Cranberry sauce is one of those dishes that most of us just can't resist. Its bitter punch plus a forkful of tender turkey equals the perfect Thanksgiving. Our delicious cranberry sauce recipe is your ticket to a successful holiday dinner. Here's how to prepare a sauce that will keep your guests smiling.



  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Stick the cranberries in a colander and give them a good rinse before using (pick out any damaged or squished ones).

  2. Place the sugar, orange juice, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; stir to dissolve the sugar.

  3. Add the cranberries to the water and let simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the berries burst.

  4. Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest.

  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the mixture to reach room temperature before serving.


  • saucepan
  • colander

Additional Ingredients

Cranberry sauce is a bit like soup in the sense that you can add a variety of ingredients to make it your own. If this is your first year being in charge of the cranberry sauce, consider adding:

  • raisins
  • honey
  • lemon zest
  • vanilla extract
  • allspice

You don't want to go too crazy with the add-ons, but these ingredients will blend beautifully with the cranberries and help reduce their bitterness. You can also substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar if you're so inclined.

Cranberry Sauce Pairings

cranberry sauce in a white dish on a cutting board

We all know a little Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce are a match made in heaven, but cranberry sauce can be used in an assortment of recipes. Pair your sauce with other types of meat or fish -- it's especially good on beef, chicken, or salmon. You can also use cranberries to glaze your turkey (or meat dishes like meatloaf or steak).

Of course, once the turkey has been gobbled up, what's a chef to do with the leftover sauce? Simple! You can flavor basic Greek yogurt with it or even use it to make some delicious breakfast muffins.

Final Notes

close up of cranberry sauce in glass bowl

There's no need to limit yourself with cranberry sauce; create a personal take on the recipe by incorporating different spices and ingredients. Should the impossible happen and you find yourself with leftovers, dispose of any remaining sauce by preparing a sweet glaze or adding the sauce to plain yogurt.

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