20 classic homemade cranberry sauce recipes

17 delicious classic cranberry sauce recipes

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Cranberries have become traditional for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners — and these 20 homemade cranberry sauce recipes will help you deliciously add the ruby-red jewel to your feasts!

Delicious homemade cranberry sauce recipes from years past

Cranberries, like the turkey, have become traditional for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners — and although it is the turkey that reigns supreme, it is classic cranberry sauce that adds the ruby-red jewel.

Cranberry sauce is perhaps the most popular use of these berries. However, the use of cranberries has greatly increased in the past decade, and the deliciously tart berries are used in a wide variety of ways — including breads, salads and juices.

To savor the goodness of cranberries all year, freeze some of the berries now during the fresh cranberry season, while the berries are plump and firm.

Frozen cranberries can be used as successfully as fresh berries in most recipes. Don’t thaw the berries. Give them a quick rinse in cold water, then grind or chop them as you would fresh berries. Most cranberry dishes also freeze well and make welcome gifts for the holidays.

Homemade cranberry sauce
Photo by nblxer/Envato

Quick 10-minute classic cranberry sauce recipe & 5 variations

For last-minute cooks, here is a recipe for 10-minute cranberry sauce.


4 cups (1 lb.) fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 to 2 cups water


Combine cranberries, sugar and water in saucepan. (Add one cup of water and the rest according to juice content of berries.) Heat to boiling point, stirring until sugar dissolves; then boil rapidly until berries pop open (about 5 minutes). Makes 1 quart cranberry sauce.


For a thicker sauce: Continue cooking until berries are mushy and liquid somewhat reduced. Sauce will become jelly-like when chilled.

For a spicy sauce: Stir in a few whole cloves and a cinnamon stick while berries are cooking.

For a tangy sauce: Add 1 teaspoon or more grated lemon peel after removing from heat.

For a wine-flavored sauce: Reduce liquid to 1-1/2 cups and cook as directed. When cooled to room temperature, stir in 1/4 cup or more wine. Serve on pancakes with a sprinkle of brown sugar or drizzle of maple syrup.

For cranberry-pineapple sauce: Make fresh cranberry sauce, however, reduce the water by 1 cup and add a 1-pound, 4-ounce can undrained crushed pineapple. Simmer just until cranberries begin to pop.

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Cranberry sauce in a bowl top view.
Photo by Nadianb/Envato

Cranberry-orange relish recipe


4 cups (1 pound) fresh cranberries
2 oranges, quartered (seeds removed)
2 cups sugar


Put cranberries and oranges (including the rind) through the food grinder (coarse blade). Stir in the sugar and chill. Makes 2 pints. Keeps well for weeks stored in the refrigerator.

No-cook, no sugar added cranberry-orange relish

Make this in your blender, grinder or food processor.


3 cups raw cranberries
1 sweet-eating orange
1 cup white raisins


Chop up the cranberries. Peel and cut up the orange, remove any seeds. Chop up the orange and half of the peel. Stir in the raisins. Chill before serving. Makes 10 servings. 65 calories each.

Whole cranberries for classic cranberry sauce

Jello cranberry sauce (1973)

1 6-oz. package cherry or strawberry jello
2 cups sugar
4 raw apples, ground and unpeeled
3 oranges
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries, ground

Grind the apples, oranges and cranberries and mix with the sugar and pineapple. Make the jello, using 2 cups of liquid instead of 4 cups, and using the juice from the ground fruit as part of the liquid, adding enough water to make 2 cups. When slightly cool, and before the jello sets, stir into the other ingredients.

Chill overnight, or at least 6 hours. Serve cold with a main course meal. This is especially good served with meat. Serves 10-12.

Note: When fresh or frozen cranberries were not available, I have made this dish with a can of whole cranberries, mashed, 1 pound size can, and we like this as well or even better than the frozen or fresh cranberries. I have also used 1-1/2 cups cooked applesauce, unsweetened, in place of raw apples, with good results. This takes less time, and is just as good, we think. Heat the jello and liquid until dissolved.

Shortcut cherry gelatin cranberry sauce

For variety, substitute strawberry or orange gelatin mix — regular or sugar-free.


4 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups water
4-serving envelope cherry gelatin (regular or sugar-free)


Combine cranberries and water in a saucepan. Cover and simmer over very low heat until cranberries have popped open. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin until it is completely dissolved. Pour into covered jar and chill in refrigerator until set. Makes 10 servings, about 50 calories each with regular gelatin; only 25 calories sugar-free.

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Cranberry sauce with orange and rosemary

Cranberry-lemon sauce (1973)


1 pound fresh cranberries
1 lemon, sliced thinly into semicircles
1-1/2 cups sugar


Wash and clean cranberries. Add no water (what clings to the berries after washing will be sufficient). Add lemons and sugar. Cook over slow heat about 20 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. The cranberries will split their skins when cooked. Sauce will thicken when it cools.

Cranberry-orange-nut relish (1964)

The Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) Dec 11, 1964

This one is flavored with orange marmalade and lemon juice and nuts for crunchiness. It’s a sweet relish and a rich red one and a snap to make, because it’s baked. If you prefer a less sweet sauce, cut down on the sugar.

Ingredients: A pound of fresh cranberries, 1-1/2 cups sugar, about 4 tablespoons lemon juice, and 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts. Pick over cranberries; wash and drain. Combine berries, sugar and walnuts and place in shallow baking pan. Cover with lid or foil and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 30 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, stir mixture; cover; return to oven for 30 minutes longer. Add 12-ounce jar orange marmalade and lemon juice; stir well. Chill. At serving time, spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with freshly grated orange peel and bit of cinnamon or nutmeg. Yields 4 cups.

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Baked cranberry sauce (1964)

Take a 1-pound hag of fresh cranberries, 2 cups sugar and 3/4 cup water. Pick over cranberries; wash. Combine sugar and water in saucepan and stir over low heat until dissolved. Place cranberries in 2-quart baking dish; pour syrup over; cover.

Bake in preheated 330-degree oven 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer. Cool in baking dish or pour into jars while hot. There isn’t much jelly, but the berries look like candied cherries.

Tart cranberry-pineapple sauce (1964)

This is a tart sauce, so if you have a real sweet tooth, increase the sugar. It can be served chilled, but it’s delicious served hot with ham, chicken or turkey.

Ingredients for Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce are: One pound fresh cranberries. 1 can (8-1/2oz.) crushed pineapple, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Combine all ingredients in saucepan; bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Yields 3 cups.

Baked classic cranberry sauce recipe for your Thanksgiving turkey

You can slow-bake this in the oven along with your turkey.


4 cups (1 quart) fresh cranberries
4 tablespoons water OR sweet red wine


Wash cranberries and combine with water or wine in a covered casserole dish. Slow-bake until berries pop open, about 45 minutes at 300 degrees, or about 30 minutes at 325. Serve warm or chilled. (Tart and tangy with no sweetener added, or sweeten to taste with a few drops of honey, sugar, or sugar substitute.) Makes 8 servings.

Apple-spiced classic cranberry sauce


3 cups fresh cranberries
6-ounce can defrosted apple juice concentrate, undiluted
4 tablespoons white raisins
Dash of cinnamon OR apple pie spice (optional)


Combine ingredients and simmer over very low heat, just until cranberries pop open. Chill before serving. Makes eight servings, about 15 calories each.

Homemade Red Cranberry Sauce
Photo by bhofack2/Envato

Pineapple cranberry sauce


One 16-ounce can crushed unsweetened juice-packed pineapple
4 cups fresh cranberries


Combine and simmer until cranberries pop open. Chill. Makes 16 servings.

Un-secret cranberry sauce recipe (1971)

Teche News (St Martinville, Louisiana) December 16, 1971

Fresh cranberries are among the season’s plentiful foods and make a tasty meal addition that doesn’t have to be limited to holiday dinners, notes Dr. Ruth Patrick of the LSU Cooperative Extension Service in offering her own recipe for cooking the fresh berries.

“My recipe is different – – and a lot better — than the one you’ll find on the boxes of the fresh cranberries found in many area stores,” boasts the LSU Extension nutritionist.

The un-secret of the sauce’s success is to use more sugar and less water, according to the LSU Extension nutritionist who makes the sauce in 10 minutes with one box of berries, three cups of sugar and a cup of water.

Directions are simple: Take a pound (about four cups) of fresh cranberries, wash and drain. Put three cups of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan. Stir on low heat until sugar is dissolved. Boil two to three minutes. Add cranberries and bring back to a boil.

Continue boiling until cranberries pop. This will take only two to three minutes. Do not boil any longer because this will produce a bitter taste. Remove from heat and skim off bubbles.

Allow to cool, then refrigerate. The sauce will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, or it may be frozen. Fresh cranberries may also be frozen in the package for later use. Thawing is not necessary before cooking.

Fresh cranberry time! Eatmor 10-minute cranberry sauce recipe

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
4 cups Eatmor cranberries

Boil sugar and water together 5 minutes. Add cranberries and boil without stirring until all the skins pop open (5 minutes is usually sufficient). Remove from fire and allow the sauce to remain in saucepan until cool. Makes 1 quart cranberry sauce.

Delicious as a topping for gingercake cranberry sparkle!

Make ginger cake as directed on Betty Crocker Gingercake and cookie package. Serve warm in squares, topped with whipped cream or softened cream cheese with chilled fresh cranberry sauce garnishing the cream.

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Recipes for classic cranberry sauces from 1950

Old-fashioned cranberry fruit relish recipe

Ingredients: Four cups fresh cranberries, 1 orange (quartered and seeded), 1 lemon (quartered and seeded), 1 tart apple (peeled, cored and quartered).

Put cranberries and other fruit through food chopper. Add sugar and mix well. Let stand an hour or so to blend flavors. Makes approximately 1 quart relish. Frozen to mush and piled in orange shells, this relish makes a wonderful taste-teaser with turkey or chicken.

Royal Cranberry Pie recipe (1948)

Classic cranberry sauces: Cranberry ginger-pear sauce recipe for Thanksgiving

Two cups sugar, 2 cups water, 2 pieces green ginger root, 2 pears (peeled and diced), 4 cups fresh cranberries, grated rind of 1 lemon.

Boil sugar, water and ginger root together 5 minutes. Add diced pears; cook gently for 3 minutes. Add cranberries and continue cooking until cranberry skins pop open. Cool in saucepan. Just before serving, remove ginger root and sprinkle with grated lemon rind. Makes 1-1/4 quarts.

Classic cranberry sauces: Spiced cranberry-pear sauce

Ingredients: One cup sugar, 1 cup water, few whole cloves, piece stick cinnamon. 1 tablespoon wine vinegar, 1 firm pear (peeled and diced), 2 cups fresh cranberries.

Combine sugar. water, spices and vinegar in saucepan and bring to boil. Add diced pears and cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes. Add cranberries and continue cooking until berries pop. about 5 minutes. Cool in saucepan. Chill before serving. Makes about 1 quart sauce.

Classic tangy cranberry relish recipe for Thanksgiving dinner

Ingredients: Two cups fresh cranberries, 1 lemon (quartered and seeded), 1/2 sugar, 1/4 cup honey.

Put fruit through food chopper. Stir in sugar and honey. Let stand to blend flavors. Chill before serving.

Cranberry-banana marmalade recipe


4 cups of cranberries
1 cup of water
2 cups of mashed, ripe Chiquita bananas (5-6 bananas)
6 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of grated orange rind
1 pouch of (3 fluid ounces) of fruit pectin
Canner rack
Optional: add 1/2 cup of diced orange


Simmer the cranberries in the water for 10 minutes. Mix in the bananas and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil. Boil mixture for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the orange rind. Remove from the heat, and mix in the fruit pectin.

Pour into sterilized, self-sealing hot jars within a 1/8″ of the top of jar. Wipe the jar rim; adjust the lids. Set jars in a canner rack. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes; remove the jars. Makes about 4 pints.

ALSO SEE: Royal Cranberry Pie recipe (1948)

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