The best, easiest Cranberry Sauce recipe you’ll ever make flavored with fresh orange juice and just a little sugar. This classic version makes enough for two people and is ready in under 10 minutes.

A bowl of cranberry sauce with a spoon next to it.

Tart, sweet, and spiced, my Grandma’s “famous” homemade cranberry sauce brightens up the plate and cleanses your palate in-between bites of mashed potatoes and gravy. And it cooks fast! No long simmering required.

At my house, no holiday dinner is complete without it.

Recipe ingredients:

Ingredients for Cranberry Sauce in bowls and labeled.

Ingredient notes:

  • Sugar: Tart cranberries need some sweetness to make them delicious. But you can substitute some honey, pineapple juice, or a sugar substitute in place of some or all of the sugar.
  • Orange zest and juice: Zest the orange first, then juice it for the sauce.
  • Fresh cranberries: Sold by the bag in the produce section of the grocery store, these crimson beauties freeze like a dream. Freeze what you don’t need to make slow-cooker cranberry apple cider later. Oh, and if your cranberries are already frozen, no need to thaw. Just cook them straight from the icebox.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar, water, orange juice, orange zest,  and salt and bring to a boil.
  2. As soon as the mixture boils, add the cranberries and simmer. The berries will pop and the sauce will thicken up a bit. The sauce will thicken as it cools, so don’t worry if it seems too thin.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Yield: This recipe makes a small amount with only 6 ounces of cranberries. If you need more, you can scale up the recipe to fit your group.
  • Storage: Let the sauce cool out at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.
  • Leftovers: Leftover turkey sandwiches taste amazing with a schmear of cranberry sauce.
  • Make Ahead: This recipe loves to be made ahead up to 4 days before you need it. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Freezer: Sauce can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Sugar: Tart cranberries need some sweetness to make them delicious. But you can substitute some honey, pineapple juice, or a sugar substitute in place of some or all of the sugar.
  • Cranberry sauce with apples: Add an equal portion of apples for a delicious twist on cranberry sauce.

More Thanksgiving for Two recipes:

Cranberry sauce in a white bowl.

Cranberry Sauce for Two

The best, easiest Cranberry Sauce recipe you'll ever make flavored with fresh orange juice and just a little sugar. This classic version makes enough for two people and is ready in under 10 minutes.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 11 mins
Servings 2 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 241

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest from 1 orange (see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 6 ounces fresh cranberries rinsed and picked over (see note 2)

Instructions 

  • In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, water, orange zest, orange juice, and salt to boil. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  • Stir in cranberries. Simmer until slightly thickened and the berries begin to pop, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature or chill.

Notes

  1. Orange zest and juice: Zest the orange first, then juice it for the sauce.
  2. Cranberries: Fresh cranberries freeze really well, so stock up when you see them. If your cranberries are already frozen, no need to thaw. Just cook them straight from the freezer and add 2 minutes to the simmering time.
  3. Yield: This recipe uses only 6 ounces cranberries to make 1 cup of sauce, enough for 2 (1/2-cup) servings or 4 (1/4-cup) servings.
  4. Make ahead: Cool the cranberry sauce completely, then keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  5. Freezer: Cooled sauce can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  6. Cranberry sauce with apples: Add ½ cup peeled, diced apples (from 1 apple) for a delicious twist on cranberry sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 149mgPotassium: 108mgFiber: 4gSugar: 55gVitamin A: 86IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. This is the recipe I used this weekend for me and my Mom since we didn’t have the big get together we normally do. It was delightful!5 stars