Okay, so I have a small confession. I used to HATE cranberry sauce. I have no idea how, but I guess I used to find it either too tart, or too sweet. And then there is that canned stuff people try to pass as cranberry, “sauce.” Anything that comes out in the shape of a can, is not cranberry sauce. Can we just all agree on that? It’s a cranberry can-brick. Thankfully I woke up a few years ago, and never looked back. My mom makes the most incredible homemade cranberry sauce every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the best part? It takes only 20 minutes, and you only need three ingredients. Even better, it is the perfect balance of tart and sweet.
Bags of cranberries are usually out by early November, which is awesome, because I am usually craving homemade cranberry sauce long before Thanksgiving. Cranberries also freeze surprisingly well, so feel free to snag a few extra bags and store them in the freezer for when you get those cranberry sauce cravings.
To make the easiest, fresh, homemade cranberry sauce ever, add cranberries, sugar, and orange juice to a medium saucepan. Cover, and let cook over medium-low heat. The cranberries will start to burst, releasing their delicious flavorful juice. You never want to overcook cranberry sauce, because the sugar will caramelize and burn. You will want to cook the cranberries until they have almost all burst. The others that are still whole can be popped when you remove from heat, and stir.
That’s it. That’s all it takes. Plus, homemade cranberry sauce can be made days ahead of time, too. Which means you can plan ahead and have it ready. So when your mom, or mother-in-law, asks you to help at Thanksgiving or Christmas, you can tell them you have the cranberry sauce completely covered!Print
This simple homemade cranberry sauce is an easy holiday recipe, perfect for your Thanksgiving menu or Christmas dinner. With only 4 ingredients, it is an easy 20-minute side dish.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2–3 Tbsp fresh orange zest
- 2, 12oz bags fresh cranberries
- Wash the cranberries thoroughly in a colander, and make sure to pick out any rotten ones.
- In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, cranberries, orange zest, and orange juice. Stir and cover. Cook over medium-low heat, covered, for 15 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have burst. Do not overcook. Stir, and let cool before storing in the fridge.
Homemade cranberry sauce can be made a few days in advance and stores well in the refrigerator.