15 minutes is all you need for homemade cranberry sauce! This recipe is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Homemade cranberry sauce is the first holiday side dish I made on my own when I first learned to cook. Let's be honest, it's pretty much foolproof, as long as you remember to stir the sauce as it cooks. And in my humble opinion, there is no comparison between homemade and canned cranberry sauce. The flavor and texture of homemade wins every single time!
I often make a double or triple batch so that we have extra on hand for turkey sandwiches (hello, Turkey Cranberry Wrap!) or other fun leftover recipes, such as Brie & Cranberry Potato Bites, 3-Ingredient Brie & Cranberry Phyllo Turnovers and Turkey, Cranberry & Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.
💙 What's to love about cranberry sauce with cinnamon:
▪️ THE FLAVOR! There's is nothing like the flavor of homemade cranberry sauce with orange juice and spices. Do yourself a favor and pitch the canned stuff. I promise you'll never go back.
▪️ SPEEDY: This recipe truly takes just 15 minutes to make. And most of the cooking time is hands-off. Couldn't be easier!
▪️ MAKE-AHEAD: Not only does homemade cranberry sauce hold up well in the fridge for several days, but it also freezes beautifully. Make a batch weeks ahead of Thanksgiving or save the holiday leftovers to enjoy over the coming months.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS HOMEMADE CRANBERRY SAUCE RECIPE:
These are the main components need for this recipe (affiliate links included)…
- FRESH CRANBERRIES: During the holidays, fresh cranberries can be found in the produce section of almost every grocery store. I often buy the large bag of cranberries at Costco and freeze whatever I don't use right away. You can either freeze cranberries in the bags you buy them in, if unopened, or in resealable freezer bags.
- MAPLE SYRUP: Please, please, please use pure maple syrup, not the cheaper corn syrup versions that aren't actually maple syrup. The taste difference, not to mention the health difference, is significant and noticeable.
- ORANGE JUICE: If you have an orange in your fridge, use the fresh orange juice. If not, pre-made orange juice will do in a pinch.
- SPICES: The cinnamon flavor comes from simmering cinnamon sticks in the mixture. Additionally, ground cinnamon and nutmeg are added for a wonderful, rice spiced flavor. I like to grate whole nutmeg on a zester, but you can also use bottled ground nutmeg.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
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How to make cranberry sauce with orange juice:
The instructions for making cranberry sauce couldn't be easier. Let's talk details...
COMBINE INGREDIENTS: Use a large saucepan. Either nonstick, enamel-coated or stainless steel will do. Add the fresh cranberries, water, maple syrup, orange juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks. Give it a good stir.
BOIL AND SIMMER: Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat so that the mixture is cooking at a lively simmer. I set the heat to medium on my stovetop, but that may vary depending on the type of stovetop in your kitchen. Give the mixture a stir once in awhile to stop the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
SMUSH THEM: As the cranberries soften, I use the back of a wooden spoon to gently smush the cranberries against the side of the saucepan. They will burst on their own, but this moves the process along a bit faster. Only do this with the cranberries that have softened.
COOL AND SERVE: Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool slightly. Then transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool completely. If you like, stir the sauce occasionally to release the heat. Serve it or transfer to airtight containers to store in the fridge or freezer.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes! Cranberry sauce can last for up to a week in the fridge when covered well, which makes it a fantastic make ahead side dish for the holidays. Once cooled, transfer the cranberry sauce to a container with an airtight lid, such as this one.
Another yes! I often make a double or triple batch of cranberry sauce a few days before Thanksgiving, then freeze the extras to serve with Christmas dinner a few weeks later. Cool the sauce completely, then store the sauce in a freezer-proof airtight container or in a resealable freezer bag. Defrost the sauce in the refrigerator at least 24 hours before serving.
Other easy holiday side dishes:
▪️ Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios, Cranberries & Parmesan
▪️ Easy Green Beans with Prociutto & Pistachios
▪️ Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
▪️ Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Cinnamon
- 12 ounces cranberries
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the cranberries, water, maple syrup, orange juice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir in the cinnamon sticks.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the cranberries have burst, stirring frequently, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and cool completely. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature to serve.
This post was first published on November 6, 2019. Updated on November 18, 2022.
Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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