A quick and easy 4-ingredient Cranberry Sauce that takes less than 20 minutes to whip up is the perfect addition to your holiday menu – and transforms holiday leftovers with it’s bright, tangy and sweet flavor.
4-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce Recipe
A few years ago, I shared our adaptation of Anthony Bourdain’s Cranberry Relish, but I knew I had to expand our recipe collection to include a traditional cranberry sauce.
What’s the difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry relish? According to purists, cranberry sauce must be cooked while cranberry relish should be raw and tart. Because it’s cooked, cranberry sauce takes on a thick, sticky consistency while cranberry relish is softer and more closely resembles a textured applesauce.
If you’re at all intimidated by the idea of making your own homemade cranberry sauce let me reassure you that there is NOTHING fancy or technical about this recipe – you’re just going to throw all of the ingredients in a saucepan, simmer and stir.
The result of the quick 20 minute cook time is a thick jam-like sauce that is sweet and tangy and fully rounded out by the additions of orange juice and cinnamon for a bit of brightness and warmth.
A lot of store-bought cranberry sauces can taste slightly bitter, but this homemade cranberry sauce avoids that thanks to the acidity from the orange juice. The cinnamon helps tie the tangy and sweet flavors together, but you can leave it out, if desired.
Not only is this cranberry orange sauce a delicious addition to your holiday spread, it is perfect for adding some brightness to your holiday appetizers – or bringing new life to holiday leftovers. It also is a great alternative to your favorite jams or preserves along with holiday baked goods or breakfast.
Can I make cranberry sauce ahead of time? Absolutely! This homemade cranberry sauce can be frozen for up to three months or simply stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can serve the sauce at room temperature or reheat just before serving, based on your personal preference.
More Favorite Holiday Recipes
- Creamed Corn (with Video)
- Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Candied Carrots (with Video)
- Homemade Gravy from Drippings
- Best Buttermilk Biscuits
- Hawaiian Dinner Rolls (with Video)
- Sage and Bacon Roasted Turkey
- Pineapple Brown Sugar Baked Ham
Recipes using Cranberry Sauce
- Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs
- Cranberry Crostini
- Cranberry Brie Bites
- Leftover Turkey Dinner Tacos from The Soccer Mom Blog
- Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip from Budget Bytes
- Crockpot Cranberry Hot Wings from The Spruce Eats
Cranberry Sauce Ingredients
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: you can customize the texture of your cranberry sauce by either crushing all of the cranberries during the cooking process for a smoother cranberry sauce or leaving some whole for more texture.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
- Mason Jar, for storing
How to Make Cranberry Sauce
Place all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and stir to combine.
Place saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
Use the back of your spatula or spoon to crush the cranberries as they cook to achieve a smoother texture, if desired.
Once the cranberry skins are no longer difficult to crush and all ingredients (except for the cinnamon stick) are incorporated, remove the saucepan from heat and remove the cinnamon stick.
Allow the cranberry sauce to cool at room temperature. The sauce will naturally thicken when cooled.
Grab your free printable recipe card for our homemade cranberry sauce recipe:
- 3 cups Cranberries
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Orange Juice
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- Place all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and stir to combine.
- Place saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
- Use the back of your spatula or spoon to crush the cranberries as they cook to achieve a smoother texture, if desired.
- Once the cranberry skins are no longer difficult to crush and all ingredients (except for the cinnamon stick) are incorporated, remove the saucepan from heat and remove the cinnamon stick.
- Allow the cranberry sauce to cool at room temperature. The sauce will naturally thicken when cooled.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 0g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
I hope your family love this homemade cranberry sauce as much as mine does – you’ll probably never get away with using the canned stuff ever again!
For more homemade takes on kitchen staples, check out our full pantry staples recipe collection here: