Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Flavored with orange juice and orange zest, this cranberry sauce is a must on your holiday table.

Homemade cranberry sauce requires just a few ingredients and is a cinch to make. This version is flavored with orange juice and orange zest, which makes it a little more special for the holidays. Serve it with roast turkey, gravy, and all the other classic holiday dishes. If you have any leftover, try mixing it with some mayonnaise — cranberry-mayo is delicious on turkey sandwiches!

What you’ll need to make cranberry sauce

ingredients for cranberry sauce

How to make Cranberry sauce

Begin by zesting one of the oranges. A rasp grater is the best tool but any grater with small holes will work — just be sure to leave the white pith behind as it’s quite bitter. Always zest the orange before squeezing the juice out, as it’s near impossible to do afterwards.

zesting and juicing the oranges

Combine the orange juice, water and sugar in a medium pot and bring to a boil.

water, orange juice and sugar in a pot

Add the cranberries, orange zest and salt.

adding the cranberries, zest, and salt to the pot Boil gently for about 10 minutes.

boiling cranberry sauce

Most of the cranberries should burst open, creating a thick sauce. You may need to mash them a bit with a spoon.

finished cranberry sauce in pot

Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Cranberry Orange Sauce

Flavored with orange juice and orange zest, this cranberry sauce is a must on your holiday table.

Servings: 2-1/4 cups
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, from two oranges
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (do not use dried)
  • Zest of one orange, about 2 teaspoons
  • Pinch salt


  1. In a medium sauce pan over high heat, bring the orange juice, water and sugar to a boil. Add the cranberries, orange zest, and salt and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and boil gently for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of cranberries have burst open. (You may need to mash them a bit with a spoon.)
  2. Transfer sauce to a serving bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  3. Make-Ahead/Freezing Instructions: Cranberry sauce will keep for 10 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: about 1/3 cup
  • Calories: 126
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 33 g
  • Sugar: 28 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sodium: 43 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Yummy is my best review! 5+ stars.

    • — Judith A Thompson on January 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • A nice balance of the cranberries. 0range and sugar. There was no bitterness. (Be sure and avoid the white of the orange. )
    Guest asked for recipe.

    • — Yvonne on January 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made it for Thanksgiving, it was delicious. Everybody liked it and it taste very fresh. It is easy to make and you can make a few days early.

    • — Marta Barberree on December 18, 2019
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  • Love it and so did my family! The orange zest and juice put it over the top. Thank you.

    • — Judy Cerreti on November 30, 2019
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  • I am not a cranberry sauce fan in general but this is fantastic!!! I love the orange in it. Highly recommend!

    • — Kale Snyder on November 29, 2019
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  • This recipe was easy and delicious! I tried another recipe that called for 1/2 cup of sugar and it was tart. The extra two tablespoons made all the difference. Also appreciated the tip of zesting the orange before extracting the juice.

    • — Terry on November 28, 2019
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    • My Husband and I made this recipe and it was absolutely delicious. Definitely making it again. Love!

      • — Karen on December 17, 2019
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  • It’s okay. I doubled the recipe, but I had to add more sugar after I finished because it was too bitter still. I think this would be a good baseline to then play around with.

    • — Athena on November 27, 2019
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  • First time I’ve ever made a homemade cranberry sauce.
    So easy to make and delicious!
    The sweet-tart flavor will go great with the savory dressing tomorrow.

    • — Marcia Teas-Hicks on November 27, 2019
    • Reply
  • Perfect sauce. I have even just used water and no juice or zest and we still love it. Since fresh cranberries are only available this time of the year, I buy bags of them and freeze so I can have the sauce most of the year. Great with any meat.

    • — Brenda on November 27, 2019
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  • A friend of mine made this last week and it was amazing! I asked for the recipe. She said she also had trouble getting enough juice for the orange so she also zested a lemon and added juice of a lemon to the recipe! It was amazing. I plan on making it for this Thanksgiving.

    • — Stephanie Wasserman on November 27, 2019
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  • Really good and simple to make.

    • — JL on November 19, 2019
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  • Can this recipe be canned in a waterbath? Thank you

    • — Laurie Senn Sagerman on November 19, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Laurie, I didn’t develop this recipe for canning so I can’t say for sure that it would be safe. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2019
      • Reply
  • I love this recipe πŸ™‚ Took mine a little longer to thicken, about 15 mins, I just simmered it until it looked like the picture and I added a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon too, it was amazing. Making another batch now!

    • — ChristinaLouise on October 23, 2019
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    • Very nice. I needed two oranges to get a half cup of juice.

      • — Lily on November 21, 2019
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    • The most delicious homemade cranberries I’ve ever made. I think the 1/2 cup of oramge juice made all the defference. Perfect amount of sweetness. Thank you!

      • — Michelle Lockwood on November 27, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is the best recipe for cranberry sauce and I have been making this sauce for years.

    • — Pat on October 6, 2019
    • Reply
  • SUPER DELICIOUS! I ate SO MUCH of this with my Thanksgiving dinner. Making more now for Christmas! Thank you so much for all of these recipes! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays πŸŽ„

    • — Beth on December 21, 2018
    • Reply
  • I once made a homemade cranberry sauce from a detailed recipe by a woman named Martha… this year I found this recipe that is so easy, you’ll convert all the cranberry haters and canned cranberry lovers. I added a whole can of pears, juice and all, 3 cloves and a little cinnamon stick to these ingredients and it stretched it for 10 ppl with a little bit for leftovers. Thanks!

    • — Barbara Garcia on November 23, 2018
    • Reply
  • It was easy, quick and delicious. Thank you for sharing this great recipe. I really loved the flavor.

    • — Trina on November 23, 2018
    • Reply
  • What do you do if your orange doesn’t make a half cup of juice? Do you add enough water to the juice to make a half cup or just leave it?

    • — KELLY on November 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Kelly, Yes just add a little water to make up the difference.

      • — Jenn on November 21, 2018
      • Reply

    • — REV. NANCY ZALA on November 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • This recipe call for 1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup OJ.

      • — Jenn on November 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Yum. Made a big batch today. Freezing half for Christmas. Came out great.

    • — Debbie Compton on November 18, 2018
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  • Love this! Perfect cranberry sauce! Thank you Chef Segal!

    • — Daniel James Dudley on November 17, 2018
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  • Is it suppose to be soupy

    • — Hannah on November 16, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Hannah, It should not be too soupy but keep in mind it thickens up a lot as it cools.

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2018
      • Reply
    • It looks soupy at first, but as it cooks it will thicken.

      • — Joan on November 21, 2018
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  • I have made this recipe now for many years. I used to be the one that would never go near cranberry sauce…until this recipe! As I’ve grown more comfortable making it I”ve adulterated it in all kinds of ways and its always amazing. Sometimes I put figs in it (so yummy, plus fun texture), sometimes I put in ruby port, sometimes I put in ginger, sometimes red wine, and sometimes I combine many of these! A very flexible recipe to say the least and it is always spectacular. Something to note; when I used figs and red wine, I also put in a couple cranks of fresh cracked pepper- you might cringe at this but it was SO good.

    • — MaryKay on November 16, 2018
    • Reply
  • Where I live they don’t have fresh cranberries but they have the dried ones, how do I calculate how much I would need for this recipe? or how can I make this recipe?

    • — Lorena on November 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • Unfortunately, dried cranberries won’t work here, Lorena- I’m sorry! You can use frozen cranberries if they carry them in your store.

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2018
      • Reply
  • I’m curious about adding a bit of booze to this. Brandy, whisky, rum? Thoughts?

    • — Casey on November 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure, Casey – I think that’d work.

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2018
      • Reply
    • I add an orange liquor called Gran Marnier. It’s awesome!

      • — Rosemary on November 17, 2018
      • Reply
      • Rosemary I’m going to follow your suggestion but use some Gran Gala I already have on hand. About how much would you say you add, a teas.? Or tables.? Or more? πŸ™‚ Thanks!

        • — Emilie on November 20, 2018
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  • I have a similar recipe and I add a splash of Grand Marnier to the “adults ” serving bowl. It takes it over the top!

    • — Rosemary on November 15, 2018
    • Reply
  • What is the serving size? How many servings can I make?

    • — Catherine on November 14, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Catherine, This recipe makes enough for about 16 servings.

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2018
      • Reply
  • I brought this to Thanksgiving dinner with friends who don’t like cranberry sauce. They didn’t even taste it, but I left some at their house anyway. The next day I got a text: “OMG this cranberry sauce is amazing! We had no idea!” Yep. Now they request it every year. It’s especially good on turkey sandwiches. πŸ™‚

  • Just made this and it is the most flavorful and fantastic recipe I have ever had!! I did add a cinnamon stick to it while in the second boil. Fabulous!!!!

  • Just made this…..

    It is now chilling….

    The flavor while warm is amazing.
    Can’t wait to taste it chilled!

    It was very easy to make.

  • I Love this simple recipe! So easy to make and everyone Loves it! So much better than the canned stuff! I also put the left over in a pie with cherry pie filling. It was tangy and very good!

  • if i make this sauce now can i freeze it until christmas

    • HJi Hilary, I haven’t frozen it, but I think it should work.

    • I freeze leftover cranberry sauce all the time. I know this reply is a year old but I answered anyway. Hope this helps

      • — Kathy on November 4, 2018
      • Reply
  • Never using anything else than this! Question: for how long is this good (refrigerated)?

    • Hi Susan, It keeps well for about a week.

  • This was the second year in a row I made your cranberry sauce, and it turned out perfect. Fresh cranberry sauce is a MUST! It’s superbly better compared to anything from a can. It paired wonderfully with my smoked turkey prepared on the big green egg..

  • This cranberry sauce was amazing. Everyone raved about it. So good with roasted turkey and so simple to make. This is a keeper!

  • Really happy with this recipe, my Thanksgiving guests enjoyed it. I made it 3 days early and that was so helpful to have it off my to do list. I decided to make it smooth with the immersion wand and then pushed it through a mesh sieve to get rid of the cranberry skins. It was very smooth and flavorful. Used the small amount of leftovers on turkey sandwiches after the holiday. Will definitely make this again for future Thanksgivings.

  • This cranberry sauce was a huge hit at thanksgiving. First time ever we had none leftover.

  • Made this for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. We even spread it on our our biscuits. It was delicious.

  • This turned out perfectly delicious with just the right amount of citrus and sweetness and it was so easy! Looking forward to serving it tomorrow. Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  • I used 1 box of orange jello for part of the sugar and decided to make it crunchy and added1 Apple chopped and some chopped walnuts πŸ˜‰

  • Do you think I can make this the Sunday night before Thanksgiving and refrigerate? Or do you think I should freeze?

    • Hi Dara, I think it will be fine made on Sunday for Thanksgiving and stored in the fridge. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Good morning Jenn,
    Our Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up… October 9th, and I have 2 questions for in 2 recipes I would like to make… One is the cranberry sauce, the other is your pecan pumpkin streusel torte.
    I want to make as much in advance as possible, so, will the cranberry sauce hold, if I make it today(Saturday) for next Monday, obviously in the fridge, for that long and when it comes to the torte, I know you say it can be made a day in advance, but any chance you’ve made it a couple of days in advance? I also can’t remember if you stated how this should be stored when making it in advance, room temp or in the fridge.
    Thank you

    • Hi Diana, Go ahead and make the cranberry sauce but I’d freeze it and then defrost the day before serving. For the torte, I think you could safely make it two days ahead and store, loosely covered, in the fridge. Just be sure to bring to room temp before serving. Hope that helps and happy early Thanksgiving! πŸ™‚

  • Fantastic. I made this for thanksgiving and it was a hit. I also make every time I roast a chicken.

  • Made this for Thanksgiving and it was FANTASTIC! I’m guilty of opening the can however my son brought his New England girlfriend home and I felt guilty not serving fresh cranberry sauce. I have officially added this to my Thanksgiving repertoire. It’s easy and delish!

  • Jenn I just love all of your recipes! I made your fresh cranberry orange sauce for our Thanksgiving day dinner and I’m wondering why I’ve never made the fresh sauce before?! Your recipe is so simple, not too sweet and just perfect the way it is! I’ll be making more of this to use everyday on our breakfast toast and biscuits. It’s too good to only have it once a year! Thank you!

  • This was fun to make. My smaller oranges yielded less juice, so I needed two of them. For those who don’t like the orange flavor, try using cranberry or tart cherry juice.

  • I made this using a little bit of port wine as the liquid. It was a hit and I will make again for Christmas!

    • — Marty Roggenbaum
    • Reply
  • Made this for Thanksgiving. Wonderful balance of flavor. Added a splash of Grand Marnier. Thanks for another great recipe.

  • Just made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! The simplicity of the cranberries and orange were a perfect way to brighten up the turkey dinner.

  • How long can this stay in the fridge for?

    • — Jerrika Grissette
    • Reply
    • Hi Jerrika, this will be good in the fridge for several days.

  • I made this cranberry sauce for my thanksgiving and my family loved it. I doubled the recipe and used 350g of sugar.

  • Hi, this is a perfect recipe. I added a dash of triple sec, it adds just a touch of yumminess.
    I tried to find the nutritional information for this recipe but didn’t see it anywhere on your site. Can you guide me to the nutritional information?

    • Hi Chris, so glad you liked the cranberry sauce! I just added the nutritional information. (You can find them immediately under the recipe.)

  • Great recipe, Jenn! Very simple, super tasty. I love your presentations. Thank you!

  • As a diabetic, can I substitute Stevia for the sugar?

    • Hi Anne, I haven’t used Stevia before, so I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that should work just fine. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • I used Truvia as a substitute for those with diabetes

    • I have used Swerve before. Worked geeat!

  • Awesome and not too sweet or caloric. I smash/strain the cranberry sauce into bowl before chilling. I dislike the skins.

  • Hi Jenn,
    Thank you for the wonderful recipes, photos and stories–your site makes me look forward to cooking a new meal! I have a question about coconut sugar–do you think it would be an acceptable substitute for cranberry sauce? I’m trying to not use refined/white granulated sugar, but am still learning where it works and where it doesn’t. Would greatly appreciate your advice!

    • Hi Angela, glad you hear you enjoy the recipes! I’ve never used coconut sugar, so I can’t say for sure. What I do know about it is that it tastes more like brown sugar than granulated sugar, so I’m not sure it would be appropriate here. If you do try it, though, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  • Made this for Thanksgiving and it was the star of the meal. Planning to make it for Christmas also. I actually don’t care for cranberry sauce, but this was great. I will never buy canned cranberry sauce again.

  • Just made this for Thanksgiving. So simple and so delicious! What I would love to find are some good uses for leftover cranberry sauce in different dishes.

    • Paula, another reader suggested mixing the extra cranberry sauce into oatmeal. It would also make a tasty addition to plain or vanilla yogurt.

  • This has been my go-to cranberry sauce for the last couple of years. I stopped looking for a better recipe. I do reduce the sugar a bit since I’ve weaned myself from sweetness. I discovered that the leftovers from Thanksgiving taste great in my morning oatmeal.

  • Just made it . Delicious. I used hand blander to get smoother texture. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Delicious! Instagramed and tagged #onceuponachef

  • I don’t know where in the world you have been my whole cooking life, but I’m so very glad to have stumbled (upon) your site via Zite. I have cooked some pretty awful things from recipies found on many cooking blogs and sites, well known and not so well known. I started to think it was me! Ha! I swear any recipie I have cooked fom your site has been the most delish food. That my whole family loves. I think I have based my entire Thanksgiving menu on just your recipies, except for my moms pecan pie. Thank You for all your wonderful recipies and your obvious talent as a chef. I’m so excited to try as many as I can over time. Happy Thanksgiving to all.


    • Thanks for the nice words Diana and Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  • Wonderful sauce. Very happy. I used 1/2 cup instead of 3/4 and it was totally fine. Great recipe.

  • I just made this during my lunch break while working from home today and it is AMAZING! yummmm! Thank you for your recipes πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to share with my family on Thursday!

  • Hello Jen…listen, they don’t have cranberry in parts of Mexico where I’m going. Do you have any other suggestions?

    • Hi Angel, Unfortunately, I can’t think of any good substitute in this case. Sorry!

      • This was perfect! I so enjoyed this and it got better with a night in the fridge. Thank you for perfecting the recipe, before I made it!

        • — Carmen on December 6, 2019
        • Reply
    • Try cherries maybe?

  • As a single Mom I love quick and easy recipes that taste great. My kids and I usually get the cranberry relish at our local market, but seeing this recipe I wanted to try it. It was great! Both of my kids love it and have labeled it their new fav. It was easy and I liked that it was homemade. We used it in our turkery and bacon sandwiches and it really added to the flavor.

  • Easy and perfect! Simplicity at its best!

  • Very nice sauce. I love it and make it even off season:)

  • Hi Jen,
    Can’t wait to try this for Christmas Eve dinner…along with your curried carrots, roasted Brussel sprouts, and sausage stuffing, Tried your Baby Kale salad for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! We normally don’t do salad with such a heavy meal but glad I did and will do it again for Christmas Eve. I’m such a fan! Thank you. Marty

    • Thanks, Marty! So glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • I have been making a similar recipe for years (learned from my mother to puree an entire orange in the food processor and add with cranberries). This year, I decided to give this recipe a try. Much easier and similar results. I used a few clementines instead of the orange as that is what I had on hand. Delicious and so refreshing. We will be making this all winter and as long as cranberries are available at the market.

    • Liesel: My Mom used to used a old fashioned hand food grinder The kind you have to screw onto a counter. Whole Oranges, Cranberries, way too much sugar and unflavored gelatin. I hated it. This recipe is the best and we use it every holiday and anytime we crave Turkey mayo and cranberry sandwiches. This year a double batch!

      • — Kimberlee Marshall-Coleman
      • Reply
  • This was delicious! It was a big hit at Thanksgiving. Only thing I did different was that I didn’t have enough sugar that the recipe required (too much baking haha), so I ended up doing half a cup of sugar and measured out the remainder with brown sugar… surprisingly, the brown sugar ended up giving the cranberry sauce an addition level of flavor. I liked it a lot. I left out the orange zest because my orange was not organic.

  • The fresh cranberry orange sauce was absolutely delicious. The orange juice added extra flavor. A touch sweet but other than that a perfect compliment to our Thanksgiving smoked turkey. I will be making this easy recipe every year.

  • I absolutely LOVE this recipe!! I hosted a small Thanksgiving dinner the Saturday before Thanksgiving and made this Cranberry Sauce and added 1/2 cup of brandy and it was a huge hit with my husband so I made a double batch on Thanksgiving day for my entire family and everyone raved about how smooth it was without the bitterness. THANK YOU!! This is my go-to Cranberry recipe from now on.

    • Did you substitute the brandy for water or add water and brandy? Many thanks

  • Excellent- will replace my former cranberry recipe. We loved it- easy to make and perfectly delicious.

  • Hi Jen, I have struck gold finding you on Pinterest! LOVE all of your recipes I’ve made so far. For this cranberry sauce, can you make it the day before Thanksgiving? Or do you recommend the day of for best taste? Thank you! Stephanie

    • Hi Stephanie, So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! It’s absolutely fine to make this a day (or even several days) ahead of time; taste will be the same.

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  • I use fresh or frozen red raspberries for a change. Really yummy.

  • Jenn, am I reading that correctly?? That only make 2servings???? How should I adjust the recipe for 16 people???

    • Hi Judee, it should say it makes 2-1/4 cups. For 16, I would double the recipe. You may have extra but better safe than sorry πŸ™‚

  • I have been using the same recipe for over 20 years. It is awesome! Have added a teaspoon of lemon zest to change it up. Awesome!

  • I would like to try substituting Stevia for the sugar…I wonder how much I should use?

    • So sorry, Peggy, I have never cooked with stevia so I can’t answer that.

      • I use stevia sometimes but find it leaves a little bit of a bitter after taste.

        • If you add less stevia and add some erythritol (recommend the organic variety), then you will not get the bitter aftertaste. Erythritol is about 70% of the sweetness value of sugar. It is a natural sugar alcohol, which does not get digested, but just passes through your gut. It normally has a slightly cold mouth feel to it but, when used with Stevia, they work together synergistically and cancel out one another’s “negative” aspects. No bitterness from the stevia, and no cold mouth feel from the erythritol. And no sugar spike or calories from either one. Additionally, erythritol and xylitol are the only two sugar alcohols that are least likely to cause gas and bloating in the gut.

  • Hi! This recipe is DELICIOUS! I shared the link to it on my Facebook page. Thanks for sharing! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    • Thank you, Ruthie! So glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚

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