Learn the technique behind making a homemade jellied cranberry sauce that will taste better than the store-bought stuff. Get our easy recipe for the holiday season.
This post includes affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. These are products and services I recommend because I use or trust them. Cookies will be used to track the affiliate links you click.
Countless homes across the nation are planning to open up a can of wiggly red sauce and throw it on a place with pride.
Canned cranberry sauce is the norm in most homes where a turkey is served.
But why work so hard on making all the homemade side dishes and pies and at the end just open up a can. To me Thanksgiving is about putting the love into the food and sharing that love with those that you love.
I want to be putting my best foot forward when it comes to all the food at the meal.
Even if you are a person who heavily relies on premade, convenience meals, Thanksgiving should be a time that you get your hands dirty in the kitchen.
Making your own cranberry sauce is really easy, it's not too time consuming and even the most novice cook can make it.
🚸 Why It's Easy
This is the first part of the Thanksgiving meal I would have my kids make as they learn to cook.
What makes it easy is that cranberries contain so much pectin (that stuff that makes jellies and jams thick) that you simply have to cook the cranberries and they will release their natural pectin and produce a cranberry jelly. The flavor is so much fresher and bolder than the canned stuff.
RELATED - When Can You Buy Fresh Cranberries
💰 Is It Cheaper?
This isn't one of those cases where you are going to save money by making homemade. Those cans are dirty cheap right at Thanksgiving time. The price of the canned stuff might be the same or less than to just buy the bags of fresh cranberries.
So don't do it thinking your going to save money. Do it because you are making a better sauce to share with your family and friends.
Homemade cranberry sauce can be as simple as three ingredients - fresh cranberries, sugar, and water. Most canned cranberry sauces save money by using high fructose corn syrup. A lot of people try to avoid this sweetener. In all likelihood you, that HFCS comes from GMO corn, another reason avoid it. I use a non-GMO sugar to make my cranberry sauce.
Here is what you will need to make the cranberry sauce.
- 12 oz fresh cranberries (most bags are 12 ounces)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
While this is enough to make a basic cranberry sauce, you can opt to add more flavor by using any of these ingredients.
- Ground Ginger
- Fresh Ginger
- Orange Zest
- Dried Orange Peel
- Orange Juice (replacing some or all the water)
- Apple Juice (replacing some or all the water)
- Maple syrup (reduce the sugar)
Something I like to do is add some mulling spices to the water I am going to use. Bring it to a boil, turn off the heat, and let it steep for 30 minutes. Then filter out the mulling spices. And now you have flavorful water to use.
For another take on this recipe, try my Ginger Ale Jellied Cranberry sauce.
In order to make this a jellied sauce without the skins or pieces of berry you are going to need some special equipment. But nothing fancy. A fine-mesh sieve and a large spoon will do the trick.
Something that is a little fancy that you could use is a food mill. I think it's easier to do. It does means more parts to clean and they take up more space. There is pros and cons to using either.
A food processor could be used as well, however you won't get the skins out, just make them smaller. And you will have to wait to do it when the sauce has cooled some but not enough too much. I don't really recommend using it but if that is all you got, give it a try.
Here is how to make the cranberry sauce.
In a large pot, bring the sugar and water to a boil. You really need to use a large pot. so that it doesn't boil over. It will be easier to stir too. Even if it seems like overkill go with the bigger pan.
Then dump in your cranberries. Reduce to medium heat until you have a gentle boil going.
Let the sauce cook for about 7 minutes or until it starts to gel. If you are unsure if it's done you can test it by placing a pate in the freezer with a little bit off the sauce on it. Wait a couple minutes and the check it, if the sauce does not quickly run down the plate it's ready.
When finished place a sieve over a large enough bowl and push all the sauce through until you have just the skins left. Some sauce will stick to the bottom of the sieve so make sure to scrap it off. You don't want to lose any of it.
But if you decide you want whole berry sauce, then you can skip the straining altogether, your sauce is already done. You could also make two batches, one of each if you have guests with different opinions on their cranberry sauce.
For a different type of "cranberry sauce" try our recipe for Cranberry Applesauce
Homemade Jellied Cranberry Sauce
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan.
- Add the cranberries and bring back to a boil.
- Turn the heat down until the mixture is boiling gently. If you let the mixture boil too hard you may end up with a mess on your hands.
- Let this boil for about 7 minutes until the sauce begins to gel.
- When finished push the mixture through a sieve to strain out the skins. This will produce a sauce must like that in a can, expect with a better, fresher flavor. You can skip this step if you like chunky sauce.
Your recipe only has 1 for the water. 1 what?
Sorry about that. Some how the word "cup" didn't translate when I changed formats. It's 1 cup of water, thus equal amounts of water and sugar.