Homemade cranberry sauce is both quick and easy to prepare and has a fresh tangy flavor you simply can’t get from a can.

Bowl of homemade cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries and orange slices in the background.

Homemade, whole berry cranberry sauce is not only a cinch to make, it’s lower in sugar than the store-bought variety and can be made ahead for easy entertaining at the holidays.

The other nice thing about making your own cranberry sauce is the option to incorporate other ingredients and spices.

Our version includes a cinnamon stick and a couple of strips of fresh orange peel for extra flavor, but there are lots of ways you can put your own unique stamp on this dish. For more ideas, be sure to check out the links below.

Tips for cooking with cranberries

  • Shopping: Cranberries are available fresh in supermarkets from late September through January. Look for deep red berries that are firm and smooth, not puckered.
  • Storing: Store fresh cranberries in a plastic bag or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
  • Prepping: Give cranberries a quick rinse in cool water before using them. If you’re making cranberry sauce, you can just drain off the excess water, but for baking, it’s best to lay them out on a kitchen towel and blot them dry before using.
  • Freezing: Fresh cranberries can also be frozen for up to a year. Before freezing, rinse and dry them thoroughly and pack them in a tightly sealed freezer bag. You can use them straight from the freezer for most recipes (no defrosting necessary).
Bowl of homemade cranberry sauce garnished with fresh orange zest.

Homemade cranberry sauce variations

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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Homemade cranberry sauce is both quick and easy to prepare and has a fresh tangy flavor you simply can't get from a can.


  • 12 ounces fresh whole cranberries, about 3 cups
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 or 4 strips fresh orange peel


  • Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Add the cranberries, cinnamon stick, and orange peel. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the cranberries have "popped" and the mixture has thickened.
  • Remove from the heat, cover, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick and orange peel. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tips for Making This Recipe

Cranberry sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Calories: 160kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Sodium: 3mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 36g
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