Simple Cranberry Sauce

With just three basic ingredients, this Simple Cranberry Sauce comes together in practically the same amount of time that it takes you to open the canned version!

With just three basic ingredients, this Simple Cranberry Sauce comes together in practically the same amount of time that it takes you to open the canned version!

Don’t get me wrong: my family loves the canned cranberry sauce.  You know the kind I’m talking about, right?  The jelled kind that jiggles out in a big lump and shows the rimming of the can on the ends?  Growing up, my cousin and I practically ate the entire can of this stuff ourselves–and we still devour one between the two of us every year.

But this simple homemade version?  Might be Is my new favorite Thanksgiving side dish.  Well, at least it will be until I post my updated green bean casserole recipe {stay tuned; it’s phenomenal!}…I’m fickle that way.

I’m not usually one for tart dishes, but a pinch of salt in the simmering liquid brought out the sweetness of the berries, and heightened the overall flavor in this simple sauce.  I also added in some orange zest, because orange and cranberries just seem a natural combination to me, but the zest is purely optional.

If you have frozen berries you’d like to use – you don’t need to defrost them ahead of time.  Just add about 2 minutes of simmering time and you’re good to go!

With just three basic ingredients, this Simple Cranberry Sauce comes together in practically the same amount of time that it takes you to open the canned version!

This simple cranberry sauce took about 10 minutes total to make – and it will stay good in the refrigerator for up to one week.  So do yourself a favor and make sure you save this easy side dish a spot on your Thanksgiving table!

Simple Cranberry Sauce
Serves: makes 2½ cups
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries, washed and picked through
  • zest of 2 oranges, optional
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water, zest and salt to a boil. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the cranberries and return to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened and about two-thirds of the berries have popped open. For me, this was about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Transfer sauce to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
from Cook's Illustrated

XO, Ashley


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  1. it’s always homemade!!!! but no orange…..not an orange fan

  2. That canned stuff can kick the bucket because homemade is the way to go!
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry recently posted..Maple Pecan BiscottiMy Profile

  3. I love homemade cranberry sauce! Love how easy this is!
    Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction recently posted..Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter GlazeMy Profile

  4. Your cranberry sauce looks soooo good!
    Gorgeous photos-great sounding recipe!
    shashi @ recently posted..Marvelous Little Things…My Profile

  5. This sounds so good! I saw another cranberry sauce recipe that I was thinking about but this one looks soooo easy and will definitely be made!
    Sarah @ Miss CandiQuik recently posted..Chocolate Cherry Shortbread CookiesMy Profile

  6. Oh I love Cranberry Sauce! This looks amazing and I love that it’s easy
    Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen recently posted..Show Me Your Plaid Monday’s #43My Profile

  7. We go through so many cans of cranberry sauce I can’t keep them stocked! No more—now I’ll be cooking it! I never knew it was this easy. Thanks so much!

  8. Hi. So excited, going to try tomorrow….. Can I double the recip? And can this be canned as well?

  9. Harriet Fiedler says:

    I always make the fresh cranberry sauce like my mother made it with the fresh cranberries cooked then for every 12 oz package of fresh cranberries I mix in 1/2 can crushed pineapple drained, 1 small can of mandarin oranges drained, 1/2 of a fresh apple chopped up, i small orange cut up, a fourth to half of the orange peel cut into small pieces and chopped walnuts to your liking. I make this the day before by mixing everything and put it in the refrigerator to cool and mix the flavors together. At serving time I set out a bowl of miniature marshmallows with the cranberry sauce and let everyone add them if the want to. The marshmallows help sweeten the tangy flavor and take some of the tartness away. My family loves this recipe and it always disappears quickly along with the rest of the leftovers from the meal.

    • Your recipe sounds fabulous, Harriet! I’m definitely trying your version next time. 😉

      • Harriet Fiedler says:

        I usually make a double portion and will just get an entire bowl full with the marshmallows on top. This will satisfy the sweet tooth cravings and is better than the canned sauce for you.


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