This fresh and delicious simple cranberry sauce is a holiday staple in most households and this recipe lets you make it from scratch in just a few simple steps.
The holiday season is just about here and that means it’s time to start planning for holiday dinners and parties. Cranberry sauce is a holiday tradition in many households. Homemade cranberry sauce is simple to make that once you try it you’ll never want to use canned again.
This simple cranberry sauce is perfect as a holiday side. It comes together in less than 30 minutes and only uses a few ingredients. It works well as a make-ahead dish to make your Thanksgiving prep just a little easier too.
I also cranberry sauce as a component in other dishes. It’s fantastic for breakfast in this Quinoa Breakfast Parfait and is great with warm brie for an easy holiday appetizer like these Cranberry Brie Tarts.
Can you make cranberry sauce ahead of time?
You can make cranberry sauce up to 3 days before you plan to serve it. I always make my cranberry sauce at least one day in advance because I feel like the flavors have more time to develop as they sit in the fridge. You can also freeze this cranberry sauce and then thaw and if you like, reheat, for use at a later time.
Do you serve cranberry sauce hot or cold?
I personally prefer it cold or at room temperature but it’s good warm too! So the choice is yours – there is no right or wrong answer to this one!
additional notes from the kitchen
- Keep a close eye on the cranberries as they are cooking. They will start to pop quickly so you want to be sure you remove from the heat just before they reach your desired consistency. The sauce will thicken up as it cools.
This traditional cranberry sauce gets some extra tanginess from the addition of fresh orange juice and orange zest.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- Add sugar, water and orange juice to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until small bubbles begin to form at the edges of the pan.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the cranberries and salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. The cranberries will begin to pop as they cook. Continue cooking until desired consistency is reached.
- Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest. Let cool before serving.
If you are serving as a side dish you can add a splash of ruby port when you add the orange zest.