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Fresh cranberry sauce tastes amazing with every other dish on your Thanksgiving table. Make it ahead of time for less stress!

Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without fresh cranberry sauce smothered on your Turkey, Dinner Rolls, and Best Mashed Potatoes.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce in a small white bowl topped with fresh rosemary.

We Love It!

I just love holidays. There’s nothing better than food and family and fresh cranberry sauce is a staple. Here’s why we love it:

  • Quick. Ready in under 20 minutes!
  • Simple. It requires few ingredients.
  • Easily made ahead. It stores well in the fridge for several days.
  • Flavor. Homemade cranberry sauce tastes so much better than canned sauce!
Cranberries being cooked in a saucepan.

Ingredients

  • fresh cranberries – Wash and remove any old or bruised berries. Let dry. Or use an equal amount of frozen cranberries without needing to thaw them first.
  • 1 orange – Zest first using a zester, the small side of a cheese grater, or a small paring knife. Then juice the orange.
  • sugar
  • brown sugar
  • water
  • cinnamon sticks
  • ground allspice
  • ground nutmeg
Cranberries in a bowl next to two oranges.

How to Make Cranberry Sauce

  1. BERRIES. Combine cranberries, sugar, and water in a medium pot over medium heat.
  2. BOIL. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and mix in the cinnamon stick, allspice, and nutmeg. Simmer for 5-7 minutes (some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole).
  3. COOL. Stir in the orange juice and zest. Cool before serving.
Two leftover turkey sandwiches smothered with cranberry sauce.

Recipe Tips

  • Sauce tartness. The tartness increases the longer the cranberry sauce cooks. Some people love the tangy taste while others don’t. There are a few ways to counteract the tart flavor, but not eliminate it:
    • Add more sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
    • Stir in a pinch of baking soda.
    • Allow it to chill in the fridge for a few days so the flavors meld together more and dampen that tang.
  • Thicken the sauce. It will thicken as it cools. The easiest way to remedy a runny sauce is to allow it to simmer longer before chilling.
    • Or add cornstarch to thicken the sauce: In a separate bowl mix together 1-2 teaspoons of cold water with an equal amount of cornstarch. Once smooth, add it to the simmering sauce.
  • Leftovers. Use it to make leftover Turkey Sandwiches.

Make a Complete Meal

Cranberry orange sauce tastes amazing with pretty much every other Thanksgiving dish out there.

Serve it on the side of your Roast Turkey, Potato Rolls, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Green Bean Casserole.

A saucepan of cranberries in a pot with a wooden spoon.

Storing Info

  • Make ahead of time. Make fresh cranberry sauce up to one week ahead of time and keep it in your fridge in an airtight container. Perfection!!
  • FREEZE. To prevent freezer burn, make sure it is kept in an airtight freezer-safe container. Use it within two months for the best results. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before ready to serve.
Homemade fresh cranberry sauce in a white dish.

For More Thanksgiving Recipes:

5 from 22 votes

Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Fresh cranberry sauce tastes amazing with every other dish on your Thanksgiving table. Make it ahead of time for less stress!
Servings: 8 people
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 7 minutes
Total: 17 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries washed & dried
  • 1 cup sugar
  • cup brown sugar
  • cup water
  • 1 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 orange zested & juices

Instructions 

  • Combine cranberries, sugars, and water in a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
    Reduce to a simmer and mix in the cinnamon stick, allspice, and nutmeg. Simmer for 5-7 minutes (some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole).
  • Stir in the orange juice and zest. Cool before serving.

Video

Notes

Make ahead of time. Make fresh cranberry sauce up to one week ahead of time and keep it in your fridge in an airtight container.
FREEZE. To prevent freezer burn, make sure it is kept in an airtight freezer-safe container. Use it within two months for the best results. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before ready to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 1128kcal, Carbohydrates: 291g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 27mg, Potassium: 334mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 283g, Vitamin A: 295IU, Vitamin C: 69.7mg, Calcium: 148mg, Iron: 0.8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating




21 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love, love, love this recipe. I have made this the last few years. Everyone always asked me for the recipe. Even my daughter, who is a very picky eater, loves this.

  2. 5 stars
    What I love about this cranberry sauce recipe is that it is so quick, simple and super convenient. Plus, it always turned out to be so rich and savory, even the picky kids loved it.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this Cranberry Sauce ahead of time and it was a huge success! It definitely tastes so much better than canned sauce, I’ll always be doing homemade and using this recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    Oh my is all I can say. So good. All the spices really give this Cranberry sauce a kick. My family was raving about it.