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The Best Holiday Cranberry Sauce

A classic Thanksgiving and Christmas condiment. The best holiday cranberry sauce that adds a sweet, sour, good-on-everything flavor to your holiday feast.

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How to Make the Best Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Wisconsin Cranberries

Forget gussied-up sauces - This simple, easy recipe is the best!

This delicious homemade cranberry sauce recipe is perfect for the holidays! Bursting with vibrant flavor, it’s the ideal accompaniment to a festive feast. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal effort, you can whip up a batch of this tangy and sweet cranberry sauce that will impress your guests and elevate numerous holiday foods beyond the ordinary. Whether you enjoy it alongside roast turkey, spread it on sandwiches, or use it as a topping for desserts, this cranberry sauce is the ultimate holiday essential. So, let’s get cooking to make the best cranberry sauce you’ll ever taste!

A beautifully captured image of a festive bowl of homemade holiday cranberry sauce

ABOUT THIS RECIPE (per serving)

Gluten FreeDairy FreeNut FreeEgg FreeVegetarianKetoQuick & EasyHealthy ChoicesSoy FreePescetarian
Servings:  40 tablespoons (about 2-1/2 cups)
AVG. Maker RATING: 
5 from 1 vote
Write a Recipe Review
Prep Time :5 minutes
Cook Time :15 minutes
Total Time :20 minutes
Course : Accompaniment, Condiment, Ingredient, Sauce, Topping
Cuisine : American
Diet : Gluten Free, Kosher, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Low Salt, Vegan, Vegetarian
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.
Calories 14
Fat 0.01
Carbohydrates 4
Protein

First, a short holiday cooking tale that is absolutely 100% “pinky-swear” true...

Imagine soft holiday music playing in the background and the perfect Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving holiday setting… NOT!

The Day I Almost Ruined Thanksgiving...

It happened only a few hours away from everyone arriving for Thanksgiving.

My heart raced—thump, thump, thumping nearly out of my chest. Admittedly, I WAS flipping out. I had a full-on panic attack because I couldn’t find my recipe for the best fresh cranberry sauce made with Wisconsin cranberries.

Of course, I still had a standby can of store-bought jellied sauce, but honestly, it doesn’t compare to this recipe for the cranberry sauce I’ve made for our Thanksgiving dinner for over 20 years. I couldn’t bear the thought of my homemade sauce not gracing our table.

What! Did I catch you shaking your head in disbelief? I thought I almost heard you saying, “She’s lost it,” under your breath. “Why on earth would she panic? It is just a sauce, after all…”

But you MUST understand this is no ordinary sauce recipe!

This fresh cranberry sauce recipe is necessary for producing the most legendary holiday sauce ever. A condiment that everyone counts on. The pièce de resistance… in a cranberry sauce straight from heaven. The most blissful tasty sauce and accompaniment of all time for roast turkey – appetizers, cheese, and crackers – for dipping, and dolloping on desserts and over cream cheese-filled celery sticks, smearing on sandwiches, and…

Now, can you possibly understand?

🎄✨ The Best Holiday Cranberry Sauce! 🍽️🍒 Made with the juiciest Wisconsin cranberries, this sauce is the perfect blend of tangy and sweet! 😍🥣 Elevate your festive feast! 😋✨ #HolidayDelights #CranberrySauceLove #WisconsinProud #CookingGfreeDeliciously

My somewhat organized mess…

Frantically, I sorted through stacks of recipe cards, tiny scraps of handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, and print-offs. Piles upon piles of recipes with scrawled notations, tweaks, and re-works (to gluten-free) that “someday” I’ll get to file in an organized manner. By the way, I can’t help but giggle (writing this) because organizing all these is a personal joke (of a sort) since this published collection of these recipes is my most organized gathering of saving everything I hope never to lose. God willing, I will never run out of recipe inspiration with all I collect.

Then, of course, I googled without a lot of luck either.

Yes, I found gussied-up homemade cranberry sauce recipe versions, but nothing was exactly like the simple, easy Best Holiday Cranberry Sauce recipe our family has come to love.

Despite all my searching, I couldn’t find anything close to it.

“What’s wrong?” Dear hubby finally asked after noticing my frustrated frenzy.

“Oh, what on earth am I going to do?” I answered, collapsing against the counter in my best diva groan of defeat.

Amused at my drama queen efforts, “Honey,” he muttered matter-of-factly from across the room, “You’ve made that cranberry sauce a thousand times over the years. I’m sure you can do it from memory.”

With his boost of my confidence, I knew he was right. So, I put on my thinking cap (not an actual cap, but the imaginary kind). After a minute or two, it all came back. Each ingredient, the cooking process, and my cook’s confidence. There it was, where it’s been all this time, in my head.

You’ve got to love it when the only thing better than a good recipe is when something’s so easy to make that you don’t even need a recipe in the first place.

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Make the Sauce in Advance

If you’re wondering… Yes, you can make this cranberry sauce ahead of time. Store the cooled sauce in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to a week pre- or post-Thanksgiving (and, honestly, I’ve kept it for a lot longer).

As for what to do with any leftover cranberry sauce, we love using it as a spread for day-after turkey sandwiches (which seems a natural fit), but it goes great with almost everything.

Some of my favorite ideas are to:

  • Use it over cheese or liver pâté on crackers as a condiment for appetizers
  • Dollop it as a topping for cheesecake
  • Use it as a dip for cream cheese-filled celery spears
  • Mix it with horseradish (to taste) for a deliciously zesty sandwich spread or dip for grilled chicken or turkey skewers
A beautifully captured image of a festive bowl of homemade holiday cranberry sauce on a Charcuteries board with turkey, meats, and cheeses

💭 Before we go...

So, if you want to add sweet, sour, good-on-everything flavor to your holiday feast, look no further than this homemade cranberry sauce featuring the finest Wisconsin cranberries. Take it from me: this tangy and sweet condiment is essential for holiday tables and will impress your guests with its vibrant color and exquisite taste.

Our family loves the fresh cranberry tartness with its slight pucker-inducing tang that pairs perfectly with the sweetness, orange zest, and Cointreau for zip in the sauce, giving it a well-balanced taste.

It’s a festive, seasonal, chutney-like condiment you’ll want to add to your roster of Thanksgiving recipes – Something to offset all those spice-heavy dishes you know you can’t do without.

Enjoy this legendary, tried, and tested recipe that’s so easy to make that you “almost” don’t even need a recipe in the first place. It’s the best holiday cranberry sauce utilizing delicious Wisconsin cranberries.

I hope you’ll love this sauce as much as we do!

Looking for more holiday-worthy recipes? Here’s a handful of our reader favorites…

Keep scrolling to the recipe card below to print or save this recipe for the Best Holiday Cranberry Sauce to your recipe box.  Then try it this Thanksgiving or for Christmas in your home!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a happy time cooking!

XXO

Kymberley

P.S. When you try this recipe, let us know how you like it! Leave a comment below, share it, and rate it – it’s super helpful for other readers and us. Just click the blue-green comment bubble on the bottom right of your screen to jump to the comment area below.

A beautifully captured image of a festive bowl of homemade holiday cranberry sauce
PIN IT! Click the red icon in the upper left corner of this picture to save this recipe on Pinterest!
A beautifully captured image of a festive bowl of homemade holiday cranberry sauce
Make it picture perfect every time!

Check out the Tips, Tricks, and Step-by-Step photos above .

The Best Holiday Cranberry Sauce

A classic Thanksgiving and Christmas condiment that adds a sweet, sour, good-on-everything flavor to your holiday feast.
Kymberley @GfreeDeliciously
5 from 1 vote
Tried this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or ★ rating!
This recipe may contain affiliate links. For more information, visit our Affiliate Disclosure.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Accompaniment, Condiment, Ingredient, Sauce, Topping
Cuisine American
Servings 40 tablespoons (about 2-1/2 cups)
Calories 14 kcal

EQUIPMENT

  • 1 Large Saucepan
  • Utensils (Measuring Cups and Spoons, Rubber Spatula, or Large Wooden Spoon)

INGREDIENTS
  

  • 1 bag of fresh Wisconsin Cranberries about 4 cups or 12 ounces may substitute frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup Water
  • ¾ cup granulated Sugar [1]
  • Zest from one Orange about 1-1/2 teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon Cointreau Liquor [2]
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
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INSTRUCTIONS
 

Before you begin:

  • Rinse the cranberries, removing any damaged or soft berries. Zest the orange with a Microplane grater, measure out the Cointreau and set them aside until needed.

To make the sauce:

  • Add the cranberries, water, and sugar to a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to a light boil until the cranberries begin to pop. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently so nothing sticks or burns to the bottom. When the cranberries have popped and burst open (you may need to mash the cranberries a bit with the back of a spoon to help some of them pop), turn the heat to medium-low, stir in the Cointreau, orange zest, and a pinch of salt, and continue to cook (about 2 to 3 minutes more) until the liquid reduces and the sauce thickens. The mixture should turn soft and jammy, coating the back of a spoon.
    1 bag of fresh Wisconsin Cranberries, 1 cup Water, ¾ cup granulated Sugar [1], Zest from one Orange, 1 tablespoon Cointreau Liquor [2], Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • Turn off the burner and remove from the heat to cool and thicken even more to a jelled consistency.
  • Serve the cranberry sauce warm or chilled. Store leftovers in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to a week. The sauce can be frozen for up to two months. When frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge and stir it before using.
Tried this recipe?Please consider Leaving a Review.

It’s super helpful for others and us!

YOUR OWN NOTES

KITCHEN NOTES

Footnotes:
[1] You can replace some (or all) of the white sugar with brown sugar for a deeper, more caramel flavor.
[2] To make this fresh cranberry sauce non-alcoholic, reduce the water content to ½ cup and replace the Cointreau with the juice of one orange (about ¼ cup juice).
Make the Sauce in Advance
If you’re wondering… Yes, you can make this cranberry sauce ahead of time. Store the cooled sauce in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to a week pre- or post-Thanksgiving (and, honestly, I’ve kept it for a lot longer). As for what to do with any leftover cranberry sauce, we love using it as a spread for day-after turkey sandwiches (which seems a natural fit), but it goes great with almost everything. Some of my favorite ideas are to:
  • Use it over cheese or liver pâté on crackers as a condiment for appetizers.
  • Dollop it as a topping for cheesecake.
  • Mix it with horseradish (to taste) for a deliciously zesty sandwich spread or dip for grilled chicken or turkey skewers.

Nutrition

Calories: 14kcalCarbohydrates: 4gFat: 0.01gSodium: 0.3mgPotassium: 0.1mgFiber: 0.001gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 0.01IUVitamin C: 0.004mgCalcium: 0.2mgIron: 0.002mg
Keyword cranberry, orange, quick and easy, sauce

Recipe Card powered by WP Recipe Maker 

(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)

Copyright © 2017-2024 Kymberley Pekrul | GfreeDeliciously | gfreedeliciously.com | All content and photographs are copyright protected. The sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. However, copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please read my Photo Use Policy for detailed guidelines and further clarification.

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A beautifully captured image of a plate filled with vibrant and aromatic Chicken & Orzo with Lemon & Olives, accompanied by a yellow lemon slice and a few olive pieces.

Easy One-Pot Chicken & Orzo with Lemon & Olives Recipe

This bright and flavorful dish combines juicy, tender chicken thighs, nutty orzo pasta, tangy lemon, and briny kalamata olives to create a satisfying and comforting meal. Because the one-pot recipe comes together quickly, makes it an excellent option for a quick weeknight dinner or a simple yet impressive dish for entertaining. Our recipe is a must-try for anyone looking for a delicious and comforting meal that is easy to make and filled with amazing flavors!

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Kymberley @gfreedeliciously

Hi, I'm Kymberley, the creator of GfreeDeliciously and the Amazing, Glorious Journey Programs. I pray that my work will inspire you to honor your body through God and Good Food from the inside out, all while enjoying your Amazing, Glorious Journey!

Take a peek at the behind GfreeDeliciously

Being creative, cooking, fresh veggies, the violin, decorating for holidays, sewing, hand-quilting, cowgirl boots, country music, fresh herbs in pots, blowing dandelions to the wind, walking barefoot in the grass, hanging out with eclectic interesting people, reading, writing, warm lazy summer days, and yoga!

Gluten, cilantro, mixed vegetables (the frozen kind I grew up with), negativism, rudeness, narcissism, overstaying a welcome,
not helping out, liars, promiscuity, cockiness, know-it-alls, being overly-dramatic, goal-less-ness, poor hygiene, chauvinism, lacking a sense of humor, excessive competitiveness, Laziness, horrifying spellers, people-bashing, criticism and mockery of others and their beliefs, flakiness (because flaky people are really unappealing), more swagger than substance, people who constantly manage others (those folks who think they have all the answers…)

Lambrusco, my iPad, popcorn suppers, dark chocolate, cookbooks, Almond-Rocca, historical romances, sun-bathing, weekend coffee with a good book in bed, PBS cooking shows, romantic comedies, cozy sweaters, fuzzy socks, and fragrant bubble baths with soft music and wine…

Say please and thank you, LAUGH, Pray often, ENCOURAGE others, Be KIND, HONEST, HAPPY, Keep your PROMISES, Be GRATEFUL, Wash your hands, FORGIVE yourself and others, LISTEN, Have FAITH, Be CONFIDENT, Honor your parents, CHERISH your children and grandchildren, TREASURE your family, ABIDE in GOD’s love, Be POLITE, Guard your HEART, SEEK your purpose, FEED your mind, body and soul, Be HOPEFUL, Resist temptation, Lay your burdens down, TRUST your gut, CONNECT with nature, Know that GOD made you perfect just the way you are, SERVE others, LIVE to love, Be COURAGEOUS, Shine bright, OPEN your mind, RESPECT differences, HONOR your inner hunger, SING loud, Be PROUD of who you are, Practice PATIENCE, Never give up, WEATHER the storms of life, Say I love you, LOVE one another

  • I’ve traveled to 32 states in the USA where I’ve enjoyed the food, history, people and the local culture while visiting.
  • Among the states, I’ve lived in are Arizona, California, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
  • My favorite island is Maui.
  • I’ve also been to Canada and Mexico.
  • I rode horses as a kid, and barrel-raced.
  • I broke my neck when I was 18 and went to senior prom in a neck brace.
  • As a little girl, I grew up living next door to my grandma and grandpa on a small lake in rural southern Michigan.
  • The first thing I learned to cook was pancakes.
  • The craziest thing I ever made was mint-flavored green cupcakes when I was 13. My family didn’t like them much…
  •  

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Kymberley @gfreedeliciously
Coach | Cook | Creator | Publisher

Meet Kymberley [Upson] Pekrul

A professional writer and self-taught Gfree lifestyle expert on [most] gluten-free things, I’ve always loved cooking and creating delicious foods from scratch for myself and those I love.

My journey began when everything I thought I knew about cooking and eating suddenly changed one day when I discovered I was celiac. So, I re-learned how to eat, cook, and navigate through life gluten-free – trusting God and His plan for me.

I live in what’s known as the Holylands of Central Wisconsin. All the recipes you’ll find here are gluten-free and inspired by the people and places I love most. Whenever possible, I cook with seasonal ingredients using whole foods – Making dishes suitable for everyday life and all food lovers gathered at the same table.

Gfree cooking, health, and wellness ARE my life. And this little corner of the internet is where I share what I’ve learned – Where my passion IS to nourish everyday GfreeDeliciously!

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Price: $449.95
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