Homemade Cranberry Sauce

I have been making this homemade cranberry sauce for my family for years. We are a "both / and" people; we like the canned jelly sauce and we like the good homemade stuff. For Thanksgiving and Christmases in my family usually, we usually have both on the table. 

No judgement here if you prefer the canned, fine by me. But this homemade sauce is super easy to make, it is delicious, and it stores well in the fridge for a week or two so you can make a double batch. You can put it in your yogurt, your oatmeal, your sandwiches, or serve it as a side dish with any winter dinner. It is versatile, tart, and delicious. We use it sort of like jam, but it is less sugary and better for you and comes with all the cozy winter smells that I love this time of year.

After a couple years of tweaking and trying this and that (cinnamon? nutmeg? extra sugar?) I have finally found the recipe that we like the best. I don't think spices add to the recipe. I think they detract from the beautiful flavor of the cranberries and make it taste a little like potpourri. Your mileage may vary. Do use real sugar and not honey or maple syrup for this one. There are many recipes in which we make substitutions, but jams and jellied sauces like this don't work well without that sugar.

If you double this recipe (and I usually do) just double all of the ingredients, it cooks for the same amount of time.  


1 12 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 orange
1 c sugar
1 c water
pinch of salt


1. Pour the cranberries into a good sized pot. 
2. Wash the oranges and then cut them into quarters. 
3. Squeeze the juice from the orange and then throw the orange peel and all in with the cranberries. 
4. Add sugar, water, and salt. 
5. Bring to a boil on med high so as not to scorch the sugar, and then reduce heat to a simmer (low or med low) and allow it to simmer down for 20-30 minutes until it becomes thicker. It does not need to be as thick as you'd eventually like it, it will also thicken up as it cools. 
6. Remove the orange peels with a fork and pour the cranberry sauce into a heat-safe container to cool down and refrigerate. You can eat it right away while it is hot, or leave it in the fridge a few hours or even over night to thicken up.

If you are like my family, and you live somewhere cold, you may occasionally put your cranberry sauce outside on your porch to cool down. For us, the porch becomes almost like a second fridge/freezer in the winter. Even better if it is screened in. If you have the luxury of temps below 42 and no bears around, you can cool your sauce outdoors very quickly. 

If not, let it sit on the stove for 30 minutes to an hour, and then you can safely put it in the fridge.