Real cranberry sauce does not come in a can. It is not shaped like a cylinder, and it does not jiggle like Jell-O. If this is the kind of cranberry sauce you eat with your turkey and mashed potatoes every Thanksgiving, then you truly do not know what you are missing.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Making your own cranberry sauce is about the easiest thing you can do. First, you will need 3 ingredients. Yes, for a simple cranberry sauce, you only need 3 ingredients!


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups cranberries

Once you have your 3 ingredients, you will follow 3 simple steps.


  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add cranberries, and return mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes or to desired consistency.

That's it! Once the sauce cools, it's ready to eat!

More Than a Simple Sauce

Once you know how to make a basic cranberry sauce, you can alter the recipe to suit your tastes. You can also use the cranberry sauce in a wide variety of dishes — don't limit yourself to just Thanksgiving dinner.

A few tips for making and using cranberry sauce:

  • Some cooks prefer to cook the cranberries in orange or apple juice instead of water.
  • You can always add more ingredients. Add orange zest, cinnamon, or even other fruits such as raisins or blueberries to the sauce while it's simmering.
  • For a truly fancy cranberry sauce, try this version that includes ginger and Chinese 5-spice powder and is cooked in Pinot Noir.
  • Cranberry sauce isn't just for turkey. You can also serve it on top of pork or just about any other meat. It is also good on pancakes or waffles for breakfast.
  • Add leftover cranberry sauce to your post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches.
  • Make a cranberry apple pie. Apples and cranberries are a delicious combination.

The health benefits of eating cranberries are well-documented, but for maximum benefit, you really need to eat the real thing. Next time you're tempted to buy cranberry sauce in a can, remember how simple (and how much healthier) it is to make your own.