Make this rich and flavorful homemade cranberry sauce from scratch in just 20 minutes with only 4 ingredients! Cranberry sauce is a must-have side at your Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas table, and its vibrant color and tart and sweet taste makes it irresistible! Also gluten-free and vegan!
What is Cranberry Sauce?
We’re officially in November, and that means Thanksgiving and the holiday season will be here before we know it! This is my absolute favorite part of the year, and because it means gathering with family and friends, and being in great company as we enjoy delicious food. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, you’re probably already familiar with cranberry sauce (also known as cranberry jam).
For those of you don’t know what cranberry sauce is, it’s basically a sauce or a relish made from cranberries, and is often served as a condiment or a side dish at Thanksgiving dinner in North America and at Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom and Canada. While the main ingredients are mainly the same (including cranberries, sugar and water), it is usually more sour and tart in taste in Europe, while it’s generally sweeter in North America.
Easy Cranberry Sauce from Scratch
While you can easily buy the store-bought version of cranberry jam, it often comes with additives and preservatives that I’d rather not have. You also know that I’m a big proponent of anything homemade – from homemade bread, to homemade almond milk, to homemade chocolate, and even homemade apricot jam.
Naturally, I also prefer making cranberry sauce from scratch, which is really way easier than it sounds!
Why This Recipe Works
All you need are just 4 simple ingredients and literally 20 minutes to prepare a batch of this deliciously flavorful cranberry sauce recipe. Plus it’s also naturally gluten-free and vegan, so it’s the perfect recipe to accompany other dishes!
I guarantee you that once you start making your own, you’ll never go back to buying it – because it doesn’t get any fresher and delicious than this! Make a bowl for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner this holiday season, and wait for your guests to pile on the praises.
Ingredients You’ll Need + Notes/Substitutions
- Sugar: I used white sugar in this cranberry jam recipe, but if you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend using Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute that has zero glycemic index).
- Water: I always try to use filtered water when cooking if possible.
- Lemon Juice: I like using fresh lemon juice, but you can also use fresh orange juice in equal quantities.
- Cranberries: I prefer using fresh cranberries when possible, but you can also use equal amounts of frozen cranberries if that’s what you have on hand. If you can’t find frozen or fresh cranberries, simply use 3/4 cup of unsweetened dried cranberries (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes) in place of the fresh cranberries specified.
How to Make Cranberry Sauce From Scratch
1. Mix and Dissolve:
In a large pot, place sugar and water and bring mixture to a boil until sugar is totally dissolved.
When the mixture starts boiling, add cranberries and lemon juice and return to a boil. Next, bring the heat down to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for around 15 to 20 minutes until it has achieved a thick jam-like consistency.
3. Transfer to Jar
Let the sauce cool down to room temperature before transferring it to a sterilized glass jar.
- Halves the Fresh Cranberries: I find that cutting the fresh cranberries in halves helps them to release their juices better.
- Lemon Juice: I like how the tartness of the fresh lemon juice brightens up and makes the cranberry sauce lighter and more vibrant. If you prefer a sweeter and less tart version, simply leave out the lemon juice.
Since fresh cranberry sauce does not contain any preservatives, you will definitely have to refrigerate it so it doesn’t go bad. Simply store it an airtight glass jar and it will keep fresh for up to 10 to 14 days in the fridge.
Yes! You can definitely freeze this cranberry sauce. Store it in a freezer-proof container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
If you like your sauce really thick, let it simmer for a little while more on the stove, so that more of the liquid cooks off. If it’s still not thick enough for your liking, you can add a 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken it.
Other Thanksgiving Recipes You’ll Enjoy:
- Gluten-free Cranberry Bread Pudding
- Cranberry and Walnut Tart (Gluten-Free)
- Easy Rosemary Cornbread (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
- Jalapeño Cornbread (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
- Gluten-Free Skillet Cornbread
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Parmesan (Gluten-Free)
- Crispy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Rosemary and Parsley (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- Roasted Delicata Squash Salad (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Holiday Recipes to Indulge In:
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- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups fresh cranberries, cut into halves
- Mix and Dissolve: In a large pot, place sugar and water and bring mixture to a boil until sugar is totally dissolved.
- Simmer: When mixture starts boiling, place cranberries and lemon juice in and return to a boil, then bring the heat down to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for around 15 minutes until it has achieved a thick jam-like consistency.
- Transfer: Let the sauce cool down to room temperature before transferring it to a sterilized glass jar.
Sugar: I used white sugar in this recipe, but if you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend using Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute that has zero glycemic index).
Water: I always try to use filtered water (or mineral water) when cooking if possible.
Lemon Juice: I like using fresh lemon juice, but you can also use fresh orange juice in equal quantities.
Cranberries: I prefer using fresh cranberries when possible, but you can also use equal amounts of frozen cranberries if that’s what you have on hand. If you can’t find frozen or fresh cranberries, simply use 3/4 cup of unsweetened dried cranberries (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes) in place of the fresh cranberries specified.
Storing/Freezing: If not eating the cranberry sauce immediately, store it in an airtight glass jar and keep in the fridge for between 10 to 14 days. To freeze, place the sauce in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Thickening the Sauce: If you like your cranberry sauce very thick, let it simmer for a few minutes more over the stove so that more of the liquid cooks off. If it’s still not thick enough, you can add one teaspoon of cornstarch and mix the sauce well until it thickens sufficiently.
Adapted from: Simply Recipes
- Category: Sauces
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: homemade cranberry sauce