Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

This homemade cranberry sauce recipe includes apples and oranges for complex flavor. This easy seasonal side dish features equally easy-to-grow cranberries.

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients 2

Cranberries, from the cranberry plant (Vaccinium macrocarpon), are a delightfully easy fruit to grow and the cold-hardy plants are attractive, low-growing additions to the landscape. Delicate pink flowers give way to cranberries in a few short years (2-3 years on average), developing on the plant's trailing runners. This means that growing your own cranberries, and having homemade cranberry sauce, is literally at your fingertips!

These berries, once called "bearberries" due to the fact that bears were seen eating them, were used to make cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving even in early America.

According to John Josselyn, "...it is a delicate sauce, especially with roasted mutton. Some make tarts with them as with gooseberries." – New England Rarities Discovered, 1672

Think outside the can! Don't go for store-bought cranberry sauce this year. There are countless ways to spice and make your own cranberry sauce and it takes mere minutes to prepare and cook. Here is one recipe that uses less sugar and includes apples and oranges for a complex, sweet-and-tangy fruity taste!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 5 min. | Cook Time: 10-15 min. | Yield: approx. 1 pint


  • 12 oz cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 orange (or lemon for a tangier kick)
  • 1/2 apple (crisper is better – or use 1/2 Asian pear!)
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. With a sharp knife, carefully cut the halved orange into thin slices, leaving the peel on. Do the same with the halved apple. The thin slices can be wedge-shaped, or round – it's up to you.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a large cooking pot (uncovered) over high heat until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add cranberries*, orange slices, apple slices, and cinnamon stick.
    *Thaw first if using frozen cranberries.
  4. Boil uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will froth at first and then clear up as it thickens into a sauce. You may also hear the cranberries "pop" as they cook. Note: Some stovetops cook faster than others, so be careful not to let the sauce scorch. If, after 15 minutes, the sauce is still runny, allow it to sit and it will thicken as it cools.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before eating. Optional: remove apple and orange from the finished sauce if not desired. Leave in for interest! Serve. Note: If canning your cranberry sauce, follow proper canning procedures to sterilize and seal jars for storage. Find tips and tricks in our Preserving Answer Book.

What unique twists will you add to your homemade cranberry sauce?

Cranberry Sauce Cooking
Finished Cranberry Sauce in Jar