This classic Cranberry Sauce is sweetened with orange juice and perfect for Thanksgiving. It’s ready in just 10 minutes or make it ahead.

Cranberry sauce in a white bowl.

To me, Cranberry Sauce has one main function on your Thanksgiving plate: To cut the richness of everything else. It might be the only recipe on the table not made with butter.

It’s the perfect balance of tart and sweet, super simple, nothing unexpected.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients for Cranberry Sauce in bowls and labeled.

Ingredient notes

  • Orange zest and juice: Zest the orange first, then juice it for the sauce.
  • 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.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, orange zest, orange juice, water, and a pinch of salt to boil.
  2. Stir in cranberries and simmer until the sauce thickens and the berries start to pop, about 10 minutes. Cover and chill.
Cranberry sauce in a white bowl.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 8 servings.
  • Make ahead: Cool the cranberry sauce completely, then keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • Freezer: Cooled sauce can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Cranberry sauce with apples: Add 1 cup of peeled and diced apples (about 4 ounces) for a delicious twist on cranberry sauce.

More classic Thanksgiving recipes

Cranberry sauce in a white bowl.

Cranberry Sauce

This classic Cranberry Sauce is sweetened with orange juice and perfect for Thanksgiving. It's ready in just 10 minutes or make it ahead.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 99

Ingredients 

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

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 makes 8 servings (¼ cup each).
  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 1 cup of peeled and diced apples (about 4 ounces) for a delicious twist on cranberry sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25gCalories: 99kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 38mgPotassium: 68mgFiber: 2gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 57IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. This is the best cranberry sauce I have ever made! The only variation was using 1/4 cup cranberry juice and 1/4 cup water instead of 1/2. I took your advice and added a dash of cinnamon.
    Many thanks for another terrific recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!5 stars

  2. AWESOME recipe!! It’s taking me a lot to not eat this before Friendsgiving tomorrow. I used about 3/4 of fresh squeezed OJ (that’s all I could get out of the 2 oranges I had) and the rest water. Otherwise, just followed the recipe and I LOVE it!!5 stars

    1. Hi Olivia, I appreciate the feedback, maybe I’ll up the number of oranges to 3. I think it really depends on the oranges you get, but not everyone is as nice as you are about it. I am so glad you loved it! Happy Friendsgiving! -Meggan

    2. Making this for Christmas this time. Followed the recipe exactly for the 1/2 and 1/2 OJ/water. Also added about 1/8tsp of cinnamon. Let’s see if I can resist it again!!5 stars

  3. This looks like a delicious twist on the regular cranberry sauce and I am excited to try it! Thanks for posting!5 stars