//The Easiest Cranberry Sauce Recipe

The Easiest Cranberry Sauce Recipe

The Easiest Cranberry Sauce is made from fresh cranberries mixed with orange juice to sweeten the cranberries and topped with an added orange zest for one sweet and tart cranberry sauce. Only takes 15 minutes to make! 

Making Thanksgiving dinner just got more delicious with this cranberry sauce. If you love cranberries like I do try this Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato with Rice Pilaf, Cranberry Cheesecake Fluff or this Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball to have at your thanksgiving dinner table.

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce

The Easiest Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Your holiday dinner just got better with this cranberry sauce.

This is one of my favorite side dishes to make during the holidays.

It is simple, easy and so fresh tasting. You will not want to buy a can again.

You will love how easy, effortless and quick it is to make.

This cranberry sauce recipe will have your family and friends passing it around the table until it is gone.

It is one of our favorite side dishes and makes for a complete meal this holiday season.

What you need to make cranberry sauce

Simple ingredients and easy to make cranberry sauce that tastes amazing.

So delicious and good! You can’t go wrong with this fresh tasting cranberry sauce.

It is a tried and true favorite in our home.

Enjoy this cranberry sauce next to all your other delicious side dishes this holiday season.

  • Bag of fresh cranberries: fresh cranberries are best but you can use frozen if needed.
  • Sugar: sweetens the cranberries.
  • Orange Juice: sweetener and brings out a more flavorful taste.
  • Water: adds to the sauce with and aids in popping cranberries.
  • Zest from one orange: brightens and adds a hint of sweet orange.

Cranberries having sugar poured over them

Cranberries having sugar poured over them

How do you make cranberry sauce

This cranberry sauce recipe is so simple to make and doesn’t last long.

I love to make this cranberry sauce with all my Juicy Butter Herb Turkey Recipe (Step by Step Directions) or Slow Cooker Turkey Breast.

It is simple to make and adds so much color and zest to all your holiday dishes.

  • Cook ingredients together: In a saucepan add the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, water and orange zest. Over medium low heat cook the cranberries until the sugar has dissolved and the cranberries start to soften.
  • Cooking until cranberries burst: Increase the heat to medium and continue to stir and cook for another 5-6 minutes until the cranberries burst. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Cranberries in a pan with sugar and adding orange zest overtop

Cranberries in a pan with sugar and adding orange zest overtop

How to zest an orange

Orange zest is one of my favorite ways to add zest and a hint of orange zing to any dish that I am making.

The color is bright and it just pops!

To zest an orange you will want to use a grater with fine teeth or microplane. A vegetable peeler will also work well too.

With a grater, simply run the rough, outside surface of the orange against it and you will then see the orange peel fall.

Move your orange around to get the brightest orange skin that you can.

You will want to make sure you do not grate past the white layer under the orange. It tends to become bitter at that point.

If you are using a vegetable peeler, cut off the outside orange layer and peel from your fingers. Be careful not getting too close to your fingers.

Cranberry sauce variations

This easy cranberry sauce is easy and so delicious to make.

I love a variety of cranberry sauces. It adds so much for to your holiday dinner.

If you love to add in more flavoring and extras to make it your own here are a few ways to do so.

  • Fruit: diced apple or apple sauce, cherries, crushed pineapple or diced pear.
  • Juice: ginger ale, apple juice or cranberry juice is alway a great add in.
  • Nuts: pecans, walnuts or cashews are a great crunch to have.
  • Seasonings or spices: add a pinch of ginger, cinnamon or nutmeg are fun to add in for warmth.

Make this a complete thanksgiving meal

You know thanksgiving is approaching us quickly and getting your menu made is a MUST ahead of time.

We love how easy and delicious this cranberry sauce is to make and comes together so quickly.

Having a perfect thanksgiving dinner is always a dream for the host.

Here is a great way to start your planning. First, take time to brine your turkey with my Turkey Brine Recipe.

This cranberry sauce pairs well with our favorite Juicy Bitter Herb Turkey Recipe with its Easy Turkey Gravy.

Next, your stuffing choices of Roasted Autumn Vegetable Stuffing or Slow Cooker Sausage herb Stuffing are always a great hit.

Then some side dishes you may like World’s Best Green Bean Casserole, Honey Orange Glazed Carrots and Roasted Honey Cinnamon Butter Sweet Potatoes.

Lastly, my Perfect Soft and Buttery Rolls are perfect for dipping or adding even more cranberry sauce to.

Oh and don’t forget dessert with my Grandma’s Famous Pumpkin Pie!

Cranberries being mixed together with sugar, orange juice and water

Cranberries being mixed together with sugar, orange juice and water

Tips for making cranberry sauce

Luckily this sauce is so simple to make and very straight forward.

It does not take long to watch your cranberries pop and you can start to add your sauce to your thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table.

Enjoy this easy cranberry sauce with some quick and easy tips to make it even easier.

  • When purchasing cranberries, look for full and unbroken cranberries. They will be bright pink or red in color.
  • If you are using fresh cranberries, gently rinse them and remove any stems or debris on them. Add in your cranberries whole.
  • Frozen cranberries will work for this recipe. You will not need to defrost them first.
  • For more flavoring you can add in more orange juice and leave out the water. You can also use other juices to replace the water with. The added citrus enhances this sauce immensely.
  • Squeezing your own orange juice is a little more work but the taste is amazing and adds a freshness to your cranberry sauce recipe.
  • The longer the sauce sits, the thicker it will be become.

Storing cranberry sauce

I love how simple this cranberry sauce is to make and making this ahead only helps during thanksgiving dinner.

I actually like the flavoring two to three days later. I recommend making this at the beginning of the week before thanksgiving or Christmas.

Keep in the refrigerator or freezer for a little more time. When ready to serve just simply reheat and it is ready in minutes.

  • Making cranberry sauce ahead: make and prepare just as instructed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Refrigerating cranberry sauce: let your cranberry sauce cool completely. Then add it to an airtight container where it can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
  • Freezing cranberry sauce: cook your cranberry sauce through then let it cool completely. Once it is cooled, add it to an airtight container or a ziplock bag to be frozen. Lay flat if it is in a ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 1 month in the freezer. When reheating, your sauce will not be as thick with the added water from being frozen. You can thicken it up by simmering for a few extra minutes. Thaw in the refrigerator over night before warming up.
  • Reheating cranberry sauce:  when ready to warm up, simply reheat over medium heat in a skillet. Simmering the sauce will help thicken this sauce back up from being frozen.

Cranberry sauce being cooked over the stovetop

Cranberry sauce being cooked over the stovetop

More Thanksgiving Recipes

Up close cranberry sauce

Up close cranberry sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Total Time 15 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 12 people

The Easiest Cranberry Sauce is made from fresh cranberries mixed with orange juice to sweeten the cranberries and topped with an added orange zest for one sweet and tart cranberry sauce. Only takes 10 minutes to make! 

  • 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • zest from one orange
  1. In a saucepan add the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, water and orange zest. Over medium low heat cook the cranberries until the sugar has dissolved and the cranberries start to soften.

  2. Increase the heat to medium and continue to stir and cook for another 5-6 minutes until the cranberries burst. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Nutrition Facts

Cranberry Sauce

Amount Per Serving

Calories 80 Calories from Fat 9

% Daily Value*

Fat 1g2%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Sodium 1mg0%

Potassium 34mg1%

Carbohydrates 21g7%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 18g20%

Protein 1g2%

Vitamin A 27IU1%

Vitamin C 6mg7%

Calcium 2mg0%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.