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This homemade cranberry sauce comes together with just 5 easy ingredients in less than 10 minutes! Prep this classic side dish for your Thanksgiving tables up to 3 days in advance and impress your friends and family with fresh cranberry sauce from scratch.
I have a confession to make…I never used to eat cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving growing up. Our Thanksgiving dinners have stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and turkey every year, but the rest of the table is always filled with Filipino dishes (on my mom’s side) and Ecuadorian dishes (on my dad’s side).
Now that I’ve developed a recipe of my own to share with you, I understand the hype! I promise you’ll never want to eat cranberry sauce out of a can again.
Cranberry Sauce Recipe Ingredients You’ll Need
- Cranberries: We used a bag of fresh, whole cranberries. They can often be found in the produce section. Make sure to purchase fresh cranberries, not dried cranberries.
- Orange juice: Freshly squeezed orange juice adds sweetness and the perfect amount of acidity to balance the tartness in the cranberries.
- Orange zest: Arguably the secret to making the best homemade cranberry sauce! Orange zest adds a pop of brightness and adds a burst of flavor. Don’t skip this!
- Maple syrup: Our favorite way to add natural sweetness with hints of caramel, vanilla and toffee.
- Sugar: We prefer using turbinado sugar because it contains a bit more natural molasses than granulated sugar, but granulated organic cane sugar will work well, too.
- Cinnamon: Adds warmth and sweetness that compliment the tartness in the cranberries and citrus flavors in the orange juice.
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Place all of the ingredients into a medium pot over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Once the cranberries begin to soften and burst, mash them until the cranberries reach a thick, jam-like consistency.
- Enjoy warm, room temperature, or chilled!
Can I Make Cranberry Sauce Ahead of Time?
Definitely! Homemade cranberry sauce can be made 2-3 days ahead of time and can even help the flavors develop more deeply as it sits overnight in the fridge. Reheat your cranberry sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through again.
Variations & Substitutions
- Use frozen cranberries: Frozen cranberries are the next best option if your grocery store is out of fresh or doesn’t carry fresh cranberries.
- Orange juice options: We highly recommend freshly squeezed orange juice for the best flavor, but store-bought orange juice will work in a pinch. You could also use half fresh orange juice, half store-bought if your orange doesn’t make a full ⅓ cup of juice. To find a vegan-friendly orange juice, choose an orange juice that is not fortified with vitamin D3 – vitamin D3 is often sourced from lanolin, a byproduct of sheep’s wool.
- Maple syrup substitute: A similar liquid sweetener, such as agave nectar, brown rice syrup, and corn syrup, will work too! Or, opt for granulated sugar like cane sugar or additional turbinado sugar as needed.
Storage & Freezing Instructions
Homemade cranberry sauce will store well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks when stored in an airtight container. If you’d like your cranberry sauce to store for as long as possible, opt for storing it in glass containers, like a mason jar or glass Tupperware. Cranberry sauce stored in plastic will last closer to 7 days.
To freeze, allow your cranberry sauce to cool completely to room temperature, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container, like a reusable silicone Stasher bag. Seal the bag while removing as much excess air as possible, then freeze for up to 3 months.
If preferred, you can freeze homemade cranberry sauce in a reusable glass container, such as a mason jar. When going this route, be mindful of your jar’s fill line – food, including cranberry sauce, expands in the freezer and can cause the jar to crack under pressure if it is too full.
How to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce
The best thing about homemade cranberry sauce is that it makes fantastic leftovers! Here are a few of our favorite ways to repurpose it after the holidays:
- Slather cranberry sauce on a leftover Garlic Herb Dinner Roll with a few slices of Homemade Vegan Deli Meat and your favorite vegan cheese for a bomb vegan turkey sandwich.
- Dollop it on top of Vegan Thanksgiving Leftover Poutine.
- Serve it on the side of Thanksgiving Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes or with Thanksgiving Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls.
- Add it on top of Vegan French Toast, Vegan Banana Pancakes or Vegan Rye Waffles.
- Swap out the apple for cranberry sauce in our easy oatmeal!
- Drizzle it over vegan crepes.
- Roll it inside 30-Minute Cinnamon Rolls for a cranberry cinnamon roll (perfect for Valentine’s day or Christmas!).
As you can see, the options are truly endless!
More Cranberry Recipes You May Enjoy:Print
Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!