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3-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce Recipe

This cranberry sauce recipe is one of the easiest I’ve ever seen. It’s tart, delicious, and the perfect accompaniment to your holiday meal. In fact, I can’t even imagine having either Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner without having cranberry sauce on the table.

Bowl of easy-to-make cranberry sauce

Some people like the jellied cranberry sauce in a can, while others like the flavor and texture of whole cranberries. Although I’ll eat either, I have to admit that I love the explosion of flavor and tart goodness of homemade cranberry sauce.

I hope you read this post for extra tips and details about cranberry sauce. However, if you’re in a hurry, just click on the jump-to-recipe button beneath the title. That will take you directly to the top of the recipe card that you can save or print.

Delicious Holiday Meal Side Dish

This homemade cranberry sauce is so quick and easy to make you can do it last minute. Or you can prepare it a day or two in advance, cover it, and stick it in the fridge. Without a doubt, it’s better after it sits a while.

This sauce is delicious with turkey, ham, and even chicken. Or you can try it with whatever else you want. In fact, it’s fun to discover new ways to eat foods.

Although most people associate cranberry sauce with holiday meals, I like to enjoy it year-round. Most grocery stores are able to get cranberries, but you might have to request them to be ordered.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

You only need three ingredients to make this cranberry sauce recipe, although you can add more.

All I used this time were fresh cranberries, orange juice, and sugar. Yes, that’s all.

Cranberries, orange juice, and sugar

However, if you want to add even more flavor, try adding cinnamon, orange zest, lemon zest, or vanilla.

It’s completely up to you. After all, it’s your cranberry sauce, so make it the way you like it.

I just happen to enjoy it cooked the simple way. However, if you want to drop a few pecans in there, I’m game for that … because pecans make everything better in my book.

You can probably come up with more ways to serve leftover cranberry sauce … that is, if you have any left over.

How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This is super easy, even for a novice cook. And if you have a more complicated recipe, try this one instead. You might never go back.

First, thoroughly rinse the cranberries in a colander. Shake them around a bit to make sure you rinse all surfaces of the cranberries.

I typically like to keep them under running water for a couple of minutes. If you have a sprayer, use it.

Rinsing cranberries in a colander

Next, pour the orange juice into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat.

It only takes a couple of minutes to boil.

Pouring orange juice into saucepan

After that, add the sugar and stir it into the orange juice until it dissolves.

This only takes about a minute or two.

Pouring sugar into the orange juice

Then pour in the cranberries. Be super careful not to splash the hot orange juice, or you might get burned.

Give the cranberries a quick stir, and let them simmer until all of them pop open. It’s fun and satisfying to watch them pop.

Pouring cranberries into the saucepan

The cranberries can splatter all over the place, and they make a huge mess when they do.

So I like to cover them with a splatter guard while they’re cooking.

Saucepan covered with a splatter guard

After they’ve all popped open, remove the saucepan from the heat, stir, and then allow them to cool for a couple of minutes.

This is when you can add other ingredients if you like. However, as I already mentioned, it’s delicious with only the 3 basic ingredients, so I usually leave it as-is.

Finally, transfer the cranberry sauce to a bowl.

As the sauce cools, it will thicken.

Cranberry sauce cooling in a glass bowl

More Tips for Making the Best Cranberry Sauce

This recipe is so easy that you don’t need to do anything extra. However, if you want to make it even better, follow these tips:

  • Choose the plumpest, freshest, and firmest cranberries you can find.
  • Try using maple syrup or honey in place of sugar.
  • For extra flavor, use a dash of cinnamon, ground cloves, or vanilla extract.
  • Don’t overcook the cranberries, or they will turn into gelatin.
  • Allow the sauce to cool completely so the flavors will meld and deliver the most satisfying experience.

Non-Traditional Ways to Eat Cranberry Sauce

Another thing you might enjoy is a scoop of this cranberry sauce over some vanilla ice cream.

You can also put a dollop in a turkey sandwich. It adds a nice hint of sweetness and additional moistness.

More Delicious Recipes

Most people enjoy serving cranberry sauce during the holidays, and we’re no exception. We also have other foods that have become traditions. Here are some of them:

Creamy Coleslaw – We eat this delightful coleslaw year-round, and I can’t imagine not having it on my holiday table.

Bowl of coleslaw

Broccoli Slaw – If you like a bunch of color, crunch, and flavor in your salad, you’ll love this one.

Broccoli slaw in a bowl

Green Bean Casserole – I love the traditional green bean casserole, but I add something to dress it up.

Fork of green bean casserole

Squash Casserole – This squash casserole is one that I worked on after tasting something similar at an event I attended. I never got the original recipe, but I’ve pretty much figured out how to make it.

Serving squash casserole

Mama’s Potato Salad – Some folks think potato salad is a summer food, but I beg to differ. It has graced the table at many holiday dinners at both my family’s home and my in-laws’. This is the way my mother made it.

bowl and plate of potato salad

Sweet Potato Casserole – I don’t know many people who can turn this down. However, everyone likes it prepared differently. Although my husband and most folks prefer marshmallows on top, I don’t. So I usually leave a corner without marshmallows.

Sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows

Easy Cornbread Dressing – This is a super simple dressing or stuffing that you make with leftover cornbread and a few other ingredients. You can make it the regular way or gluten-free.

Cornbread dressing on a plate with chicken

Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy – This easy-to-make gravy is so delicious that no one has to know it’s gluten-free. In fact, the only way they’ll know is if you tell them.

Turkey gravy in a ladle over a bowl of gravy

Pumpkin Pie – How can resist pumpkin pie from the dessert table? My friend Julie has a delicious looking pumpkin pie recipe on her blog Back to My Southern Roots.

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Nut Crust – This is a delicious way to make pumpkin pies that are gluten-free. The nut crust adds another layer of flavor that will have people wanting more.

mini pumpkin pie with whipped cream

Pineapple Dump Cake – Add this super easy cake to your dessert table, and everyone will beg for the recipe. It’s delicious topped with ice cream, whipped cream, or nothing at all.

bowl of pineapple dump cake with ice cream on top

Easiest Homemade Cranberry Sauce Ever

If you’ve never made cranberry sauce, you’ll be amazed by how easy it is to get the best results. And you will probably never go back to the store-bought kind again.

Cranberry sauce in a bowl with a spoon

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This cranberry sauce is easy to make and delicious.


  • One 12-oz. package of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar


    1. Rinse the cranberries and set them aside to drain.
    2. Pour the orange juice into a medium-sized saucepan. Bring it to a boil on high heat.
    3. Stir in the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
    4. Add the cranberries and cook for 10-12 minutes. The berries will pop open, so I cover the saucepan with a splatter guard.
    5. Remove from the heat and stir. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes and then pour it into a bowl. Let it cool to room temperature before you refrigerate it.


If you like sweeter cranberry sauce, add 1/4 cup more sugar.

Other items you may add include lemon or orange zest, cinnamon, or vanilla.

Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 104Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1mgCarbohydrates 27gFiber 1gSugar 23gProtein 0g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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Miz Helen

Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

This looks like a great recipe for cranberry sauce! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and come back to see us real soon! Miz Helen

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