Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce

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Homemade Cranberry Sauce with hints of orange and cinnamon can be served jelled, pureed, or as whole cranberry sauce. No matter how you serve it, this is one traditional dish you’ll want on the table at Thanksgiving.

Recipe Inspiration

Love it or hate it, that doesn’t seem to stop families all around the country from serving cranberry sauce on the table this Thanksgiving. Chances are those who don’t like cranberry sauce are serving canned, jelled cranberry sauce. But what if I told you that making cranberry sauce homemade is not only just as easy, but far superior to the canned stuff? Would I entice you enough to try it?

I’ve always been a fan, personally. And for me it doesn’t matter how it comes or really what recipe. Thanksgiving dishes are so heavy and full of fat (as in flavor) that we really do need a cut of acid that the cranberry sauce brings. If you’ve never tried the perfect bite of holiday food before – you know the one that has just a little bit of everything on it – then I encourage you to live on the wild side and try it, both with and without the cranberry sauce. The tart, sweet, acidic tang that balances out dishes like sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and perfectly cooked turkey is not something to miss.

This particular recipe comes as an adaptation of my Grandmother Lee’s famous cranberry sauce. Much like my Grandmother Joanne is known for her broccoli cheese casserole, my Grandmother Lee’s signature dish is her whole cranberry sauce that the family can’t help but rave about.

Now that I’ve enticed you enough, let’s get to the recipe that’s going to change the minds of those who previously didn’t like cranberry sauce. Hey, it’s 2021 – anything can happen.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

EASE: Quickly and easily make this on the stovetop in one pot.
PROS: Uses whole cranberries and real ingredients for the freshest dish possible.
BONUS: Can be made three ways to satisfy all the textures your guests love.
WOULD I MAKE THIS AGAIN? Every chance I get.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

  • Whole Cranberries
  • Oranges
  • Honey
  • Fresh Mint
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Bourbon

How to Make Cranberry Sauce Homemade

I’m giving you three ways to make this cranberry sauce and you don’t want to miss a single one! While texture is the biggest difference between the three, you’ll also see some variations in flavors. Have fun! Mix and match to your needs and desires. You can’t go wrong here.

Basic Whole Cranberry Sauce

The basic recipe combines whole fresh cranberries, fresh orange zest, orange juice, water, honey, and fresh mint into a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Stir and wait for the cranberries to audibly pop! Continue to stir until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Now you can serve as is and this would be considered whole cranberry sauce. Or put into a blender and puree to make pureed cranberry sauce. If you would prefer to remove the skin and seeds, just push it through a fine mesh strainer to get a beautifully glossy texture.

If you would like to turn the strained cranberry sauce into a jelled sauce, you can add 1 package of Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin to 4 cups of strained cranberry sauce over heat. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, skim off any foam, and process in a water bath canner. Now you can send home as gifts with leftovers for your guests!


Taste the cranberry sauce after you’ve made the basic version. From here, you can add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, bourbon, and/or even rosemary to give it a unique and signature taste.

Handy tip: Prepare Ahead!

You can absolutely prepare this ahead of time. I make this a few days ahead and store in the refrigerator in a mason jar with a twist top lid. The day of I remove from the refrigerator, remove the lid, and add a serving spoon. Easy enough!

Common Questions About Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Yes, in a freeze safe container or vacuum sealer bag it will last about 6 months in the freezer.

About 2 weeks in an airtight container.

If you’re looking to stay away from the artificial stuff, you can use honey. If you’re looking to go completely sugar-free, check out monk fruit sweetener. Monk fruit sweetener can be used as a direct replacement (1:1) for the sugar called for in any recipe. If you’re making a recipe with brown sugar, please check your local grocer for options near you.

You can use this as a sauce on ice cream, mixed with mayonnaise as a spread on a panini, over meatballs, and even swirled into cinnamon rolls. The options are quite endless. You could even rim a glass with pureed cranberry sauce, dip in sugar, and fill with a cranberry vodka for a special holiday drink.

Whichever way you like! There is no right or wrong here. Split the recipe in two and serve it both ways.

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Holiday Recipes

Dishes to impress your family no matter the occasion, but especially good during the holiday season.

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Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Course Holiday, Sauce, Side, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 16 servings
This Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe with hints of orange, fresh mint, and honey will be the perfect sweet, tangy addition to your Thanksgiving meal. Made three ways with multiple variations.


  • 3 quart dutch oven
  • rubber spatula
  • Measuring Cups
  • fine mesh strainer (optional)
  • blender (optional)


  • 2 pounds whole cranberries fresh
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 oranges zest and juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 mint leaves fresh

Optional Add-ins

  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 sprig rosemary fresh


  • Zest the oranges, then juice. Wash the whole cranberries and pick out any debri or spoiled berries.
  • Add all ingredients to a dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally for 15 minutes until berries have popped and sauce has thickened.
  • Serve as is for whole cranberry sauce, blend for pureed, or strain through a fine mesh strainer for silky pureed.
  • If making jelled cranberry sauce, return the sauce to the stovetop and bring to a boil. Add in a package of Sure-Jell for each 4 cups of cranberry sauce. Boil for just a few minutes, skimming the foam off the top. Process in a water bath canner.


Nutrition information calculated is based on the ingredients of the basic recipe with no optional add-ins. 
If you try this recipe, please let us know by rating it and leaving a review. 
More information and variation tips can be found in the associated post. 


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

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