This easy cranberry sauce recipe is fast, delicious, and the perfect addition to turkey or roast dinners! Great for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or anytime you want to add a sweet and tart pop of flavor.
Cranberry sauce isn't just for the holidays. It can even be used on grilled meats (as a glaze). And of course in leftover chicken or turkey sandwiches. Or on toast (like you'd use jam or marmalade). So many possibilities!
This cranberry sauce is sweet but not too sweet, and you can definitely still taste the tartness of the cranberries.
How to make cranberry sauce (overview):
- Sort through your fresh cranberries to ensure there aren't any that have gone bad;
- Add the cranberries, water, sugar, and a cinnamon stick to a medium-sized saucepan;
- Simmer until the cranberries have popped and the sauce has thickened (about 10-12 minutes);
- Cool and store the sauce in the fridge.
(Full ingredients and instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & tips:
- It can definitely be made a few days ahead and refrigerated (it'll keep in the fridge for about a week). Cranberry sauce can be frozen too (for up to 2-3 months).
- You can use frozen cranberries in this recipe if you wish (they're available year-round).
- You can use granulated (white) sugar if you prefer.
- Try adding a pinch of allspice or nutmeg, or even some cloves (be sure to remove them at the end) to change things up a bit. Or grate in some orange zest at the end for an orangey pop of flavor.
- I like the cranberries to really cook down, but if you prefer to have more whole cranberries, you can cook the sauce for less time.
- If you want a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender to purée it before it cools.
- You can serve cranberry sauce at room temperature or chilled.
You may also like my boozy cranberry sauce that has a touch of Grand Marnier!
More Thanksgiving sides to try:
- Easy Creamy Crockpot Mashed Potatoes (Make Ahead!)
- Thanksgiving Salad
- Green Bean Casserole
- Easy Glazed Carrots
- Classic Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe (with Marshmallows!)
- Easy Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Recipe
- Jiffy Corn Casserole
Are you a homemade cranberry sauce fan, or do you prefer the canned variety? I confess I'll always love the canned stuff as well. 🙂
Questions? Ask me in the comments below! Made one of my recipes? Don't forget to tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
Super Easy Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup water or orange juice
- 3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Pick out any cranberries that may be past their prime and discard them.
- Add the cranberries, water, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a medium-sized saucepan. Give it a good stir.
- Simmer the mixture over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or so, until the cranberries start to pop and the sauce has started to thicken (stir occasionally). At that point, reduce the heat and continue simmering until the sauce has thickened to your liking (about 10-12 minutes total).
- Remove cinnamon stick and let the cranberry sauce cool. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
- This cranberry sauce is sweet, but it still has a bit of tartness from the cranberries. If you want a very sweet cranberry sauce, add another 1/4 cup of sugar.
- If you prefer to have more whole/intact cranberries, simmer for less time (8-10 minutes).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.