combined with maple syrup.
  • Top Oatmeal – Homemade cranberry sauce is also delicious stirred into a hot bowl of oatmeal.
  • More Leftover Ideas – Top it on an English muffin or a toast. Skip the jelly and try leftover cranberry sauce instead. See Leftover Cranberry Sauce Recipes.
cranberry sauce in a bowl

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

Yes, you actually can freeze cranberry sauce. Freezing homemade cranberry sauce recipe is a great way to enjoy it later. Check out our Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce post.

Can you Freeze Cranberries?

Cranberries can be stored in the freezer up to 2 months. Just make sure to use a freezer container with lid. We like to stock up on fresh cranberries’ when we start seeing them in the store. Cranberries are good for other uses throughout the year, such as adding them to your favorite smoothie recipe.

How to Store Leftovers:

Store the leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to 3 days.

Can I Make Ahead of Time?

This easy recipe is great to make in advance. You can easily make up to 3 days prior to serve and store in the refrigerator.

More Holiday Side Dish Recipes:

Try These Cranberry Recipes

If you make this Cranberry Sauce, make sure to leave us a comment. We love hearing from you.

Cranberry sauce

5 from 11 votes
Cranberry sauce is so easy to make with just 3 ingredients. It is tangy, sweet and perfect for your holiday meal.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cool 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Cuisine American
Course Side Dish
Calories 100


  • 12 oz Fresh Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup Water
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  • Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan and stir to combine.
  • Heat over medium high heat until the mixture is simmering.
  • Continue to cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes until all or most of the cranberries have popped and the sauce has slightly thickened.
  • Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for 30-45 minutes. Refrigerate covered until you are ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 100kcal, Carbohydrates 26g, Protein 1g, Fat 1g, Saturated Fat 1g, Sodium 2mg, Potassium 90mg, Fiber 3g, Sugar 21g, Vitamin A 75IU, Vitamin C 18mg, Calcium 8mg, Iron 1mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

5 from 11 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. sharon sivori says:

    5 stars
    I have made your recipe for cranberry sauce for awhile now, I add orange and lemon zest to it, that is my different approach. As to little smokies, I wrap them in a pretzel dough (made from scratch) and serve them as appetizers with cheese balls, cut up cheeses, and crackers and vegetables (fresh) cut up with fresh dips. Sometimes fresh cooked and cleaned shrimp. Love your recipes keep it up!!

  2. Carrie Barnard says:

    It makes 6 servings

  3. Joan says:

    5 stars
    How many servings does this make

  4. Carrie Barnard says:

    Yes, I think this recipe would work great with Splenda instead of sugar.

  5. Dot says:

    Hi, Can this cranberry recipe be made with Splenda instead of sugar? Thanks, I’m diabetic and looking for ways to make regular recipes compatible with my issues so I can enjoy good food as well.