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Learn how to make basic homemade cranberry sauce with just 3 ingredients as well as 8 different flavor variations. There’s sure to be one you love!

cranberry sauce in a bowl.

Ah, cranberry sauce. Growing up, we just assumed that a gelatinous tube was our only option. We didn’t realize that cranberry sauce could actually be made from…you know…cranberries. We would slice it at about an inch thick and just stared at that circle on our plate, hoping it wouldn’t invade the rest of the meal. 

When you know better, you do better. Today we present cranberry sauce made from just 3 ingredients! 1 of which is real, fresh cranberries! We can now very proudly say that we love cranberry sauce, and with so many flavor variations on this classic recipe, we know you’ll love it too!

Can cranberry sauce be made ahead of time?

Yes! There is so much to worry about keeping your eye on in the middle of a Thanksgiving feast, we don’t want you to worry about this one. Prepare your cranberry sauce either the night before or in the morning before you’re preoccupied with turkey and pies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Can I reduce the sugar or replace with honey?

We love a sweet cranberry sauce, but if you prefer a bit more tartness you can always reduce the sugar. We don’t recommend going below 1/2 cup of sugar though, as that would be quite tart. If you prefer to use honey rather than granulated sugar, you can do so with a 1:1 ratio, and that can also be reduced down to 1/2 cup as well.

a spoon dipped into a bowl of cranberry sauce.

Storage Instructions:

Cranberry sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 to 7 days. It is fantastic on its own, as a layer in a leftover turkey sandwich, or swirled into some plain yogurt!

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

cranberry sauce with a spoon.
Learn how to make basic homemade cranberry sauce with just 3 ingredients as well as 8 different flavor variations. There's sure to be one you love!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Rinse cranberries and discard any that are soft.
  • In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, water, and sugar. Stir to combine. Cover and cook over medium heat until mixture boils and cranberries start to pop.
  • Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, or pulse to leave chunks.
  • Allow mixture to cool down before serving.


  • Cran-Orange Cranberry Sauce

    Replace water with orange juice. Replace half of the sugar with brown sugar.
  • Spicy Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce

    Replace water with orange juice. Once cranberries start to pop, add in 1 to 2 sliced jalapenos and let cook two minutes before proceeding with blending the sauce.
  • Cran-Apple Cranberry Sauce

    Replace water with apple juice.
  • Pineapple Cranberry Sauce

    Replace water with one 16-ounce can of pineapple chunks, undrained.
  • Red Wine Cranberry Sauce

    Replace water with  1/2 cup red wine + 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • Spiced Cranberry Sauce

    Replace the sugar with brown sugar and add in 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. For even more flavor, replace water with orange juice.
  • Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce

    Replace water with orange juice and add 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger in with sugar. 
  • Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

    Once cranberries start to pop, add in 1/2 to 1 chipotle in adobo sauce (not 1 whole can). Let cook 2 minutes before transferring to a blender. 
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cranberry Sauce
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