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Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Updated on November 14, 2012
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Homemade Cranberry Sauce | Source
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Cook Time

Prep time: 24 hours
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 24 hours 20 min
Yields: About 1 cup (8 ounces)

DO you like Cranberry sauce in the jelly or chunky style?

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Cranberry sauce, for as long as I can remember—or more specifically—as far back as I can remember, always came out of a can. It was chunky (with fruit) or it was jellied, like strawberry Jell-O. And I never really liked it. My brother loves it for thanksgiving dinner. It is one of those things that many people feel truly “completes” a holiday meal.

Everyone has heard these statements before: “This thanksgiving just isn’t thanksgiving without the cranberry sauce with the turkey!” or, “This just isn’t Christmas without cinnamon and nutmeg in the apple cider!” -- That sort of thing.

(I can’t really explain why I never was a fan of cranberry sauce, because I really like cranberries. Not simply fresh ones, but cranberries juice; the real cranberry juice, not that “cranberry cocktail” you get at the store which is mostly “other fruit juice” with a “hint” of cranberry, but real cranberry juice.)

But the jelly log was never my thing, neither was the chunky kind (I really hated the chunks of fruit; it reminded me too much of the family Jell-O with the grapes and bananas in it--disgusting).

But, I always try to make food for the family that everyone will enjoy and since my brother is a fan of cranberry sauce, I decided to make it fresh instead of that nasty jiggling log.

Interestingly enough, my homemade cranberry sauce is actually a sauce, not a chunky or jellied side dish. You can actually pour it over the turkey and stuffing. It wasn’t what I was originally shooting for when I first made it, (I was hoping for the jelly mold) but it never congealed, but it tasted really good and my brother liked it a lot and I actually enjoyed it as well.

For this recipe it is really important that you have fresh cranberries. I know it can be difficult getting them depending on where you live, but fresh is best (if you can only get frozen, it will do, but make sure they are completely thawed and at room temperature).

Also, this is a really simple process. Very few ingredients, but you’ll need to make it at least one day (and up three days—for freshness) in advance, and you can freeze it (in an airtight freezer container) for up to six months.

Needed ingredients
Needed ingredients | Source


-16 ounces (2 cup) of fresh ripe Cranberries.

-1 cup (or just 1/2 cup) of White Sugar, depending on how sweet you want it.

-1 Lemon for the zest of one lemon and the juice of one lemon or: 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest.

-1 Orange for the zest of one orange and the juice of one orange or: 2 tablespoons (one ounce)fresh orange juice and 1 teaspoon orange zest.

-½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional).

Needed Kitchenware
Needed Kitchenware | Source


-One medium sauce pot, for cooking the ingredients.

-One fine mesh strainer, for straining the finished cranberry sauce.

-One zester, for zesting the lemon and the orange.

-One potato masher, for mashing the cooked cranberries.

Zesting the lemon and orange
Zesting the lemon and orange | Source
All ingredients in the pot
All ingredients in the pot | Source
Mashing the cooked cranberries
Mashing the cooked cranberries | Source
Straining the sauce from the pulp
Straining the sauce from the pulp | Source


1. Thoroughly wash the cranberries and make sure to pick out and remove any stems.

2. Wash and dry both the lemon and the orange.

3. Zest the entire lemon.

4. Zest the entire orange.

5. Squeeze as much juice from the lemon as possible (remove any seeds and pulp).

6. Squeeze as much juice from the orange as possible (remove any seeds and pulp).

7. Pour the washed cranberries into the sauce pot.

8. Pour in the zest, juice, sugar, and vanilla extract.

9. Turn the stove top on to medium heat.

10. Stir all the ingredients together

11. Allow the cranberries to cook on the stove top until they “pop” or burst open (about 15-20 minutes, maybe less depending on whether your range is gas or electric).

12. Stir the ingredient together again.

13. Remove pot from heat.

14. Using the potato masher, mash the cranberries to squeeze all the juice from the berries.

15. Pour the mashed cranberry sauce through the mesh strainer into a sealable Tupperware bowl.

16. Seal the bowl and refrigerate the sauce for 24 hours to allow the sauce to “set up”. The sauce will not gelatinize, but the cooling time will allow the flavors to meld together for a better and complete tasting sauce.

17. When ready to serve, you may microwave it to bring it to room temperature or hotter if you desire.

18. Serve with turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes for a great holiday meal!

Chunky Cranberry Sauce
Chunky Cranberry Sauce | Source


If you prefer your cranberry sauce chunky, you can follow the same directions, but instead of straining after cooking, simply pour the chunky sauce into a sealable bowl, seal it, and let it cool in the fridge. It will thicken over the 24 hour period (because of the cranberry pulp from the fruit).


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    • Edgar Arkham profile image

      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      Thank you for reading!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      This is easy and I always like easy. Great recipe..Will do this one.