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How To Make and Can Your Own Cranberry Sauce

Updated on November 26, 2010
Boil the cranberries.
Boil the cranberries.
Puree the cranberries.
Puree the cranberries.
Strain the cranberries.
Strain the cranberries.
Back in the pot with sugar.
Back in the pot with sugar.
Cranberries sheeting on the spoon.
Cranberries sheeting on the spoon.
Filling jars.
Filling jars.
In the canner.
In the canner.
Finished product, so pretty!
Finished product, so pretty!

I have been eating cranberry sauce from a can for as long as I can remember. I love it! It is a staple at holidays and a treat year round that I would stock up on in the fall at rock bottom prices. This has now changed. In our quest to eat healthier I have banned High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) from our house. Last year when I pulled out the cranberry sauce for our Thanksgiving dinner I was very disappointed to see the second ingredient was HFCS. I knew then that I would have to figure out how to make my own.

When cranberries hit their lowest price of the season last week I stocked up. I bought sixteen bags, although in the end I only used twelve for four batches of cranberry sauce. Here is exactly what I did to net us 15 pints of cranberry sauce. Cranberries have so much natural pectin in them that you don't need to add any.

Ingredients for one batch of cranberry sauce, yields four pints.

3 (12 oz) bags cranberries

4 cups sugar

3.5 cups of water


  1. Wash cranberries and pick out any bad ones.
  2. Put cranberries and water into a large pot and boil for a few minutes until the skins start popping. You can hear as well as see this.
  3. Puree the cranberries. I used a hand held immersion blender and it took just a couple of minutes.
  4. Strain. I started by using a cheesecloth, but it quickly got clogged and nothing would strain through. I found a better option was my large strainer. I was pleased to discover that I got a very smooth cranberry sauce without a lot of pulp leftover to discard. There was very little waste.
  5. Pour the cranberry puree back into the pot and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve.
  6. Stir constantly and boil until it is almost at the gelling point - when the sauce comes off the spoon in sheets. I tried to capture a picture of this so you could tell what it should look like.
  7. Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
  8. Cap with a fresh lid and ring and twist tight.
  9. Place in canner and once the water is boiling, process for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from canner carefully, do not tip the jars or they may leak.
  11. Admire your beautiful cranberry sauce while it cools. Do not move the jars for 24 hours. Before putting the jars away gently press in the center to make sure the lids are sealed.

After I figured out the straining of the cranberries the cranberry sauce was fairly easy to make. There are many steps but it goes quickly. By the fourth batch I felt like a pro, although I'm really not. It took me a total of four hours start to finish for four batches. Now we get to enjoy our own cranberry sauce all year long and it is much better for us. If you haven't tried making your own yet, I hope you will soon, it is delicious!


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    • LaniK profile image

      LaniK 6 years ago from Minnesota

      This looks so delicious! I can't wait to try it, thanks for a great recipe!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

      Thanks Jennifer.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Great advice and very well written. Thank you.

    • Jennifer profile image

      Jennifer 7 years ago

      Lady Guinever, if you like it chunky, then just skip the straining part. Should be just what you want.

    • profile image

      Michelle 7 years ago

      Great how to article.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

      I want to try this too! I have a hub on the Aple Butter that I just learned how to can this year and made a bunch of that. I am wondering if I could use Splenda or Stevia to sweeten the cranberries instead. Oh and would definately not do it totally pureed because I like some of the pulp. I didn't realize this until I made my Nectarine-Apple Butter and the frozen nectarines still had their skins on and didn't puree too wel but I liked it in the end anyway!

      I will spread this around and voted it up and useful! Thanks a bunch!!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Jennifer, I'll have to try your cranberry sauce recipe. I too, have been trying to eat healthier. It's been years since I home canned but I'm willing to give it a try.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Lovely hub - looks so yummy. I love your step by step instructions and photographs of making your own cranberry sauce. My family will love it!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      It is obvious you have done your homework. Well documented and pleasing to see and read...

    • Shelly McRae profile image

      Shelly McRae 7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great article, Jennifer. Well illustrated. I'm going to give this a try.

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 7 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Great article. The pictures are useful for step by step instructions - and what a great idea for a Christmas gift or hostess gift!

    • EinsFloW profile image

      EinsFloW 7 years ago

      Great photos and well explained. :-)

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      I Like cranberry sauce but they don't sell it where I am. Yesterday I found some packed dried cramberries. I wonder if I could try to make a sauce from it. I suppose I'll just need to try and see what comes out :-)

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 7 years ago

      I have also bought only the canned cranberry sauce for years.Thats all I new.Then my wife started making her version of homemade cranberry sauce without the jelly and left the skins in.I love it because this is better for you.I found it sweeter.I showed off your recipe and how you not only make it but can it.We are both excited and can't wait to try it.Thank you so much.We heard before canning is a pain in the butt.Is that true?

    • Specialk3749 profile image

      Karen Metz 7 years ago from Michigan

      I love cranberry sauce and did not think about the HFCS in it. I will "have" to try making my own since I am also trying to eat healthier. Thanks for the recipe!