The best cranberry sauce recipe is made by simmering cranberries with the juice and zest of an orange and then sweetened with honey. It is the perfect side dish for your holiday meal and will become a tradition you will want to make every single year.
This simple recipe is so good, and so easy. It’s perfect for family gatherings, or just to enjoy while this delicious, under-utilized berry is in season.
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I get asked to bring this dish every year to our family gatherings. Basically, I am known for it at this point.
Personally, I love this dish – so much so that when I make it, I double or even triple the recipe so we can keep some at home. Really, it’s that good.
Also, my dad is one of 14 kids, so we go to a lot of holiday festivities, and I have to make sure to have enough cranberry sauce to go around, plus enough to bring home. Plus, can you really have a thanksgiving feast without this tasty side dish? It really adds to the flavor of the whole meal.
Not only is it tasty over turkey, but it’s delicious on its own, or you can have it over yogurt or as a jam on sourdough biscuits. Once you taste it, you’ll be dreaming up ways to have more of it in your life.
The fresh orange compliments the cranberries so well, and gives it an extra tart flavor.
Who says this needs to be eaten only on Thanksgiving? We will eat this delicious cranberry sauce recipe all fall long while fresh cranberries are in season.
Tips For Making The Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe:
- Use organic oranges since you are using the peel. If you’re not using organic, make sure to wash them really well.
- If you do not have apple cider, or you don’t want to use it, you could just use the juice of an orange to provide the sweetness you need.
- The orange juice is not optional because it pairs so nicely with the tart cranberries.
- You can easily double or triple this recipe and freeze leftovers for later.
- Store in the fridge for 3-4 days and freeze up to 3 months.
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Tools you will need:
Pot or dutch oven
Microplane or zester.
How To Make The Best Cranberry Sauce
- Add 12 oz cranberries in a medium stockpot.
- Zest an orange right into the pot. Just get the orange peel and not any of the white part (called the pith), as it can be bitter.
- Slice the orange in half and squeeze the juice into the pot.
- Add 1/2 cup of apple cider and 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (choose maple syrup if you want this recipe to be vegan).
- Bring to a simmer. Allow the mixture to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries start popping open and the sauce begins to thicken.
- Take off heat, cool, and serve.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce FAQ
What is cranberry sauce used for?
It is a condiment that pairs well with turkey. The tartness and sweetness of the dish pairs well with the savory, salty turkey during holiday meals.
Don’t let the holidays be the only time you enjoy this side dish! It is really yummy over yogurt, used as a jam with cornbread, or served with chicken and green beans. Your imagination is the limit.
Can homemade cranberry sauce be frozen?
Yes. If for some odd reason you have any leftovers, you can easily place this in an airtight, freezer-safe container or freezer bag, and freeze. Be sure to use it within 2-3 months.
To use: pull it out of the freezer the night before you intend to use it and place it in the fridge to thaw. Place it into a saucepan and heat over low to medium heat until bubbling.
How many cups is a 12 oz bag of cranberries?
A 12 oz bag equals about 3 cups of fresh cranberries.
Is cranberry sauce supposed to be hot or cold?
Either. Serve it warm, room temperature, or chilled. All options are delicious. It is really based on preference.
What can I add to cranberry sauce?
If you want to make this dish extra fancy, you can add fresh pineapple, grapes, orange slices, chunks of apple, pecans, or walnuts.
Is this recipe vegan?
It would be considered vegan if you use maple syrup rather than honey, since honey comes from bees.
What is the difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry relish?
Cranberry relish is a fresh and tart condiment made from raw cranberries blended together. Cranberry sauce, on the other hand, is cooked and tends to be much sweeter than relish.
Find more delicious recipes perfect for the holidays straight from our farmhouse kitchen:
- Sourdough Pumpkin Cobbler Recipe
- Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Topping
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Acorn Squash
- Rustic Granola Cookies
- Best Deviled Eggs Recipe
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe Card
If you try this recipe and love it, I would love if you gave it 5 stars! Thank you!
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup
- ½ cup apple cider
- Zest and juice of 1 medium orange
- Add cranberries in a medium stockpot.
- Zest an orange right into the pot.
- Slice an orange in half and squeeze the juice into the pot.
- Add apple cider and honey or maple syrup.
- Bring to a simmer. Allow the mixture to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries start popping open. About 10 minutes or so.
- Take off heat, and allow to cool a bit. It will thicken as it cools.
Store leftover sauce in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.
If you do not have apple cider, or you don't want to use it, you could just use the juice of an orange to provide the sweetness you need.
The orange juice is not optional because it pairs so nicely with the tart cranberries.
You can easily double or triple this recipe and freeze leftovers for later.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 21mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 27gProtein: 0g