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Holiday Cooking | November 21, 2019

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce is like pie without ice cream! You will never find a dish that is easier to make than Fresh Cranberry Sauce. It consists of boiling water, adding sugar and cranberries…that’s it!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cranberry sauce? Congealed stuff, giggling when you force it out of the can in one long, thick clump. The ridges of the can imprinted on its sides…oh my. That’s my childhood memory of cranberry sauce. Even in the congealed state, it was still one of my favorite Thanksgiving dinner items. I’m huge on sweet and salty together, and cranberry sauce is an essential holiday menu item in my book. If you haven’t tried to make cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries, you are about to be pleasantly surprised.  I love to make a few  variations of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner.  A couple of my favorites are  Apple Spice Cranberry Sauce and  Fresh Cranberry, Orange and Dried Cherry Sauce.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Do you want to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner this year, but don’t have time to make anything time consuming? Call up the host and volunteer to make Fresh Cranberry Sauce. If you have a pan, sugar, fresh cranberries and a few minutes, you can do this.  One tip, make sure to use a pan that holds at least 2 quarts. The mixture will boil and bubble up a bit. If you use a pan that is too small,  you’ll end up with a big mess on the stove.  It takes 15 minutes start to finish to make Fresh Cranberry Sauce.  I’m huge on make-ahead at holiday time, and this dish is the perfect make ahead dish!

Make a batch (or two) of Fresh Cranberry Sauce this weekend, and store it until Thanksgiving Day.  I always double this recipe!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce
5 from 5 votes

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Author Si Foster, A Bountiful Kitchen


  • 1/2 cup orange juice*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar- depending on how sweet or tart you like your sauce
  • 1 – 12 oz bag fresh cranberries washed and remove any shriveled berries


  1. Bring orange juice, water and sugar to boil in a large sauce pan.
  2. Add cranberries, cook until berries begin to pop and the skins burst.
  3. Lower heat and cook until sauce begins to thicken a bit, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. When cooled, spoon into a bowl or mason jar, and store in refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

-This sauce may be made with all orange juice or all water, or half of each.


16 thoughts on “Fresh Cranberry Sauce

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time last year and it was delicious!!! So easy! Making it again this week! Thanks for the great recipies. ????

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is super easy and so delicious. And the kids love helping with it too. I usually use a masher to get the consistency I like.

  3. 5 stars
    Did this recipe used to call for pineapple juice? I made your cranberry sauce last year and it was amazing. I can’t remember if I used pineapple juice or orange juice then. Thanks

    1. Hi Brittany, I usually use orange juice, but you can certainly try using pineapple juice. Thanks for asking!

  4. 5 stars
    I have always love cranberry sauce but I think the reason I loved this so much, is because of the orange juice. You have to use it! It’s adds such an amazing flavor to it. It’s a must do.

  5. Do you serve this chilled and straight out of the refrigerator or let it set out at room temperature first? Thanks…love your site!

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      Yes! make as directed and spoon into a freezer safe container (canning jar or other container) top with lid. Freeze. Let thaw in fridge for a day before serving. Stir and place in serving bowl. Tastes as good as fresh!

  6. 5 stars
    The only cranberry sauce I have on holidays anymore. It’s too easy to make ahead and tastes sooo much better than canned that it’s a must! Love this recipe!