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Cranberry Sauce

This easy homemade cranberry sauce is bringing the tang to your holiday table. Kick the can and make your own cranberry sauce from scratch in no time! Stove top and Instant Pot directions included.

I'm gonna ruffle feathers here, and I have NO shame about it.

Canned cranberry sauce is not good. Like it's actually awful. As a rule, I almost don't eat things out of a can, and that weird giggly blob that keeps the shape of the can when you finally shake hard enough for it to fall out is a hard no from me.

Cranberry sauce on a a bird = good. Canned cranberry sauce = bad.

We can fix that equation!

Homemade cranberry sauce on turkey = excellent!

This recipe is dedicated to kicking the can.

Homemade cranberry sauce topped with orange zest in a white bowl.

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Tips + tricks

No. 1 --> Use fresh or frozen cranberries in this sauce recipe. Because we are boiling them down, both will work!

No. 2 --> Save half of the orange zest for the end! Not only does it keep its bright colour, it also imparts a more fresh scent and flavour at this point.

No. 3 --> Try this easy cranberry sauce on a leftover turkey and stuffing sandwich! YUM!

Cranberry sauce in a white bowl topped with orange zest.

Ingredients

How to make

  1. Rinse the cranberries under cold running water in a colander. Discard any heavily bruised, wrinkled or discoloured berries.
  2. Transfer the washed cranberries to a medium-sized pot.
  3. Zest the orange, set aside the zest, then juice the orange.
  4. Dump the orange juice into the pot with the cranberries, add the brown sugar and the cinnamon stick.
  5. Bring the cranberries to a low boil and once the cranberries start to burst open, turn down the heat and allow the cranberry sauce to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Stir in the orange zest and remove the cinnamon stick.
  7. Cool the cranberry sauce for at least 30 minutes before serving, or store in the fridge for later use.

Make it in the Instant Pot

Great news! This simple cranberry sauce recipe is easily adapted to the Instant Pot!

  1. Rinse the cranberries under cold running water in a colander. Discard any heavily bruised, wrinkled or discoloured berries.
  2. Transfer the washed to the liner of your Instant Pot.
  3. Zest the orange, set aside the zest, then juice the orange.
  4. Add the orange juice into the pot with the cranberries, pour the brown sugar over the berries and top with the cinnamon stick.
  5. Close the lid on your Instant Pot and cook the berries on high pressure for 1 minute with a natural pressure release of at least 5 minutes before releasing any residual steam.
  6. Open the lid of the Instant Pot and stir in the orange zest, and remove the cinnamon stick.
  7. Cool the cranberry sauce for at least 30 minutes before serving, or store in the fridge for later use.

Make ahead

This homemade cranberry sauce can easily be made up to 4 days in advance. Allowing the sauce to chill in the fridge actually allows the flavours to meld and intensify.

To make in advance, cool to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container and storing it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To serve, dump the sauce into a small saucepan and gently heat over medium-low heat until the desired temperature. The sauce can also be microwaved if desired.

A spoon full of cranberry sauce.

Microplane: I use my microplane only occasionally, but my goodness, it does an incredible job whenever I take it out! It's fantastic for getting the zest off of citrus fruits and even for use on spices like ginger and nutmeg.

Handheld juicer: This is another tool that is in my drawer and I don't use it that often, but it's super convenient to have a hand held juicer, especially because I don't have a lot of strength in my dominant hand due to arthritis!

Got Leftovers?

This fresh cranberry sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days after it's been made. Unfortunately, this includes make-ahead time, so I generally only make my sauce the day before our Thanksgiving or Christmas meal.

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📖 Printable Recipe

Homemade cranberry sauce topped with orange zest in a white bowl.
Yield: 1.5 cups

Best Ever Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Skip the can and whip up some incredibly yummy homemade cranberry sauce from fresh or frozen cranberries. This from-scratch sauce recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or anytime you're serving turkey.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of cranberries
  • 1 navel orange
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

Make it on the stove:

  1. Rinse the cranberries under cold running water in a colander. Discard any heavily bruised, wrinkled or discoloured berries.
  2. Transfer the washed cranberries to a medium-sized pot.
  3. Zest the orange and set aside half of the zest, then quarter and juice the orange.
  4. Dump the orange juice into the pot with the cranberries, add the brown sugar and the cinnamon stick.
  5. Bring the cranberries to a low boil and once the cranberries start to burst open, turn down the heat and allow the cranberry sauce to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Stir in the remaining orange zest and remove the cinnamon stick.
  7. Cool the cranberry sauce for at least 30 minutes before serving, or store in the fridge for later use.

make it in the instant pot:

  1. Rinse the cranberries under cold running water in a colander. Discard any heavily bruised, wrinkled or discoloured berries.
  2. Transfer the washed cranberries to the liner of your Instant Pot.
  3. Zest the orange and set aside half of the zest, then quarter and juice the orange.
  4. Add the orange juice into the pot with the cranberries, pour the brown sugar over the berries and top with the cinnamon stick. Do not stir!
  5. Close the lid on your Instant Pot and cook the berries on high pressure for 1 minute with a natural pressure release of at least 5 minutes before releasing any residual steam.
  6. Open the lid of the Instant Pot and stir in the remaining orange zest and remove the cinnamon stick.
  7. Cool the cranberry sauce for at least 30 minutes before serving, or store in the fridge for later use.

Notes

Make Ahead:


This homemade cranberry sauce can easily be made up to 4 days in advance. Allowing the sauce to chill in the fridge actually allows the flavours to meld and intensify.

To make in advance, cool to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container and storing it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To serve, dump the sauce into a small saucepan and gently heat over medium-low heat until the desired temperature. The sauce can also be microwaved if desired.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 64Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 0g

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