Easy recipe for homemade cranberry sauce! Whole berry or jellied, with only 3 ingredients. Keep it simple or jazz it up with add-ins!

Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe

*This post originally published on November 20, 2013. I thought it was due for an update! So, I’ve included new photos, added a how-to video, and given some more detailed instructions and tips for success. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this cranberry sauce recipe as much I do!*

I’m working furiously to get all the best Thanksgiving dinner recipes up before the holiday! Have you noticed?

In the last few weeks, I’ve shared my favorite Pumpkin Pie recipe, a fabulous recipe for soft Homemade Crescent Rolls, and our go-to Pecan Pie.

And today I’m so excited to bring you this easy homemade cranberry sauce.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Have you ever thought about making cranberry sauce from scratch? In my family, we always just had the canned kind. Honestly, I thought it tasted pretty good!

But as I started to learn more about cooking, I realized how simple and quick it is to make it homemade. It’s only 3 ingredients! And it takes less than an hour!

So worth it to have a homemade dish on your holiday table! Plus this is just so pretty, don’t you think?


Cranberry sauce is an easy side dish that’s often served at holiday meals, along with roast turkey and dressing. It’s made with just a few simple ingredients, and only requires about 5 minutes of prep.

What does it taste like?

Cranberry sauce has a tart & tangy, fruity berry flavor, with a slight bitter edge. It’s a great compliment to rich foods because the natural acidity sort of cleanses the palate and provides a counterpoint to all the savoriness.


You are going to love how easy it is to make your own cranberry sauce.

All you have to do is simmer the whole cranberries in a pot with some water and sugar. After a little while, you’ll notice that the berries have burst and the juices look thick and syrupy.

If you like a chunkier, whole-berry sauce, you can stop right there! Just transfer it to an airtight container and pop it in the fridge to chill.

But if you’re like my family, and you prefer the smooth, jellied cranberry sauce, there’s one more simple step. Just pass the mixture through a food mill or strain it with a sieve, discarding the pulp.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe from Scratch


You don’t need to add anything extra to thicken this. There’s no pectin or gelatin or anything like that required!

Fresh cranberries already naturally contain everything needed to thicken up and gel. Just let it boil for a good 40 or 50 minutes, and it will reduce by about 30%. The cranberry sauce will thicken even more and become solid as it cools.


This cranberry sauce has just 3 simple ingredients, and not one of them contains a single trace of gluten or dairy.

It’s completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan, so you can rest assured that everyone at your holiday feast can enjoy!


Cranberry sauce can be served chilled or at room temperature.

It’s most widely known as a Thanksgiving side dish. It provides the perfect bright and tangy contrast to turkey, stuffing, gravy, and all those other rich foods. I like to dab a little on every bite, like a condiment!

But you can totally eat this all year round. It’s great served with Swedish meatballs, roast chicken, salmon, or meat loaf!

Whether you go the whole berry or jellied route, you can keep it pure and simple, or jazz it up and make it your own. Some great add-ins might include:

  • the zest of an orange
  • a cinnamon stick
  • a few slices of fresh ginger
  • a finely minced jalapeno pepper
  • a handful of toasted pecans
  • some crunchy diced apple or pear
  • a little chopped red onion

Or anything else your heart desires! The options are limitless.


If you’re looking to get ahead on your Thanksgiving meal prep, this is a great dish for making ahead.

Once it’s cooked and fully cooled, cover it tightly and keep it refrigerated. See below for more info on how long it is good for.


This homemade cranberry sauce should stay good at room temperature for at least a few hours, and it will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Or you can freeze it! Place it in an airtight container, and it should last for a couple of months in the freezer. (Be aware that as it thaws it may give off some juice. If it’s too watery, just drain away any excess liquid.)

Easy Jellied Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Give this homemade cranberry sauce a try! It’s so easy, and looks so much prettier than canned!

This post contains affiliate sales links.

Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe
5 stars (4 ratings)

Cranberry Sauce

Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
Easy recipe for homemade cranberry sauce! Whole berry or jellied, with only 3 ingredients.


  • 30 ounces (850.49 g) cranberries, , fresh
  • 2 1/2 cups (500 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (591.47 g) water


  • Place the cranberries, sugar, and water in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a low boil.
  • Continue to boil, stirring, until the cranberry sauce is reduced by about a third (approx. 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Pass the sauce through a food mill (optional- if making smooth cranberry sauce).  
  • Discard the pulp and pour the liquid into a lightly greased 3-cup capacity bundt pan.
  • Chill for 4 hours (or overnight). 
Serving: 0.083batch, Calories: 193kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 0.3g, Fat: 0.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 4mg, Potassium: 58mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 45g, Vitamin A: 43IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 0.2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Side Dish
Tried this recipe?Mention @bakingamoment on Instagram or tag #bakingamoment.
Close-up image of homemade cranberry sauce, with a text overlay reading "Homemade Cranberry Sauce."

Close-up image of homemade cranberry sauce, with a text overlay reading "Homemade Cranberry Sauce."

Close-up image of homemade cranberry sauce, with a text overlay reading "Homemade Cranberry Sauce."

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Easy recipe for homemade cranberry sauce! Whole berry or jellied, with only 3 ingredients. Done in 20 minutes. Keep it simple or jazz it up with add-ins!

Today I’m guest posting for Kat over at I Want Crazy.  I’ve gotten to know Kat a little bit through the TGIF Link Party, and we’re also in the Mystery Dish group together. She’s so nice and fun and I just love how her ideas are so simple, yet so creative and different! She posted this dip for me a few weeks ago when I was under the weather, and I couldn’t get over it! And neither could you guys; it was a huge hit.

I knew I really had to up my game for Kat’s readers, so I’m sharing this super-simple recipe for homemade cranberry sauce.  It’s only 3 ingredients!

I poured it into a mini-bundtlette pan to make it extra cute.  And I have some great ideas for add-ins you can use to jazz it up and make it your own!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

If you want to get a jump on your Thanksgiving cooking, this can be made ahead!  And these adorable little individual portions will bring your buffet table to the next level.  Pop on over to Kat’s blog to check out the post!

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  • Allie

    Allie is the creator and owner of Baking a Moment. She has been developing, photographing, videographing, and writing and sharing recipes here since 2012.