When the grocery store is out of fresh berries, fear not- you can make your own cranberry sauce using frozen cranberries instead! Naturally sweetened and made with a lot less sugar than the canned stuff, this great recipe belongs on your holiday table.
I was older than I want to admit when I discovered that cranberry sauce didn't have to come from a can. And what a wonderful realization it was!
I will warmly remember my days of eating canned cranberry jelly- it was my first taste of those sweet-tart red berries and the beginnings of my infatuation with them (a fondness that led them to be the star in this dessert crisp and smoothie!).
But once I had tasted a couple of homemade versions, I knew there was no going back. And so I set out to make my own perfect cranberry sauce recipe.
Opting to use frozen berries, which I can find at any time of the year, and maple syrup in place of brown or white sugar, I came up with this easy recipe worthy of all of your holiday meals.
- Frozen Whole Cranberries- No need to thaw- just use them directly in the recipe. Fresh cranberries will also work.
- Orange Juice- You can use pure orange juice from a carton or get fancy and squeeze fresh orange juice. If using fresh, feel free to add in a bit of the orange zest as well for extra orange flavour.
- Maple Syrup- Honey will also work. As written, this recipe is a sweet-tart sauce, which is how I like it but feel free to add a bit more at the end to suit your tastes. For more alternatives, see this post on maple syrup substitutes.
- Cloves- Feel free to leave it out if you don't have any on hand.
- Sea Salt
1. Simmer. Place cranberries, juice, syrup and seasonings in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes stirring often and breaking up the cranberries with the back of your spoon. Cook until the sauce is nearly at your desired consistency- it will thicken a little bit more once it cools.
2. Cool. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature to allow it to fully thicken before serving.
Make Ahead: This recipe stays well up to a week and needs to cool after preparing so it is the perfect recipe to make ahead when preparing for your Thanksgiving meal.
To Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
Make it Your Own
- Smooth Cranberry Sauce- Allow to come to room temperature and then transfer to food processor and puree until smooth.
Wondering how to enjoy your homemade cranberry sauce? I have plenty of ideas- you might even want to make a double batch because there are so many delicious and fun ways to enjoy the leftovers!
- Serve it with roast turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner (obviously)
- Or have it with Swedish Meatballs in place of Lingonberry Jam
- Spread on toast as your jam or use it as the "J" on a PB and J (one of my favorites!)
- Put your leftover turkey to good use and make a Cranberry Brie Turkey Sandwich
- Spoon it over ice cream or enjoy it on top of a cheesecake
- Eat it straight from the spoon...
Absolutely! Frozen berries work in place of fresh in cranberry sauce and don't need to be thawed prior. As a bonus, they can be easier to find outside of the holiday season so you can make sauce any time of year.
12 ounces (340 grams) or cranberries is approximately 3 cups.
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If you have dietary restrictions, check the packaging of specific ingredients that you use to ensure they are compliant. This recipe is:
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
- Nut Free
And if you liked this recipe...
...you might also like these other homemade sauces!
- 3 cups frozen cranberries (1 12-ounce bag)
- 1 cup pure orange juice
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- pinch fine sea salt
- Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and place over medium heat.
- Simmer and cook until thickened to desired consistency, about 25 minutes, stirring often and breaking up the cranberries with the spoon.
- Taste and add additional sweetener to taste.
- Allow to cool and then serve.