the BEST Cranberry Sauce

Did you grow up on cranberry sauce from the can, like me? Until I was an adult, I thought cranberry sauce came shaped like a tin can and had ridges in it. To be honest, I most likely had homemade cranberry sauce somewhere and didn’t realize what it was I was eating. My brain would have processed it as coming from a different brand of canned stuff because that was all I knew. I had seen my mom and Grandma open the tin can, dump it into a bowl, and squish it around to look legit.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Until years later when I married Nate and was over at my in-laws helping prepare for Thanksgiving. And oh. my. gosh… cranberries come in a bag? In the produce department?

Does homemade cranberry sauce need to be refrigerated?

Yes, you should put it into the fridge shortly after being made. It can hang out in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. In fact, it cranberry sauce can even be frozen.

It felt like a landmark moment. Frankly, making Thanksgiving dinner that first year was filled with landmark moments of homemade rolls (homemade bread is another I’m proud to have mastered!), gravy, stuffing, and more. Overwhelming stuff for a city girl raised on Kool-aid and Spaghettio’s.

easy homemade cranberry sauce

I am proud to say that after 21 years of marriage I have mastered homemade cranberry sauce for my own family. In fact, until creating this video and recipe for all of you I didn’t realize how far I’ve come from that young person that thought all cranberry sauce, gravy, and stuffing came from cans and boxes.

How do you make cranberry sauce less tart?

Sugar. Simply add a bit more sugar or honey to cut the tartness of the cranberries.

Don’t be fooled… homemade cranberry sauce is very easy to make. In fact, I am not quite sure why the canned variety still lives on. No, that’s not true…because there are plenty of people that don’t know how to make the homemade version :). I can relate.

But let me tell you, it is easy to make! If you have never tried making anything for the Thanksgiving dinner homemade…try cranberry sauce this year. Your house will smell amazing, it is so crazy pretty, it takes only a few easy ingredients, and you really will get a kick at how fun it was to make. Superstar!

Should cranberry sauce be cold when served?

Sure, or at room temperature. You most likely don’t want to serve it warm. Cold or at room temperature is the best way to serve cranberry sauce.

By the way, this is the easiest of easy recipes. You can totally jazz it up with a bit of cinnamon and cloves, raisins, ginger, or whatever you like.

If you have never made cranberry sauce before, this is a great recipe to start with!

easy homemade cranberry sauce

the Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce

| 8 (1/4 cup)
Prep Time | 10 minutes
Cook Time | 20 minutes
Total Time | 30 minutes
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easy homemade cranberry sauce


  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • lemon juice
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.


  • Pour ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Lower to a simmer and boil gently for 10 minutes or until mixture thickens.
  • Add a splash of lemon juice and more sugar until sweetened to taste.



Calories: 60kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 21mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 15IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 1mg

Have leftovers from the big meal? Here are my fave ways to use them:

Turkey Crescent Bundles | My Grandma made these the day after Thanksgiving and they are still my absolute fave.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich | Hands down the most fun way to use up leftovers is by making a sandwich. And it is sooo tasty!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Bar | Create a leftovers bar and send them home with guests. This is especially great for those older family members.

baked Brie & Cranberries | As if there would be any of your cranberries left. But, in case…this is warm, sweet, salty, and EASY!

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