Heavenly cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries and orange juice is a perfect, traditional side dish bursting with homemade, mouthwatering flavors.
2020 has been quite a year in most homes. School being out, changes everywhere and the holidays that are upcoming may not even feel like a holiday right now. But can you believe Thanksgiving is truly only a few months away (at the time of writing this!). And even though you may not feel the same sense of jubilation as the years passed, there is still cause to celebrate the love of family this Thanksgiving season.
Now growing up I was always forced into the canned stuff – you know, the jelly version that plops out onto the plate in one solid unified chunk. But even worse was the canned real cranberries, where I inevitably always got stems. I gag thinking about it. If this was your childhood too….stop. STOP canned cranberries. Its a sin.
Once you see how EASY it is to take fresh cranberries and turn them into homemade sauce, you will be SHOCKED at the flavor you have been missing!
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
This 3 ingredient Cranberry sauce made with orange juice is probably the most simple Thanksgiving side dish you will make this season. And because homemade cranberry sauce tastes delicious warm OR cold, you can make this ahead as well. The full recipe is at the bottom in an easy to print recipe sheet.
- 12 oz, frozen cranberries, thawed OR bag of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
Easy Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Cranberries
Add cranberries, sugar and orange juice in a sauce pan and mix well.
Heat over medium high stirring occasionally.
After about 5 minutes, the cranberries will begin to sizzle and make noise (pop!) and boil.
Once they begin to boil, reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook and stir for an additional 5-7 minutes or until most or all of the berries are popped open.
Remove from heat and let stand.
As mixture cools, it will begin to thicken because of the pectin.
Spoon sauce into a serving dish and serve.
Store covered, in the refrigerator.
Makes 2-1/2 cups of sauce.
Cranberry Sauce Variations
I like the sugary ease of this cranberry sauce recipe, but there are many ways to alter the flavor without too much work.
- Cinnamon– A dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or even apple pie spice is a great way to give it some fall flavor.
- Maple Syrup or Honey – Cut some of the sugar in the recipe and substitute with honey, maple syrup or brown sugar. This also helps with some of the tartness in the berry.
- Changing the Juice – Orange juice and cranberry go really well together, but I have found that grape, cran-grape and blackberry juices are just as good in homemade cranberry sauce. I have made different versions at the holiday time with great success.
- Zest – Need to serve this recipe up fancy? Add a bit of orange zest on the top of the bowl – adds a bit of color and fanciness.
Common Recipe Questions
Can you freeze cranberry sauce? I would not freeze this recipe.
What is the best way to mash cranberries for a smoother finish? Since the mixture is hot once off the stove, if you want less berries and more of a purified sauce, use a potato masher. Once cool, you can use an immersion handheld blender if desired.
Can you make Orange Juice Cranberry Sauce ahead of time? Yes, 2-3 days ahead of time. You can serve cold or reheat for a warm sauce.
- 12 oz, frozen (thawed) cranberries OR fresh cranberries
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- Add fresh cranberries, sugar and orange juice in a sauce pan and mix well.
- Heat Cranberry mixture over medium high, stirring occasionally.
- After about 5 minutes on the stove, the cranberries will begin to sizzle and make noise as they pop and boil.
- Once the cranberries begin to boil, reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook and stir for an additional 5-7 minutes or until most or all of the berries are popped open.
- Remove cranberry sauce from heat and let stand.
- As mixture cools, it will begin to thicken.
- Spoon sauce into a serving dish. Can be served hot or cold.
- Store covered, in the refrigerator.
Please see article on notes for Cranberry sauce variations.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 2gSugar: 39gProtein: 1g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated with ingredients and serving size and may not be accurate. Please always double check with your own nutritional apps as well.