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Quick Cranberry Sauce from Scratch

So many people take shortcuts and buy canned cranberry sauce. Here’s a quick cranberry sauce from scratch that takes less than 30 minutes.

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Can you believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday?  Did you get ingredients for fresh cranberry sauce?  

There are a bunch of cranberry sauce recipes out there, but you found the best. This is a delicious and easy recipe because it doesn’t take long to cook.  You can even make it the day before and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it.  

We love cranberry sauce at our house and our favorite way to eat is the next day. Add your leftover cranberry sauce to your turkey sandwiches with a little stuffing and you’ve got a great lunch!

Clear bowl with cranberry sauce from scratch

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

No one wants to spend a lot of time on cranberry sauce and making cranberry sauce from scratch is simple. This recipe only has a few ingredients, which you probably already have and you can throw it together a day ahead or last minute.  

You can put another family on cranberry sauce duty, even the people that don’t cook, because it’s pretty easy and can’t mess it up.

Cranberry sauce doesn’t just have to be eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. It goes great with a pork chop dinner and chicken too.

Tools to make quick cranberry sauce

I always have this section in my recipe posts, but there is only one special tool to make cranberry sauce that you may not have.

Zester– This is the one tool that not everyone has. You’ll need to zest your orange peel. Some box graters have a zesting side, but this is a good tool if you don’t have one.

Measuring Cups– I love these stainless steel measuring cups. They hold up really well and they’re easy to clean.

Pots– I switched over to stainless steel pots years ago and I love them. You can make this recipe in a nonstick pot too.

clear bowl of cranberry sauce from scratch on a wooden table with a spoon, fresh cranberries and oranges slices around it

Ingredients to make homemade cranberry sauce

Frozen or fresh cranberries– You can find fresh cranberries in the produce section around the holidays. Frozen cranberries can be harder to find and you may have to go to a few different stores, but they do make them and they’re out there. I normally buy a bunch of fresh cranberries and freeze them so I’ll have them year round.

Brown sugar– This gives the cranberry sauce a little sweetness.

Apple cider vinegar– Make sure to use apple cider vinegar and not regular distilled vinegar!!

Orange zest– This is the secret ingredient! If you don’t have an orange, you can use fresh orange juice. Just reduce the water.

Cinnamon– This rounds out the flavor and gives it a more holiday flavor.


You can add a pinch of salt if you want

clear bowl of cranberry sauce from scratch on a wooden table with fresh cranberries around it

How to make cranberry sauce from scratch

Step 1

Add the apple cider vinegar, orange zest, cinnamon, water and sugar to a pot set on high heat Add the cranberries and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally. The cranberries will start popping.  

Step 2

Once your cranberries burst, reduce heat down and simmer for 20 minutes. Sometimes it will be ready in as little as 15 minutes.

Step 3

Bring to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Tip #1

If you need to freeze cranberry sauce, use an airtight and freezer safe container.

clear bowl of cranberry sauce from scratch on a wooden table with a spoon, fresh cranberries and oranges slices around it

More great holiday recipes!

Reminder: It would be GREAT if you could leave any feedback in the comment section and rate my recipe 5 stars for other readers that are looking for something new to make.

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

So many people take shortcuts and buy canned cranberry sauce. Here’s a SUPER EASY cranberry sauce that takes less than 30 minutes.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Christmas, Thanksgiving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8
Author Holly- Keeping Life Sane


  • 16 oz. frozen or fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Orange zest from one orange
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water


  • Mix all the ingredients, add to a pot, and bring to a boil. The cranberries will start popping. This takes around 5-8 minutes.
  • Once cranberries have popped, turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes to reduce the liquid.
  • Let cool and place in air tight container in refrigerator.
Recipe Rating