Homemade Cranberry sauce is a delicious fruity condiment, a perfect addition to the Christmas meal or Thanksgiving dinner.
We show you how to make cranberry sauce with sugar for sweetness; a citrus twist from clementine or orange zest and juice and a bit of spice from a cinnamon stick. You can even add a splash of port for extra flavour and warmth if wanted.
It is quick and easy to make. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries for this homemade cranberry sauce recipe.
You can also choose the texture you like by leaving cranberries whole, breaking them down with a spoon or blending and sieving to make a smooth jellied cranberry sauce
It can easily be made last minute on the day or prepared a couple of weeks in advance.
How to make cranberry sauce?
We show you how to make this homemade cranberry sauce in this quick video tutorial.
Or continue reading for more advice, to make the best cranberry sauce ever.
Only four ingredients are needed to make this homemade cranberry sauce recipe. Although there are extras that can be added if wanted!
Clementine or Orange
Clementines are in season and at their best around Thanksgiving and Christmas time and the perfect size for using in this recipe with no waste.
You want to zest the clementine first, then squeeze the juice into the pan with the zest.
Of course, you can orange zest and orange juice instead, but you will only need ½ an orange so as not to overpower the cranberry sauce.
Granulated white sugar or caster sugar can be used. Add sugar and water to the pan with the zest and juice.
For a more sour tart taste, use less sugar or more sugar for a sweeter taste.
If this is the first time making it, then stick with what I recommend. You can always add extra sweetness after it has been cooked using honey or agave.
Add a whole cinnamon stick and stir the ingredients over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Or use ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon instead.
Frozen or fresh cranberries can be used to make cranberry sauce. In these pictures, we used frozen cranberries. If using fresh cranberries, you may need to add a couple of tablespoons more water.
How to sweeten cranberry sauce.
I have added sugar to this cranberry sauce recipe during cooking so it should be sweet enough. However, some people like it sweeter!
You can add more sugar before adding cranberries or if you want to add extra sweetness after cooking then it is better to use a liquid sweetener such as honey or agave so as not to ruin the texture.
Cranberry and Port Sauce
Another popular addition to cranberry sauce is a splash of port! Adding port brings great warmth to the condiment.
It makes it even more special for serving with your Christmas dinner or bottled up for a homemade gift.
How long to cook cranberries?
Once the cranberries have been added to the saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium setting.
Cranberries will take between 10-15 minutes to cook. You will know when they are ready as the skins will be bursting and you may see some tiny seeds too!
The seeds are edible and will not affect the taste or texture of the cranberry sauce, they do not need to be removed or strained.
Once soft enough, use the back of a spoon to squish the cranberries into your chosen texture. Leave as they are so you can still see whole bits of cranberries, or my favourite is to give them a push down with the spoon making it into a jam-like texture.
Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Or if you prefer to make cranberry sauce smooth, use a stick blender to puree it down to your desired smoothness.
You can also strain it through a sieve after blending if you want it really smooth and more like a jellied cranberry sauce.
The cranberry sauce thickens as it cools, ending up with a lovely jelly-like texture by the time it reaches room temperature.
If it is too runny continue to heat it. Remember, though, it does thicken up as it cools down.
Give the cranberry sauce a taste. If it is not sweet enough for you, I recommend adding honey or agave syrup to sweeten it. Do not add more sugar; it will give it a grainy texture.
What to serve with?
Cranberry sauce is a traditional side dish that is often served with roast turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
It can be served warm or cold. However, you prefer it?
It can also be used in panini’s, sausage rolls, pork pies, or as a glaze, check out our Christmas roast duck with cranberry glaze.
Wondering what to do with leftover cranberry sauce? Serve it with Christmas cheese and crackers or in sandwiches.
📖 Step by Step Recipe
- 1 Clementine Zest and Juice
- 100 grams Granulated White Sugar
- 1 Cinnamon Stick or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 75 ml water
- 200 gram Cranberries Frozen or Fresh
- 1 tbsp Port
- Agave or Honey
- Zest clementine into a saucepan, then cut and add the juice too.If using port add it now too.1 Clementine, 1 tablespoon Port
- Add sugar and water.100 grams Granulated White Sugar, 75 ml water
- Add a stick of cinnamon Heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.1 Cinnamon Stick
- Add the cranberries, bring to a boil then cook uncovered on medium heat, stirring occasionally.200 gram Cranberries
- Should take about 12 minutes for the cranberries skin to burst
- Push with the back of a spoon to help melt it down to your chosen texture. See notes below about texture.
- Time to test it, if you want it sweeter, you can stir in honey or agaveAgave or Honey
- Can be served warm or cold.
How to store fresh cranberry sauce?
If you make this cranberry sauce recipe in advance, make sure to sterilise the jar you will be storing it in. This homemade sauce will last for ten days in the fridge. Perfect if you want to make days in advance for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.
Can you freeze cranberry sauce?
Leftover homemade cranberry sauce can be bagged into freezer bags or containers and frozen for up to 3 months. Then, simply defrost overnight in the refrigerator the day before it is needed.
Canning Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is also suitable for canning. This is a popular way of preserving fruits and vegetables in the US which is not used so much in the UK but really should be! I will write more about canning soon and will link it here when its ready!