Easy Cranberry Sauce Recipe

This popular Thanksgiving dinner side dish is both sweet and tart, made with fresh cranberries and the juice and zest from an orange. An easy cranberry sauce recipe perfect for the holiday season.

A wood surface with two white bowls filled with homemade cranberry sauce with sliced oranges and fresh cranberries in the background.

Cranberry sauce is the classic holiday condiment that we all can’t get enough of. I know I can. I enjoy it in all forms. Believe it or not, this cooker and foodie even loves it all jiggly straight out of the can. Although, I must say that’s the last resort. What I much prefer is making my own. There’s nothing better than a rustic, delicious cranberry sauce to really make the holidays pop. And with a recipe this simple, it’s as easy as it is delicious.

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This cranberry sauce has two things going for it – it’s easy and it’s homemade. It is 100% made from scratch with minimal ingredients and minimal effort. But the flavor… Oh, the flavor is absolutely the max. Fresh cranberries and citrus are such a delicious combination and this sauce is ready in a flash and has all the classic flavors of the holidays.

This classic, rustic cranberry sauce is perfect with stuffing or dressing or draped over ham, turkey, or even beef. It’s the one holiday food that goes with absolutely everything. It’s basically the little black dress of the holiday table, and you need it on yours.

A wood surface with three white bowls, 2 filled with homemade cranberry sauce and one filled with fresh cranberries.

The Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe

If you ask me you’ve found the perfect recipe right here. There are so many variations on homemade cranberry sauce. They’re all good, but a lot of them have so many ingredients! There’s so much chopping involved. There’s so much effort. I love cooking, but when the holidays roll around, I’m all about relaxation not flexing my kitchen muscles. This is the perfect recipe because it’s loaded with flavor without a lot of ingredients or effort. It’s pure and simple – just like the holidays should be.

A super close up photo of a white bowl with homemade cranberry sauce in it.


Before you jump into making this cranberry sauce, take a moment to read the FAQ below. It covers all the important points regarding the recipe, so you’ll want to give it a read.

Is Cranberry Sauce Supposed to Be Hot or Cold?

Both! The beauty is that it’s delicious hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold. It’s all personal preference.

Can Cranberry Sauce be Made in Advance?

Absolutely. You can make it a few days in advance because it lasts for so long.

Does Cranberry Sauce Freeze Well?

Yes, it does. You can freeze it up to two months to maintain maximum flavor. It can actually be frozen for a year at least, but it won’t taste as good.

How Do You Get the Bitterness Out of Cranberry Sauce?

The key to sweet cranberry sauce is to combine the sugar and water first to create a simple syrup. This ensures that the sugar is thoroughly dissolved, which leads to a sauce that is sweet and tart rather than bitter.

How Long Does Homemade Cranberry Sauce Last?

Homemade cranberry sauce will last between 10 and 14 days when properly stored. Place in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator.

A close up photo of a spoonful of homemade cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

It only takes a handful of simple ingredients. There’s nothing fancy here, just sweet delicious flavor.

  • Fresh cranberries
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Orange peel
  • Sugar
  • Water

How to Make Cranberry Sauce

Making this delicious side dish recipe is just as easy as gathering the ingredients. It only takes a few minutes to make this simple, delicious holiday classic. You’ll be done in no time flat!

Step 1 – Create the Simple Syrup

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the water, sugar, orange juice, and orange zest, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Step 2 – Add the Cranberries and Cook

Add the cranberries to the simple syrup, and stir. Then, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cranberries will burst as they cook.

Step 3 – Enjoy

Remove the sauce from the heat and let cool. Pour into a serving bowl and serve hot, warm, room temperature, or cold.

Try This Delicious Easy Recipe Today

This easy homemade cranberry sauce is so simple and so delicious. In just under half an hour, you’ll have a sweet and tart, rustic, classic side dish that can be used with or on just about anything! It even keeps well for upwards of two weeks, so you can have it with your leftovers if you make a double batch. Give this one a try, and I know you’ll love it added to those leftover turkey sandwiches.

A three photo collage of homemade cranberry sauce in two white bowls.

Looking for More Cranberry Recipes?

More Thanksgiving Side Dishes

And, here is a delicious Instant Pot Mashed Potato recipe, from Deliciously Seasoned, you might enjoy too!

Easy Cranberry Sauce

Great Grub, Delicious Treats

There’s nothing better than a rustic, delicious, homemade cranberry sauce to really make the holidays pop. And with a recipe this simple, it’s as easy as it is delicious.

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 25 mins

Course Appetizer, Dinner, Side Dish

Cuisine American

Servings 6 Servings

Calories 129 kcal


  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Zest from one orange


  • In a medium pan, heat water, sugar, orange juice and orange zest over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries, stir.

  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Cranberries will burst as they cook.

  • After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let cool.


Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 129kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 76mgFiber: 3gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 62IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg

Keyword Cranberries, Cranberry, Cranberry Sauce, Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Here are a few pics that are enlarged and a good size to pin to Pinterest.

A close up of a spoonful of cranberry sauce being held over a white bowl with a serving of cranberry sauce.
A close up of a white bowl filled with homemade cranberry sauce.

Enjoy, Terri

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