Filed Under: Side Dish | Thanksgiving

Cranberry Sauce

Recipe By Tessa Arias
November 14th, 2019
5 from 1 vote
5 from 1 vote

Easy homemade Cranberry Sauce made with fresh cranberries and enhanced with fresh orange. A must-have on any Thanksgiving dinner table! Make a week ahead of time.

Yield: 2 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Oftentimes Cranberry Sauce is an afterthought on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

It certainly was on mine. I don’t think we ever had cranberry sauce made from scratch during the holidays.

I wouldn’t have thought much about it until I watched Samin Nosrat on her Netflix show Salt Fat Acid Heat.

Fresh cranberry sauce in the saucepan

She dedicated an entire episode to the fundamental element of any well balanced table: ACID.

That’s exactly what cranberry sauce provides: acidity and tartness. Which is necessary if you think about all of the rich, salty, and savory food served on this holiday.

Cranberry sauce in a bowl on the table with an orange and a spoon

Cranberry sauce brings to life all of those other dishes. But there’s nothing worse than that bland canned cranberry sauce which maintains the cylindrical shape of the can it came in.

Homemade cranberry sauce made with fresh (or frozen) cranberries is 1,000 times more flavorful. It adds that zing we all want on our plates!!

More Thanksgiving Recipes:

See ALL of my best Thanksgiving recipes here!

5 from 1 vote

How to make
Cranberry Sauce

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Easy homemade Cranberry Sauce made with fresh cranberries and enhanced with fresh orange. A must-have on any Thanksgiving dinner table! Make a week ahead of time.


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest, optional
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries, (about 3 cups)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Bring the water, juice, sugar, and zest to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the cranberries and cinnamon, and simmer until two-thirds of the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 10 to 12 minutes. Taste and season with salt and add more sugar if necessary.
  3. Let cool before serving or storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

If using fresh cranberries, rinse them first. If you don’t have orange juice, use all water. You can also add in 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier or triple sec after cooking.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: thanksgiving

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Laura — November 28, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    My husband has always insisted that we have the cranberry sauce in a can, since that’s what he grew up with. I told him I wanted to try homemade this year too. After one bite, he had to admit that the can stuff was garbage and this one is amazing. The whole family loved it! So simple and delicious. We’ll be making this from now on!

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