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Cranberry Sauce Recipe (Ready In 5-Minutes!)

This 5-minute cranberry sauce recipe calls for both fresh and dried cranberries to make it a tart, sweet, and jammy side dish, with a dash of orange flavor for brightness.

Cranberry Sauce |

There are few, if any, Thanksgiving recipes that are tolerated straight from the can. Jellied cranberry sauce, in all its jiggly glory, may be the only exception, and in a pinch (hello turkey, brie, and cranberry grilled cheese) may even be considered acceptable. That is, only until you’ve tasted the sweet tang of this homemade cranberry sauce added to your forkful of the best juicy turkey with my mom’s classic stuffing. One bite and I promise you’ll never go back to canned cranberry sauce.

What’s unique about the recipe is it features two types of cranberries: Fresh cranberries for tartness and dried cranberries for texture and sweetness. It’s jammy with chunks of fruit that gets an extra bump with a hint of orange from grated orange zest, and if you’d like, orange liqueur. And this cranberry sauce recipe takes just 5 minutes to make. It’s the best cranberry sauce in my book, and Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without it.

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Cranberry Sauce ingredients |

What’s in This Cranberry Sauce

If you follow the recipe on the back of the bag of fresh cranberries, you’ll see three basic ingredients: Cranberries, sugar, and water or other liquid like orange juice. This recipe follows the same idea, but adds in dried cranberries that plump and soften as they cook down in the jammy sauce, adding more texture and sweetness to the sauce. I don’t add any spices to my cranberry sauce, but adding a cinnamon stick, fresh sage, or rosemary would be delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Fresh cranberries—for tartness
  • Dried cranberries—for sweetness
  • Sugar—you could use brown sugar if you wanted, or a mix of sugar and maple syrup
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • Orange for zesting—this adds complements the tartness of the cranberries without thinning the sauce.
  • Orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier, if desired—this adds an extra bump of citrus, but if you don’t care for the taste, you can leave it out.

Cranberry Sauce |

How to Make Cranberry Sauce

Making this cranberry sauce is super simple and takes mere minutes.

Here are instructions for how to make it:

Bring water, sugar, and kosher salt to a boil. Use a medium saucepan or pot (I like using one with a heavy bottom) to boil the water and dissolve the sugar and kosher salt.

Add the fresh and dried cranberries and orange zest and liqueur. Cook at a boil for a moment, then reduce to a simmer over medium heat and stir occasionally. The cranberries will soften and pop as they cook and release their natural pectin to make the jammy sauce, The fresh cranberries are cooked when the skins break and pop, and the dried cranberries plump and soften—this will take about 5 minutes.

The sauce thickens as it cools. Like any jam or sauce, the cranberry sauce thickens as it cools. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Cointreau and orange

Is Cranberry Sauce Healthy for You?

While cranberry sauce isn’t the most virtuous thing you could eat, it’s full of antioxidants, fiber, and immune-boosting Vitamin C. If you’re concerned about the sugar, you can always cut the amount down if you’d like.

Make It Ahead of Time

This homemade cranberry sauce will stay good in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, making it a perfect task to make ahead of the big serving day.

Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

Yes, you can freeze cranberry sauce. Transfer to an airtight container or Ziploc gallon bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To use, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Cranberry Sauce |

What Is the Difference Between Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Relish?

The main difference is cranberry sauce is cooked, while cranberry relish is typically not. Cranberry relish is often finely chopped in a food processor and sometimes has nuts and citrus peel. Cranberry sauce is a thicker consistency (closer to a jelly).

Do You Serve Cranberry Sauce Hot or Cold?

Serving this cranberry sauce hot, cold, or at room temperature is totally up to you, but it’s traditionally served chilled from the fridge (and that’s how I like it). If you need to reheat it, simply do so in the microwave.

Ideas for Leftover Cranberry Sauce

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with leftover cranberry sauce, here are some fun ideas for how to use it up:

  • Make a breakfast parfait with yogurt and granola
  • Spread it on melty brie cheese or add it to a cheese board
  • Mix with mayo and spread on leftover turkey sandwiches
  • Use in a bourbon or gin cocktail
  • Use in a vinaigrette for salads
  • Add to grilled cheese sandwiches or paninis
  • Spoon over pound cake

Cranberry Sauce |

What to Serve With Cranberry Sauce

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

Cranberry Sauce |


Cranberry Sauce

This homemade cranberry sauce calls for both fresh and dried cranberries to make it tart, sweet, and jammy with a dash of orange flavor.

Course sauce

Cuisine American

Keyword cranberry sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 5 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Servings 16

Calories 72kcal


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries , 12 ounces
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange flavor liqueur , optional, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier


  • In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring sugar, water, and kosher salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in the fresh and dried cranberries, orange zest, and orange flavor liqueur. Bring to a boil then reduce to a rolling simmer. Cook until the fresh cranberries soften and pop open, and the sauce thickens and becomes jammy, about 5 minutes. Set aside and cool before serving.


Cranberry sauce can be made up to 1-2 weeks ahead. 
Freeze in an airtight container or freezer ziploc bag for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight. 


Calories: 72kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

Cranberry Sauce |

More Cranberry Recipe Ideas

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