easy homemade cranberry sauce



Introducing the ultimate easy homemade cranberry sauce! It is an absolute must-have for your Thanksgiving feast. This cranberry sauce is easy to prepare and can conveniently be made in advance. With the addition of zesty orange peel and juicy mandarin oranges, this sauce achieves a perfect harmony that beautifully complements the cranberries. The result is a balanced sauce that’s simply incredible! Trust me, this cranberry sauce is sure to become a cherished tradition at your Thanksgiving table. Don’t miss out on this holiday essential!

Why You Will Love This Cranberry Sauce

  • This homemade cranberry sauce is easy to make!
  • The addition of orange zest and mandarin oranges add so much flavor.
  • It is such a great addition to a Thanksgiving feast.
  • This cranberry sauce can be made sugar-free.
  • You can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.

Ingredients For Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients for homemade cranberry sauce
  • Cranberries: Use one bag of fresh cranberries.
  • Mandarin Oranges: One small can of mandarin oranges add a citrusy and bright flavor.
  • Salt: Just a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors.
  • Water: To make this cranberry sauce the ideal consistency.
  • Cinnamon: Add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for flavor.
  • Orange Zest: Brightens the sauce and complements the flavor of the cranberries.
  • Vanilla: Add vanilla extract for flavor.
  • Sweetener: Use your sweetener of choice or a sugar-free sweetener to sweeten this sauce.

How To Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Step 1: First, zest an orange. Then, add the fresh cranberries, drained mandarin oranges, salt, water, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, orange zest, vanilla extract, and sweetener of choice to a saucepan.

cranberry sauce with orange

Step 2: Let the ingredients in the saucepan simmer and mash the cranberries once they start to crack.

Cranberry sauce recipe

Step 3: Then, let the sauce refrigerate overnight in an airtight container and enjoy!

homemade cranberry sauce

What To Serve With Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving tradition. Here are some ways to serve this cranberry sauce:

  • With Turkey: Serve this cranberry sauce alongside turkey or our turkey stuffing meatballs!
  • Chicken, Ham, or Pork: This sauce is also delicious with chicken, ham, and pork.
  • Toast: Think of this cranberry sauce as a jam that can be spread on toast and bread.
  • Greek Yogurt: Enjoy some of this cranberry sauce with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Ice Cream: It’s delicious warmed up over ice cream.

How To Store Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Refrigerate: Store cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Freeze: You can store this cranberry sauce in the freezer. Let it cool, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and freeze for 2-3 months.

Expert Tips

  • How To Sweeten Cranberry Sauce: Use your sweetener of choice for this recipe. Some options include sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or your favorite sugar-free sweetener.
  • Make Ahead: You can make this cranberry sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator so it is ready to go.
  • Crush The Cranberries: Once the cranberries start to crack, mash them with a potato masher or leave them as is.
  • Refrigerate Overnight: It is best to let this sauce refrigerate overnight before enjoying it. Refrigerating it allows the flavors to intensify.
  • Add The Orange: Add the mandarin oranges and orange zest to this recipe for the ultimate depth of flavor in this sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Cranberry Sauce Have A Lot Of Sugar?

Most store-bought cranberry sauces have a lot of sugar! This homemade cranberry sauce can be made sugar-free with a sugar-free sweetener.

Can Cranberry Sauce Be Made Ahead Of Time?

Yes, the great thing about this homemade cranberry sauce is that it can be made ahead of time! We love making it a few days before Thanksgiving or whenever we want to enjoy it so it is ready to go. It is best to refrigerate cranberry sauce overnight or for at least 2 hours before serving.

How Long Does Homemade Cranberry Sauce Last?

Homemade cranberry orange sauce will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator. Make sure to store it in an air-tight container.

Can You Freeze Homemade Cranberry Sauce?

Yes, homemade cranberry sauce can be frozen. Let it cool before freezing it. It will last up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.

Is Cranberry Sauce Gluten-Free?

Yes, our homemade cranberry sauce is naturally gluten-free.

Is Cranberry Sauce Vegan?

Yes, this cranberry sauce recipe is naturally vegan.

More Recipes To Try Next!

If you try this recipe please be sure to leave us a comment and star rating ★★★★★ letting us know how it turns out for you. We hope you enjoy this homemade cranberry sauce!


Recipe by Shawna
5.0 from 2 votes
Course: SidesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





This is the ultimate homemade cranberry sauce! It is easy to prepare and can conveniently be made in advance. It is a must-have for your Thanksgiving feast!

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  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries (12 oz)

  • 1 small can no sugar added mandarin oranges (11 oz)

  • 1/8 TSP salt

  • 1/4 CUP water

  • 1 TSP cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 – 1 ½ TSP orange zest

  • 1 TSP vanilla extract

  • 1/3 – 1/2 CUP brown sugar, 1:1 sugar-free sweetener, or sweetener of choice


  • Zest the orange. Then, drain the no sugar added mandarin oranges.
  • Add the fresh cranberries, drained mandarin oranges, salt, water, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, orange zest, vanilla extract, and sweetener of choice to a saucepan.
  • Let the ingredients simmer in the saucepan over low heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. After that, the cranberries will start to crack. Mash them with a potato masher until the desired consistency is achieved or leave them whole. Let the sauce simmer for 3-5 more minutes.
  • Let the sauce cool at room temperature or place it in the refrigerator before serving. We like to refrigerate the sauce overnight.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups of cranberry sauce.
  • The recipe makes 6 servings and the WW points are per serving.
  • WW Points™: 0 points  *if you use a sugar-free sweetener
  • To see your WW Points™ in the WW app for this recipe click here! Or, please manually add the ingredients to the recipe builder.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently. It could vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used.

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Nutrition Facts

6 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories53
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 0g 0%
    • Saturated Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 53mg 3%
  • Total Carbohydrate 10.6g 4%
    • Dietary Fiber 2.7g 8%
    • Sugars 6.8g
  • Protein 0.3g 0%

    * The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


    1. This is a delicious, easy and healthy recipe for cranberry sauce! It’s now my go-to recipe when I have fresh cranberries. I only had a larger can of mandarin oranges, so used the entire can….no problems with the end result! The leftovers were used in my morning oatmeal. Thank you!

      • Hi Kathy, thank you so much for letting us know! We are so glad the cranberry sauce turned out great, it makes us so happy to hear! 🙂 I love the idea of putting some in oatmeal that sounds delicious! Thank you for the support!

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