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This cranberry sauce recipe is as easy as opening a can (but tastes much better)

Add homemade cranberry sauce to your Thanksgiving menu this year

Fresh cranberries
Ashiq Munna1 / Shutterstock

If you grew up in a family like mine, you may have thought (perhaps for an embarrassingly long time) that cranberry sauce naturally came in the perfect shape of a can, metal ring impressions and all. It was one of those weird, gelatinous things that made its annual appearance at the Thanksgiving table, and you never gave it much thought after that. Kind of like Grandma’s retro ambrosia salad. That red jiggly mass never really did much for me so I happily passed it along when it was handed over. And then one year at a friend’s house, I tried the real deal. And everything changed.

Cranberry sauce, the way it’s meant to be prepared and enjoyed, is a sweet and tangy wonder. It has just the right amount of pucker and adds hugely delicious interest to otherwise tame and mild flavors like turkey. The biggest sin of the canned version’s immense popularity is that real, homemade cranberry sauce is ridiculously easy to make. Like, stupid easy. Certainly easier than trying to get that gooey mass out of a can in one piece! So this year, resist the call of the can and start making cranberry sauce. You won’t regret trying this recipe.

Homemade cranberry sauce
Feasting at Home

Orange maple cranberry sauce recipe

(From Feasting at Home)

This cranberry sauce recipe is the perfect mixture of tart and sweet. With the addition of crisp apple and citrusy orange, the cranberries take on a fruit flavor that pairs perfectly with their signature tang.


  • 4 cups cranberries, washed
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 orange, zested, then peeled and cut into very small pieces
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In a small saucepan, cook cranberries, syrup, and salt over medium heat, until lightly simmering and cranberries begin to pop, about 8 minutes.
  2. Remove cranberry mixture from heat. Add apples, orange zest, and chopped orange, stirring to combine. It will thicken as it cools.
  3. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cranberry sauce in a glass jar on a festive fall table
RODNAE Productions / Pexels

Homemade jellied cranberry sauce

So we all know that real, homemade cranberry sauce is much better than the jellied, canned stuff. But what do you do if you come from a family of traditionalists, who insist on the jiggly, jellied cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving? Do you give in and open a can?


Thanks to the cranberry king Ocean Spray, you can have the best of both worlds with this recipe for a simple homemade jellied cranberry sauce that should fit the bill.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 12-ounce package of fresh or frozen cranberries


  1. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, add cranberries, and return to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Using a wire mesh strainer over a mixing bowl, pour the contents of the saucepan into the strainer, mashing the cranberries with the back of a spoon. Scrape the outside of the strainer frequently, until no pulp is left.
  5. Stir the contents of the bowl and then pour into a serving container.
  6. Cover and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until serving time.

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Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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