Your go-to traditional homemade cranberry sauce recipe! Learn how to make whole berry OR jellied cranberry sauce. Fresh cranberry sauce is so much better than canned.
For many of us, cranberry sauce is a MUST HAVE on your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or holiday table. Most people don't realize just how easy it is make homemade cranberry sauce. Today, let's learn how to make both whole berry cranberry sauce and jellied cranberry sauce.
As much as we love the classic can ridges on our store bought cranberry sauce, we prefer to make our own at home. Making whole berry or jellied cranberry sauce is so easy, and only uses 3 ingredients: cranberries, sugar, and water. That's it.
Ingredients and equipment
Full ingredients and instructions are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this article.
- fresh cranberries
- Medium sized sauce pan. We love our Green Pan saucepan!
- Measuring cups.
- Wooden spoon or spoonula. We use this spoonula for everything.
- Heat safe container. This one is the perfect size!
- Fine mesh sieve (if making jellied cranberry sauce). Here's the sieve that we have.
- Large mixing bowl (if making jellied cranberry sauce).
How to shop for fresh cranberries:
Right around October, you will usually start to see bags of fresh cranberries popping up at your supermarket. They are usually inexpensive, only a few dollars for enough cranberries to make a whole batch of homemade cranberry sauce.
To make the best homemade cranberry sauce, you will want to find cranberries that are still very firm and have not been damaged. Look for bags of berries that don't have any smashed or broken cranberries and have mostly round, firm berries. The color will range from light, bright red to a dark, deep red. Both are very normal.
Look for a 12oz bag of fresh berries to make about 2 cups of whole berry cranberry sauce or 1 cup of jellied cranberry sauce
How to make homemade whole berry cranberry sauce:
Both whole berry and jellied cranberry sauce begin the same way. By combining the cranberries, sugar, and water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat on your stove top.
Give everything a good stir and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally at first.
After about 5 minutes, the berries will start to burst, and you will need to stir more often to keep the berries from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
After 10 minutes, your berries should be completely broken down and resemble whole berry cranberry sauce. At this point, you have made your whole berry cranberry sauce. Remove from heat and place berries in the refrigerator to cool for 1 hour.
How to make homemade jellied cranberry sauce:
To make jellied cranberry sauce, you will need to strain the berry skins out of your whole berry cranberry sauce. Grab a fine mesh sieve and place it over a medium bowl. Spoon your cranberry sauce into the sieve and start to press the sauce through the sieve with the back of a large spoon. Do this until all of the sauce is in your bowl and the skins are left behind in the sieve.
Spoon the strained sauce into a serving container and evenly flatten out the top a bit. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Refrigerating gives the sauce time to set, so refrigerating overnight is best.
We love to serve cranberry sauce in a fancy bowl on the Thanksgiving table! Be sure to include a large spoon so that guests can scoop some onto their plates. For an elegantly colorful presentation, sprinkle some orange zest on the top of the sauce!
We prefer to eat cranberry sauce cold rather than hot, especially the jellied sauce, as it can get thinner as it warms up. Serving the sauce cold will result in that thick, jelly like consistency that we all love.
Cranberry sauce is for so much more than a side dish on your holiday table! Try using it as a jelly on your morning toast, stirring it into yogurt, topping on ice cream, spreading it on your sandwiches (hello leftover Thanksgiving sandwiches), or using it to make baked goods and appetizers.
Recipes that use leftover cranberry sauce
You'll more than likely have some sauce left to store in your fridge. Here are some great recipes to try that use leftover cranberry sauce!
- Use it as a glaze for vegan cranberry cocktail meatballs
- Make cream cheese cranberry crescent rolls
- Try easy cranberry orange hand pies
- Use it in some leftover cranberry sauce muffins
- Make cranberry coffee cake to go with your morning coffee
How to make both whole berry AND jellied homemade cranberry sauce at home! This classic holiday favorite is so much easier than you think, and so much better than canned store bought!
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally at first, then constantly once the berries start to burst.
When the berries have burst, and you have a saucy, chutney like consistency, remove from heat. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. For whole berry cranberry sauce, spoon into a serving container and refigerate for 1 hour.
Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Pour the sauce into the sieve, and press the sauce against the sieve with a wooden spoon or spatula until all of the berry skins are separated from the sauce. Remember to scrape the bottom of the sieve to get the last bit of sauce into the bowl. Eat the cranberry skins, or reserve for another use!
Pour into your desired serving container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
If you make this recipe, please let me know on social media or in the comments below! Leave a star rating in your comment or tag me on Instagram with #Rhubarbarians.
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Hope you enjoy,
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