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Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce- Skip the canned sauce version of this Thanksgiving favorite with my recipe for a citrus free simple cranberry sauce that comes together with only 3 main ingredients.

November 25, 2020 by Nicole Collins

I have never liked cranberry sauce.

My mom LOVES it. But, she only like the gelatinous kind that keeps the shape of the can when you pop it onto the plate.

Gross...and that would be why I don't like it.

I'm starting a movement to ditch the canned cranberry sauce, and that starts with today's recipe.

Today, we're making Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce!

Though I've never liked it; on a whim, I tried fresh cranberry sauce for the first time ever last year, and I fell absolutely in love. So, I decided I wanted to try my hand at making my own, but every recipe I found called for orange juice and/or orange zest.

And, we all know that isn't happening in my kitchen.

So I put on my thinking cap, and that's how we ended up with today's citrus free cranberry sauce!

This is a throw it in the pot and walk away kind of recipe. So, we'll start by adding fresh cranberries, water, sugar, and our secret ingredient to the pot. Apple cider.

Homemade cranberry sauce benefits from having a sweet and tangy liquid in the cooking mixture to help bring out the sweet and tangy elements of the cranberries. But, since I think orange is the grossest thing ever and I worried lemon would be too much tart on tart; I decided apple cider would be the perfect thing to compliment our sauce. It's naturally sweet with a slight natural warmness to it's flavor, and it compliments perfectly with the tart cranberries.

Now, it's worth noting that we want fresh apple cider here, not apple juice. These are two totally different liquids (apple juice has many more additives and sugars). So, stick with the jug that you'll find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store labeled “cider”.

From there, we let the mix come to a boil so the berries start to burst, then let it simmer for a bit to get nice and thick. Let the cranberry sauce sit for about 10 mins before serving to get extra thick, and that's that!

Now, I like to add the teeniest tiniest pinch of salt at the end of cooking to really help accentuate the sweetness of the sauce. We're using such a little pinch, but it does make a difference.

When all is said and done, we're left with a bright, beautiful, fresh, sweet, tart, thick, flavorful cranberry sauce. And, it doesn't still look like a metal can on our plate!

Alright, everyone. That's a wrap for our Thanksgiving sides dish extravaganza. Tomorrow is the big day! So, please stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy your day no matter how different it may look this year.

Happy Thanksgiving! Let's eat!


Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Serves: 6 Print


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries, rinsed

  • ½ cup apple cider

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • pinch of salt


  1. Add cranberries, apple cider, water, and sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and boil cranberries for 10 mins until the berries start to burst.

  2. Reduce heat to medium low, and continue to simmer the cranberries an additional 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are and thick and saucy. Remove from heat, stir in a tiny pinch of salt, and allow the sauce to sit and thicken for at least 10 mins before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe notes:

*Make sure you use apple cider and not apple juice for this recipe. They are two completely different things.

*This sauce can be served, warm, at room temp, or cold. I actually prefer it cold.


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