Saturday, November 22, 2014

Homemade Cranberry Sauce (So You Can Skip the Canned Stuff)

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Orange Juice

I grew up eating canned cranberry sauce every year at my Thanksgiving dinner. Cranberry sauce was one of my favorite dishes during the feast. I'd plop a huge pile on my plate and dip each bite of turkey in it. Back then I didn't question what I ate and certainly didn't participate in the cooking process. 

Why I Ditched Canned Cranberry Sauce For The Real Stuff

At some point, I came to understand that my beloved cranberry sauce not only came out of can, (not a big deal), but was primarily made with high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup (not so cool...or appetizing).

I'm currently at my grandma's house celebrating Thanksgiving early and went out of my way to dig through her cabinet for a can of cranberry sauce so I could show y'all the back of the label.

Canned Cranberry Sauce

As there are only four ingredients in this entire can, you can see that half of this sauce is made of highly processed, genetically modified "sugar substance". I don't know about you, but I'd rather cover my turkey in real cranberry sauce that doesn't contain industrial food products.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Takes as Little as 4 Ingredients to Make

Especially when it's SUPER simple to make on the stove top and only requires a few fresh ingredients. You really only need:

  1. a bag of fresh cranberries (duh)
  2. water to create the sauce as the cranberries burst and thicken 
  3. some form of sweetener to balance out the cranberries' tartness and 
  4. citrus juice + zest to brighten and compliment the cranberry.

If you want you can add some warm spices for extra flavor, but that's totally optional. The real star of the show is the cranberry followed by the orange!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Orange Juice

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yield: 2 1/2 cupsprint recipe
Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Orange Juice

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Orange Juice

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 25 mins
Learn how to make homemade cranberry sauce using as little as four simple ingredients in about 20-25 minutes on your stove top. Making it at home lets you control the amount of sugar in the recipe and skip the corn syrup in the canned versions!


  • 1 package (12 oz) of fresh whole cranberries
  • 1 to 1/2 cups of purified water (depending on how thick or runny you want the sauce)
  • 3/4 cup of organic cane sugar OR raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest
  • 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice**
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder (optional - I use THIS Ceylon cinnamon powder)
  • 2 pinches of cardamom powder (optional)
  • **Note: You can get the zest + juice from 2 oranges, although the amount will vary by size - that's okay!
Recommended Equipment


  1. Measure the water and sugar OR honey into a small saucepan. Turn the heat to medium, stirring occasionally until all the sweetener has dissolved and the water comes to a light boil. Add in the cranberries and return to a gentle boil. Reduce to medium low and let the cranberries simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have burst and softened.
  2. At this point, you can zest the oranges, add the zest to the cranberry sauce, then pour in the fresh orange juice and any other seasonings you'd like to add like cinnamon or cardamom (again, totally optional). Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator. As it cools, the sauce will thicken, so re-stir before serving. This keeps for awhile in the fridge, so it's a good idea to fix it a few days before a holiday so you have one thing less to worry about. :)
Created using The Recipes Generator
Note & Tips
  • Don't have any fresh oranges or citrus on hand? Try bottled orange juice, just be mindful of the sugar content and know that a little goes a long way.
  • If you want to try an unrefined sweetener in this recipe, honey is my favorite. Maple syrup will work, too, but it will alter the taste a little bit. I prefer honey over maple syrup as it has a lighter taste. 

I'd like to hear from YOU!

Do you have any creative way to use leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving day?

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe with Fresh Orange Juice

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P.S. Keep Reading! More Posts From The Rising Spoon:

I love this easy homemade cranberry sauce recipe! It's so much better than the canned version, uses honey or sugar, and only takes about 25 minutes on the stovetop. Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas!

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