This is our family recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. The sauce is made from just 5 ingredients and ready in 15 minutes. It’s flavored with a few secret ingredients that makes this cranberry sauce the best!
This is Homemade Cranberry Sauce.
I’ve been making this cranberry sauce for as long as I can remember. It’s a recipe that I make every year on Thanksgiving— wondering why I don’t make it more often. This stuff is lip smacking good and there’s never any left after dinner.
Why Is This Cranberry Sauce A Family Favorite?
- Quick & Easy: It only takes 15 minutes on the stove
- Flavorful: Made with fresh orange juice & zest, plus some vanilla
- Texture: It’s thick with whole cranberries throughout
- Make-Ahead: You can make it in advance so there’s less work on Thanksgiving!
Cranberry Sauce Ingredients
- Cranberries: Use fresh or frozen (no need to thaw) cranberries.
- Water: The cranberries cook in the liquid.
- Fresh Orange Juice: You only need 2 Tablespoons, but it adds unbelievable flavor.
- Orange Zest: It takes the sauce up a notch!
- Brown Sugar: You can use granulated sugar, but brown sugar has a ton more flavor (from the molasses.)
- Vanilla Extract: I swear by adding vanilla extract to this recipe. It adds a unique flavor and is a must!
Here’s How To Make Cranberry Sauce
Making homemade cranberry sauce is quite simple and much better than the canned stuff!
- Rinse Cranberries: You will rinse the cranberries and set aside 1/2 cup cranberries to stir in at the end.
- Combine the Ingredients: Into a saucepan, combine the cranberries, water, orange juice, orange zest, brown sugar, and vanilla extract over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Remove From Heat: Remove the cranberries from the heat and stir in the 1/2 cup cranberries. As the cranberry sauce cools it will thicken.
This recipe is part of Turkey Week, the first of an annual tradition where I share 5 new recipes just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Our Family Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- 12 ounce bag cranberries, rinsed
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice (about 1/2 large orange)
- 3 teaspoons orange zest
- 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Rinse the cranberries, set aside about 1/2 cup cranberries. You will stir these in at the end for texture.
- Combine the remaining cranberries, water, orange juice, orange zest, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the mixture comes to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low. While stirring occasionally, continue to cook until liquid has reduce and cranberries have burst and thickened. This takes about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the 1/2 cup cranberries. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. The sauce can be served warm or at room temperature. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the cranberry sauce up to 3 days in advance. Cool completely, cover tightly, then refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room temperature or warm on the stove/in the microwave.
- Cranberries: You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. If using frozen, no need to thaw.
- Brown Sugar: Using 2/3 cup of sugar makes this a moderately sweet cranberry sauce. You can use granulated sugar, but I find that the brown sugar gives it a better flavor.