Homemade Cranberry Sauce

It is so easy to make that you should never again spend money buying this in any processed form!

I could be wrong (tell me), but I believe the reason most people buy things is not because it is easier to buy it that make it. It is because they think it is. They don’t actually know how easy it is to make many things at home that used to be a very basic part of school and home education. One thing is for sure: it is much healthier to make everything yourself. You have control of your food. There are no chemicals or preservatives in it. After reading this, tell me if you think it is easy or hard!

A couple of bags of frozen cranberries right out of the freezer and into the pot: gorgeous berries. I make enough at Thanksgiving for Christmas, as well.

I added three cups of sugar. I like to add the least amount of sugar possible. Some people would add more. I have one cup of sugar per pound of berries here.

Then, barely cover the berries with water: skimp on that. Fill the pot with water to about two thirds up the sides of where the berries come to. Bring to a boil; the berries will pop open and their skins will split.

They produce their own pectin, and lots of it, so you just boil at a low rolling boil (once the pot boils, turn down the heat and maintain a boil) for about 10 minutes. My grandmother taught me that if you dip a wooden spoon into the mixture and hold it up horizontally the jelly will drip off of the spoon.  When the drips coming off of it form together, or run together to make one drip, it is done. I still do this, but usually 10 minutes works as long as you haven’t added too much water: remember to fill the pot with water to cover the berries, but don’t cover them: just have the water about two thirds up the pot to where the berries are.

You are done! FIll your jars with the jammy jelly mixture and let it cool. Cover and refrigerate when cooled to room temperature. This doesn’t need to be processed any further and will keep in the refrigerator until your Easter dinner, too!

Isn’t it gorgeous? I never eat it with the hot meal, but there is nothing like a turkey bunwich the following day on a homemade bun with cranberry sauce and salt and pepper. Yum!

That is definitely another of our family traditions. Dad used to make the bunwiches the next day for lunch.

Wonderful memories of our little family of four sitting around the chrome arborite covered kitchen table, feet dangling under my chair, house spotless (it always was) and the crimson leaves waiting for me to run out and roll in them. Ah! I had a wonderful childhood.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe


  • one pound of cranberries
  • one cup of sugar
  • enough water to cover two thirds of the cranberries


  1. Place all ingredients into a heavy pot on high to medium high heat
  2. When the berries boil, turn the heat down to maintain a boil
  3. Boil for 10 minutes
  4. Pour into jars and cool to room temperature
  5. Store covered in the fridge

Note: it is tasty if you add ginger, orange zest, Grand Marnier or try other combinations (I have tried various options and enjoyed many, but in the end I have decided to not mess with what I consider perfect, as it is.)


If you make yours, please tell me how you do it. If not, do you agree, now? Is it easy? Tell me what you think because I really am curious and so is Beavie (though he is currently sleeping off his turkey coma).


  1. says

    I bet you are going to have the most amazing Thanksgiving table of anyone. The cranberry sauce looks great, and I agree, homemade always tastes better (hubby says you can taste the tears of frustration and it gives food that little extra “something” LOL).
    *kisses* HH

    • Valerie says

      I love your little quips. I will forever use that one: you can taste the tears of frustration and it gives food that little extra “œsomething”
      Do you make yours, or do you have cranberry sauce with your turkey?

  2. says

    Your cranberry sauce is beautiful! I do agree – so easy! Sometimes I actually serve a cranberry chutney – sauteed onion and garlic, a bit of ginger, some apple cider vinegar, a bag of fresh cranberries and some cranberry juice. So yummy on a turkey sandwich!

  3. says

    Mine’s of the highbush variety, as may be expected. PLUS we buy a can to bring to my mother-in-law’s, because she always forgets, the world ends, she demands my father-in-law or brother-in-law go out to Safeway to buy some when everything else is already on the table, so we can all wait around the table while food gets cold and dry[er]. So we now buy a can, every thanksgiving, Christmas, and easter…to avoid that disaster. Albeit a small disaster on the scale of said disasters – good ones involve kitchen grease fires and melting plastic.

  4. says

    Now I am sure it does not surprise you, but I ONLY like my own homemade cranberry sauce. I would love yours too- -because it is homemade. You are so right, once you step away from those cans life just tastes better. You have inspired me to make some cranberry sauce soon, I eat it like applesauce. xo

  5. says

    Valerie, heck no- -sugar in my cranberry sauce, how did you know. Trust me I will be sharing my recipe next month along with a bunch of other great Thanksgiving goodies. I sweeten mine with stevia & love to add citrus zest as well. I will be sure to include the recipe with some juicy photos soon :)

  6. says

    I too made from scratch cranberry sauce this year. Mine did indeed have some orange zest and instead of water I juice the orange I pulled the zest from. My rosemary is still thriving so a fine dice of fresh rosemary went in as well as a large sprig that I pulled out before serving. I think it is the scent of the rosemary that makes it a fantastic sauce…

  7. says

    I love cranberry sauce. This recipe looks amazingly good and easy. I hope you and yours had a wonderful Canadian Thanksgiving!

  8. says

    Yum. You are definitely right, Valerie – nothing beats home made cranberry sauce. My aunt made it this year and it was delicious. Can’t wait for Christmas for some more.

  9. says

    Hey Valerie,

    When I was in University with no kids and hubby to care for, I would’ve agreed with you that the reason most people buy things is because they think it is easier to buy it than make it. But now as a wife and mother, sometimes I buy things to save time. We all know how precious time is when you have kids. But then also on the other hand, because I’m a mom and wife now, I feel I need to learn to cook, bake, and make my own sauces to save money and feed my family healthy. So I guess it depends on what stage you’re at in life? That was a great point you brought up that actually got me thinking.

    Your cranberry sauce looks wonderful and I’m impressed by how easy it is to make. Not to mention, so few ingredients too. Thank you for sharing this. I love the close-up shot of the frozen cranberries, beautiful colour. Hope you and your family had a great thanksgiving.

    • Valerie says

      Trissa: The Thermomix is EXCELLENT for jam making. I didn’t use it for the cranberry sauce because I wanted the berries to remain berries. With jam, everything is pureed, so the Thermomix is perfect. I will try it with the Thermomix next time, at slow speed, in reverse mode. It would probably make great cranberry sauce. Thanks for the kick in the pants!

  10. says

    Hey Val,
    This looks great! I would love to compare and contrast vs my cranberry recipe, but the problem is I don’t have one. It’s a little embarrassing for a foodie like me, but I love cranberry sauce that comes out of the can (the one that looks like the can complete with the little ridgies), so I rarely make it. Very strange, as you know that I am a little nuts and continually push to make everything I eat from scratch.

    Every 5 years or so I try a recipe, and I always wind up going back to the can. My guests wind up bringing their own recipe as very few people share my enthusiasm for “can”berry sauce :)

    I’ll break with tradition this year and give your recipe a go, but I’ll keep a can around for backup.

    I’ll keep you posted to see if you have converted me!

    — Andy

  11. says

    Hey Val – Right there with you! Nothing beats homemade and your cranberry jelly/jam proves it. Wonderful color here and such a wonderful mental picture of you in your kitchen, feet dangling gobbling this up as a kid…sigh….

    I add some orange rind in mine :) Gosh can’t believe Thanksgiving is around the corner!

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  12. says

    I love cranberry sauce! To me, it’s one of the essential essences of Thanksgiving dinner. What a great recipe and instruction.

    I love your blog! Thank you for your kind visit and I just put up an RSS feed. I’m a little slow at getting linked 😉

  13. says

    I am not much of a jam maker but I will say Thanksgiving requires a cranberry relish. I love to prepare this relish with oranges, walnuts. It’s wonderful. Your looks divine,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    btw, Your page finally loaded up-yeah!

  14. says

    The only time I made my own cranberry sauce was the first time I ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner. I was so proud, having made pretty much every dish from scratch. However, when my family saw the glistening bowl of cranberries that had been cooked down with ginger and orange, they all screamed, “Where’s the wiggly stuff from the can?!” Yup, they prefer that to homemade. Go figure. I think I need to retrain my family, huh? 😉

  15. says

    It’s always been a puzzle to me too…cranberry sauce is so simple to make and tastes so much better than canned. I make it ahead and freeze it if I’m having a crowd.
    Love your photo with the spoonful of red against the green trees!

  16. says

    Hey Valerie! Ugh, I am back on-line. Yes (smile)!
    I agree by the way! I will never ever buy cranberry sauce again. It is too easy to make. Plus, homemade makes the canned stuff just seem nasty;-) Yours looks wonderful too. That color is so pretty…
    p.s. Me wants that green pot!

  17. says

    Valerie…one could only imagine what a feast you must set up over the holidays…must be spectacular ;o)

    I don’t usually eat cranberry sauce on it’s own…I do, however, enjoy it very much blended with other fruits.

    Hope you had a very memorable Thanksgiving!

    Ciao for now,

  18. says

    I adore cranberries and I love your homemade cranberry sauce. I make on very similar. I don’t understand why more people don’t make their own. It’s so simple. I use the least amount of sugar also.

    Your photos have captured the beauty of the cranberry sauce. Lovely job.

  19. says

    how thankful am i for this blog? the world will be eating better now because of it! i WISH i had read this post before my thanksgiving dinner… i had a friend bring the cranberries, big mistake- he proceeded to open three cans of cranberry jelly and plop it into a bowl- NOT my idea of thanksgiving cranberry sauce. i couldn’t help thinking “now that is NOT how my mother makes it!”

    LoVE YOU!

  20. says

    My 87 year old Dad still goes “cranberrying” ever fall. When I lived in Nova Scotia I just had to open his freezer for my endless supply of fresh frozen cranberries. Your recipe is the exact same as mine. It’s so fast and easy. Here in Korea I have to buy canned cranberries from the “Black market” store. There is no comparison to the fresh, but still better than no cranberries.

  21. says

    Wow..this looks TDF! Yums! Cranberries super expensive here in Asia, so not very worthwhile to own jam…. so i’m so envious of your jam! Must be awesome pairing with the roast turkey! :9

    • Valerie says

      Teacher Cooks: That is WONDERFUL! I just realized, I don’t know your name! Silly, eh? I never thought of eating it on a bagal, but love it in a turkey bunwich and it is also incredible with chocolate. I made a chocolate mousse layered with this that was deadly, once.

  22. Jahna says

    It’s my first time making home-made Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving Dinner. It is my absolute favorite part of the meal. I love it on my turkey, mmm-hmm. :) Unfortunately I am hypoglycemic and the high-fructose corn syrup makes me crash about an hour into the holiday and puts me in a horrible mood that probably ruins everyone’s holiday. This recipe is gonna be perfect. I haven’t made it yet but it sounds VERY simple and delicious! Not too much sugar is really great for me.

    • Valerie Lugonja says

      What a joy to hear your enthusiasm about cranberry sauce! I share it with you! This is easy to make and I would love to hear how it goes! Happy Holidays!

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