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  • Writer's pictureMyranda

Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

This makes a delicious side on its own or use it as a spread for your rolls or biscuits!

Yield: about 1 quart (2-4 Tbsp serving)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20-40 minutes


1 bag fresh cranberries (12-16oz)

1 medium or large orange

Cinnamon stick(s)

1 cup water (as needed)

Your choice of sweetener (honey, sugar, maple syrup), if desired


1 In a medium pot, empty bag of cranberries, add zest and juice of the orange into the pot, add as many cinnamon sticks as you would like and enough water to come to the top of the berries.

2 Heat slowly over medium low heat and stir occasionally. The mixture will simmer but don’t boil. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your berries and the quantity you're making.

3 When berries are soft and start to split, use a spoon or rubber spatula to press the berries until they break. Make as chunky or as smooth as you like.

4 Add your sweetener of choice a little at a time. Cranberries can be very tart so you’ll want to sweeten it to your liking.

5 When your sauce reaches your desired consistency, remove from heat and transfer to a heat proof storage container. It will thicken more as it cools. It is your choice to remove cinnamon sticks now or leave in (and remove before serving).

6 This can be served warm, room temperature, or chilled. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.


I used a 12oz bag of fresh cranberries that I put in the freezer months ago. That took a little longer for them to cook. If you use frozen, make sure they are IQF (individually quick frozen) cranberries. That means the only ingredient listed is whole cranberries and they were frozen before bagged.

To get the most juice out of your orange, roll/press the orange to loosen up the juices. This can be done before or after you zest it. If you don’t want to use the zest but still want that orange flavor, you can peel the orange with a peeler and make sure there isn’t any white pith on the peel and add the chunks in to simmer. These can be taken out once it’s done.

I like to use honey as my main sweetener but these were so tart that I did add about 2 tablespoons of sugar after I added honey. The honey got me almost there and the little bit of sugar just rounded out the taste for me.

If you like a smooth jelly instead of a chunky sauce, once you get to step 5 you’ll remove the cinnamon sticks and put the sauce into a blender. Blend until smooth and pour through a sieve into your storage container. As it sets, it will become more jelly like and no need to add gelatin.

If you make this in advance and want to freeze it, I would suggest leaving it chunky regardless if you want a chunky or jelly like sauce. Freezing and thawing always has the risk of changing the texture. When putting your sauce in a freezer safe container, allow to completely cool to room temperature first, cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the sauce, and then place the lid on securely. This will keep the sauce from developing crystals if the lid doesn't make direct contact. When ready to use, allow to thaw in the refrigerator completely before warming or blending. If you are blending from frozen, heat the sauce up just until hot and then blend. No need to simmer again.

If you make this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts! Please let me know in the comments what you think. If you share it on social media, please tag me @Myranda.McCaffreyNowak on FB, IG and TikTok!

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