Really Simple Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Yield: About 2 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest (optional, but delicious)

Optional Add-Ins

  • ¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons raisins or dried currants
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Splash of orange liqueur


  • Rinse Cranberries: Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse under cool water. Pick out any damaged or soft berries.
  • Combine Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, and water. If using orange zest, add it now.
  • Bring to a Boil: Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Simmer: Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cranberries will pop and the sauce will thicken.
  • Check Consistency: Taste and adjust sweetness by adding more sugar if needed. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water and stir.
  • Add-Ins (Optional): If desired, stir in any of the optional ingredients like nuts, dried fruit, spices, or liqueur.
  • Cool and Serve: Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Cranberry sauce thickens as it cools. Serve warm or at room temperature, or chill for later use.


  • Store leftover cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  • Fresh vs. Frozen: Either fresh or frozen cranberries work perfectly in this recipe.
  • Make Ahead: This sauce is great for making ahead of time, especially for holidays!
  • Leftover Ideas: Cranberry sauce is delicious beyond turkey! Try it on yogurt, ice cream, pancakes, or even in a vinaigrette.


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