Homemade Cranberry Sauce

hand spooning out a dollop of Homemade Cranberry Sauce
glass jar full of cranberry orange sauce on a lace doily
jar of fresh cranberry sauce next to a bowl of fresh cranberries

The Flavor of the Holidays

Cranberries have signified the Autumn and Winter holidays for centuries. These tart red berries are in season in Fall and early Winter, which is a great time to consume their antioxidants to boost your immune system. And the pop of red looks so festive and joyful. So what better way to celebrate this season around the dinner table than with homemade cranberry sauce? Now, it came as a shock to me that some folks actually prefer canned cranberry sauce over the homemade stuff! But the warm, rich scent that will fill your home is reason enough to make this recipe! So maybe keep the canned cranberry sauce on the grocery shelf this year, and make a batch at home.

Cranberry sauce has a wonderfully tart flavor that is balanced with sweetness from sugar. Orange juice and zest bring out the citrus flavor and give it a bolder fruity taste. And a dash of ground cloves adds a cozy bit of warmth in each bite.

What do you eat cranberry sauce on? EVERYTHING! Turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing are great go-to’s. But try it on toast, yogurt and pancakes – I bet you’ll be pleasantly delighted!

homemade cranberry sauce spread on a slice of toast on a pink plate
overhead look at a jar full of homemade cranberry sauce for a vegan Thanksgiving recipe

Making Cranberry Sauce at Home

First, when you make homemade cranberry sauce, you’ll be creating a simmer pot that fills your home with the scent of sweet cranberries, fruity oranges and spicy cloves. It’s like the best form of aromatherapy, because you get to eat jam at the end!

Second, you’ll get a punch of antioxidants from the cranberries, without any preservatives and additives from store-bought cranberry sauce.

Third, this recipe is so simple! All you need is some cranberries, an orange, water, sugar and a half teaspoon of ground cloves. And the cloves are optional; I just like the extra spiced Autumn flavor it adds.

four ingredients laid out to make homemade cranberry sauce
a pot filled with cranberries, sugar, orange juice and orange zest to make a Thanksgiving side dish
wooden spoon pushing homemade cranberry sauce into a glass jar

A Thanksgiving Feast

Cranberry sauce is traditionally eaten at Thanksgiving here in the U.S. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, it’s a festive and delicious addition to any holiday meal. Here are some more recipe ideas for the holidays!

Vegan, Raw, No Bake Pumpkin Pie
Turkey Stuffed Squash
One Pot Thanksgiving Turkey & Stuffing
Turkey Bacon & Sage Cornbread Stuffing
Carrot Galette with Carrot Top Pesto
Braided Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Wreath
Mashed Potatoes and Onion Gravy


cranberry jam in a glass jar ready to be served at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner

Homemade Cranberry Jam/Sauce

Fill your home with the warm aroma of Autumn by making cranberry jam at home! It beats the canned alternative any day. With fruity citrus and spicy cloves, it will be a hit at the holidays!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 24 servings


  • 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ΒΎ cup granulated sugar
  • Β½ cup water
  • ΒΌ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest, freshly grated
  • Β½ tsp ground cloves


  • Add all the ingredients into a sauce pan.
    Bring everything to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the cranberries pop and break down. If any cranberries remain whole, crush them with the back of a spoon.
  • Optional: strain the jam through a fine mesh sieve. (I personally like the extra texture from the whole cranberries, so I don't strain my jam.)
  • Let cool and enjoy!
Keyword cranberry jam, cranberry orange sauce, cranberry recipe, cranberry sauce, cranberry sauce recipe, fresh cranberry sauce, homemade cranberry sauce, small thanksgiving dinner for four, Thanksgiving dinner ideas, Thanksgiving dishes, thanksgiving recipes, Thanksgiving side dishes, traditional Thanksgiving dinner, vegan Thanksgiving recipes

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