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homemade cranberry sauce in a white bowl with a spoon

How to make homemade cranberry sauce (4 Ingredients)

Shana Thomas
Learn how to make homemade cranberry sauce with a few simple ingredients that can easily be enjoyed as a jam or side dish for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Course Dips & Sauces, Holiday Recipe, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 60 kcal


  • 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries*
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice* (about 1 large orange)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup  plus more, if needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional add-ins: cinnamon stick, 1/2 tsp orange zest, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, chopped nuts, blueberries, etc.


  • Add your cranberries, orange juice + zest, vanilla extract, cinnamon stick, maple syrup to a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 6-8 minutes. Keep stirring the mixture to ensure it does not burn or stick to the pot. The mixture is done once it has thickened and most of the cranberries have popped. 
  • Optionally, use a fork to pop the remainder of the cranberries. Let the sauce cool completely before serving.


  • can use fresh or store-bought orange juice. Alternatively, you can skip the orange juice altogether.
  • *use fresh or frozen cranberries. If you using frozen, let it simmer 1-2 minutes longer as they releases more liquid and may take longer to thicken up. 
  • maple syrup can be replaced with equal parts with any sweetener of choice. 
  • can substitute cinnamon stick for 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Keyword how to make homemade cranberry sauce