Tangy, bright, and citrusy, homemade cranberry sauce is a surefire way to make your kitchen smell oh-so-cozy. The best part is that it only takes a handful of ingredients (and less than 30 minutes) to come together. Whether it's for the holidays or you just have a craving for delicious cranberry sauce, this recipe will soon become your go-to.
If you are not able to find fresh cranberries, frozen ones work just as well; just keep in mind that you will have to cook them slightly longer (about five more minutes). Adding salt—more than you might think—helps to bring everything together. Cranberry sauce often tends to be on the sweet side, but this recipe adds a savory touch. One of the best parts is that there's no thickening agent necessary: As they cook, the cranberries burst open, releasing tiny seeds that add just the right amount of jammy texture. The clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg provide warmth, ideal for the autumn and holiday season. But if you don't like these spices, feel free to leave them out, or add a sprinkle of floral ground cardamom or licorice-esque whole star anise (just be sure to remove once the sauce is cooled).
This simple cranberry sauce is simply the perfect side for your Thanksgiving meal. I suggest making a double batch, for leftover-turkey sandwiches the next day. It’s also wonderful swirled into oatmeal or breakfast grain bowls. Either way, this is a simple recipe that comes in handy at the holidays and all fall long. —Rachel Gurjar
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 20 minutes
- makes 2 1/2 cups
cranberries (fresh or frozen, see Author Notes)
finely grated orange zest (from about 1 orange)
fresh orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
(3-inch) cinnamon stick
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, mashing the cranberries with the back of a fork occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the cranberries are translucent, soft, and broken into half. The texture should resemble a loose jam. If you want a chunkier sauce, continue to cook for about 5 minutes to keep reducing the liquid until the desired consistency is achieved. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then remove the cinnamon stick before serving.
- Do Ahead: The cranberry sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container or jar and store in the refrigerator.