Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

{Photo Credit}

I was recently disappointed (but not surprised, really), to see corn syrup listed on the ingredient label of that Thanksgiving staple- cranberry sauce. (Even those “name brand” cans, with the “healthy-looking” labels!)

Sigh. So unhealthy… and so unnecessary.

Cranberry sauce is probably one of the easier dishes to dress up a Thanksgiving feast (besides the relish tray, with the children’s delight of olives, maybe). :)

With vitamin C-rich ingredients, this is certainly a nourishing side dish (without the corn syrup, that is). Try to get organic oranges, if you can, since you will be eating the peel.

I typically double my cranberry sauce recipe, to make enough for both Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners (and even some leftovers!) all at one time. I either can it or freeze it in half pint canning jars.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

12 oz fresh or frozen Cranberries (I get packages of local, organic berries.)
1 lg. organic Navel Orange (I tried tangerines last year, but they did’t seem to “gel” the sauce as well.)
1/2 Cup organic Sugar or Sucanat (honestly, I haven’t tried it with honey; let me know if you do!)
1 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground Cloves

Rinse cranberries, and discard any spoiled ones. Finely grate or zest the orange peel. Cut orange into quarters, and add to a blender, along with the orange zest. Pour in enough water to make 1 cup, and blend until roughly chopped. (You don’t want a smooth puree; keep it “pulpy.”)

Pour juice into a saucepan, along with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour in cranberries, and return to a boil. Stir over medium heat for 8-10 min. Be careful!! Cranberries start popping & will splatter!! (When not stirring, you can partially cover the pot with a lid, to allow steam to escape, but keep some of the splatter inside.)

When most of the cranberries have popped, and the liquid has started to thicken, remove from heat. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Pour into jars to store or into a serving dish. Refrigerate or freeze if not serving immediately.

Serves 6-8

Visit Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet for more real food side dishes in today’s course of our Whole Foods for the Holidays Progressive Dinner to get more recipe ideas, or share your own! This post is also linked to Tasty Tuesday at Beauty & Bedlam.

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16 comments to Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • I have used a similiar receipt like this for years–never added cloves though, but I bet that addition is wonderful. We cook our Thanksgiving dinner over our open hearth so I do the cranberries this way and it is so much better than store bought any day–and healthier! Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless you !


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  • Perfectly timed post! I’m on my way to the store to pick up supplies and I’m responsible for cranberry sauce this year. Thanks :-)


  • I love homemade cranberry sauce. So much tastier than the storebought stuff. You’ll have to check out the Cranberry Applesauce I have over on the blog. We have it every year for the holidays and I could never go back to the boughten.


  • That’s almost exactly like the recipe I made up a few years ago. I’ve never added cloves, though, and definitely will this year.
    I like to make a double batch, but the extra never quite makes it to Christmas. Hubby discovered he loves it on vanilla ice cream and I like it in my oatmeal!


    Michele Reply:

    Yum! We love it as a topping, too! :) I have to hide it in the freezer right away, or it will get eaten up at our house, too. :)



  • Sarah

    Funny – I just made this same recipe yesterday with honey. Delicious. Family gobbled it up.


    Rebecca Miller Reply:

    Could someone PLEASE post their honey recipes. we would love to try it!


  • Tina~

    I’ve made cranberry sauce with honey for the past few years- it’s wonderful!
    I just saw a recipe floating around for a cranberry apple salsa- fresh sauce, not cooked, that I was going to try if I can find more organic crans, but have to have this one at least!

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone…
    One of my thankfuls this year is knowing where to go for such wonderful real food advice!


  • JenZ

    One of my friends made cranberry sauce with honey yesterday to go with our dinner. I’m not sure what recipe she used, but she said the amount of honey was too low so the sauce was too tart, and she ended up adding some brown sugar to sweeten it a bit more. I could taste the honey in it but only a little bit. It was great!


  • Deb

    Probably a silly question, but do you use the whole orange? The pulp and everything, or just zest the peel, and then discard the pulpy portion and use the “meat”of the orange. My dh loves cranberry sauce,not the pulpy kind, and would really like to try this as I bought extra cranberries when cheap around thanksgiving. Thanks, and love your recipes!


    Michele Reply:

    @Deb, After zesting the orange, I discard the rest of the peel. (You can leave much of the white pithy part on, though; it’s full of nourishing benefits.) Then, I just toss the orange (usually broken in to quarters) into the blender. Since your DH doesn’t like the pulpy kind, just make sure to blend it really well. We like the pulp, so I keep ours pretty “chunky.” :)

    Hope that helps!


  • [...] Brainstorming for the holidays have begun, and I’ve stocked up on Northwest cranberries (I love them in kefir smoothies as a snack, as well as saving some for cranberry sauce). [...]

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