This is a simple, classic cranberry sauce recipe than only takes 10 minutes to make. So, why bother with the canned stuff? It's so easy to make delicious cranberry sauce from scratch. I've been making this traditional recipe for many years. You can leave it plain, or include a few of the optional add-ins that I recommend. It's easy to customize this sauce for your personal preferences.
Make ahead convenience! This sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to 4 months. I usuallly make a batch as soon as cranberries hit the grocery stores in October and freeze it to have with our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. It's nice to have one task completed way ahead of time!
Step-by-step photos for making
Step 1: Assemble the ingredients:
- fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over and stemmed; discarding any soft/rotten ones
- orange juice (purchased or freshly squeezed). The juice from 2 oranges is about the right amount. If it's not quite enough, I add water to have a total of 1 cup of liquid. You can also substitute water for all of the orange juice.
OPTIONAL. I add these to mine; but if you prefer a plainer sauce, omit them. (I have some other suggestions for optional additions further down in the post.)
- orange zest
- ground cinnamon
- ground cloves
view on Amazon: microplane for zesting the orange
Step 2: Add all of the ingredients to a medium-size pan, give them a stir, and heat them to a boil. Keep boiling, stirring frequently, for 9-10 minutes; most of the cranberries will pop. If it looks chunkier than you like use the back of a spoon to smash the berries against the side of the pan.
Done! That's all there is to it. Easy, right?
Rustic or smooth? I personally like the rustic appearance and texture of this whole berry sauce. If you prefer a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender to blend it in the pan. Or, transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor and puree it.
The sauce will thicken as it cools, due to the natural pectin in cranberries. In fact, it gels enough that I use it as jam on toast during the fall and winter--yum!
Refrigerate or freeze. Once the sauce has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze it. I put mine in two pint-size mason jars--I refrigerate one and freeze the other.
view on Amazon: wide mouth pint mason jars; white plastic lids for mason jars
Customize the sauce to your personal tastes with these optional additions:
- chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
- more spices--nutmeg, ginger, or pumpkin pie spice mix
- fresh chopped rosemary or thyme
Prefer a fresh, tart, cranberry relish? Check out my recipe for Cranberry Ginger Pear Relish.
Make it a Yummy day!
Classic Cranberry Sauce
Servings: Makes 2-3 cups
- 12 oz. bag (3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over and stemmed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup orange juice (purchased or freshly squeezed); may substitute water
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all ingredients in a medium (3-qt.) saucepan, stir; heat over medium heat until boiling. Continue to boil, stirring frequently, for 9-10 minutes until most of the cranberries have burst. (If chunkier than desired, smash cranberries against the side of the pan with the back of a spoon.)
Sauce will thicken as it cools. Cool to room temperature before putting it in refrigerator for up to 1 week. May be frozen for up to 4 months.
SMOOTH VARIATION: If a smoother sauce is desired, blend with a hand immersion blender, or put sauce in food processor or blender and puree.
*OTHER OPTIONAL ADD-INS:
--1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts (stir in at the end)
--1/2 to 1 cup raisins
--more spices--a pinch of nutmeg, ginger, or pumpkin pie spice mix (View recipe for making your own pumpkin pie spice at: www.theyummylife.com/recipes/24)
--1-2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary or thyme (stir in at the end)
More holiday menu recipes that may interest you:
This classic recipe can be made start-to-finish in 10 minutes, so why buy the canned stuff? Leave it plain, or include a few of the optional add-ins like spices, nuts, or herbs. It's easy to customize this sauce for your individual preferences. It can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen. A must on Christmas and Thanksgiving tables. #CranberrySauce #Thanksgiving #Christmas #Easy #MakeAhead #Freezable #TheYummyLife