The BEST Cranberry Sauce!

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I’m quite embarrassed at how long it took me to fall in love with cranberry sauce. I remember grimacing at that cylindrical mold my mom placed amongst our Thanksgiving spread. For the life of me, I just couldn’t understand why my family liked the stuff. I was well into my 20’s when I finally decided to give the stuff a chance. I visited a restaurant that boasted its “homemade cranberry sauce”. Yeah, okay. Long story longer, I loaded my spoon up with dressing and quickly dipped it into this infamous sauce. Yep. Hooked. And now I’ll get you hooked on my HOMEMADE cranberry sauce recipe!

Why do cranberries have to look so good? The color alone rams me into the holiday spirit! If this is your first time making cranberry sauce, prepare to be amazed. I never imagined it being this easy! 
Back to the berries. Rinse them well. They may be some bad ones in bunch. So, be sure to investigate, scoop them out, and trash them. Nothing like a mouthful of rotten berry taste. Don’t do that.

Suga, Suga

Not much to see here. I don’t want overly sweet sauce with my turkey. You need to preserve a little bit of that cranberry tang to balance out the flavor. I use mainly granulated sugar. But, I can’t help but to drop a little brown sugar on there. You know it’s worth it. 

SWEETS NEED SALT! Can’t stress this point enough! Omitting the salt leaves a void in the taste. Have you ever eaten a dessert and thought, “It’s good. But, something is missing.” It’s the damn salt! Salted butter exists for a reason, folks. Don’t be afraid to add a pinch of salt to your sweets. That’s why your tastes buds cry tears of joy when a drop of syrup from your pancakes falls on a piece of your bacon. Am I right? 

Water or Juice?

Now, what do you think? I’m choosing juice every time! Cranberry sauce is so adventurous. You can add pretty much any flavored juice to it and it’s like, “Yeah. I’m with it!” Love that for it. Pineapple juice makes all things tastier. It’s my favorite, so I’ll always choose it first. You’ll be glad I did when you try this recipe. 

However, oranges are besties with cranberries. They’re so compatible. They just get each other, you know? Make sure you do the squeezing! There’s nothing like fresh OJ! I like to add orange zest to it as well. My family doesn’t favor it, so I just add it to my portion before serving. If your family has better taste than mine, include the zest during the cooking portion of this recipe. 

Make it Ahead

This is one dish you can prepare one week before serving and forget about it. Chill it well before serving. After cooking, make sure it cools completely before transferring it into a container and popping it into the fridge.

The Best Cranberry Sauce!

The perfect mix of sweet and tart to complement your holiday dressing, stuffing, and turkey. Fresh fruit and bright flavors combine for the ideal cranberry sauce!
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice


  • 1 tsp bourbon
  • Orange zest


  1. Rinse and drain the cranberries
  2. Discard any damaged or rotten berries
  3. In a saucepan, whisk the sugar, cinnamon, salt, and juices together well.
  4. Bring to a boil while stirring
  5. Add the cranberries
  6. Return to a boil
  7. Lower the heat
  8. Simmer for 10 mins; stir occasionally
  9. Remove from the heat
  10. Optional: stir in the bourbon and orange zest
  11. Allow sauce to cool at room temperature
  12. Refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving
  13. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Sauce can be refrigerated for up to one week in an air tight container.