You are going to love this easy recipe for Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce. It comes together in minutes and is an easy way to make your dinner taste like Thanksgiving or Christmas without all the fuss.
Holiday dinners just are not the same without some type of cranberry sauce or salad. Growing up we always had canned cranberry sauce at our Thanksgiving dinner. It was just tradition.
In fact, I never really questioned the canned stuff until years later when my my mother in law served homemade cranberry Jello salad for dinners. I realized that it was actually quite easy to make cranberry sauce from whole berries.
You can have this delicious side dish ready in minutes. It can even be made ahead of time. So, when you are ready to serve dinner, all you have to do is pull it out of the fridge.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Easy to make in under 15 minutes.
- Turns out perfect every single time.
- Beautiful, bright color that pops on your table.
- Delicious alternative to canned cranberry sauce.
- Perfect side dish to serve at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
This whole berry cranberry sauce tastes so good that you may never buy the canned sauce again!
Key Ingredient Notes
With just a few simple ingredients you can make this homemade cranberry sauce recipe. It's quick to prepare, and it tastes delicious!
- Whole Cranberries - To make this recipe, you will need one bag of berries rinsed and dried. Stock up on bags of cranberries from the fresh produce section during fall and winter months. Use frozen berries if you can't find fresh.
- Granulated Sugar - A little bit of sugar helps to sweeten the tart berries. You can also use brown sugar or honey.
- Orange Juice - Adds a great orange flavor to the sauce. I like to use real juice (not from concentrate) with the pulp.
- Cornstarch - Helps to thicken the mixture and to create a silky smooth texture. It is optional though because the berries will thicken as they cook down.
How to make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
You can have a batch of whole berry cranberry sauce cooling on your counter in just 20 minutes! It's so easy, you may never go back to the canned stuff again.
- Stir together the berries, sugar, cornstarch, and juice in a large pan.
- Heat until the cranberries have burst and the liquid starts to get foamy and bubbly.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Once the mixture thickens, remove it from the heat.
- Stir in the vanilla and salt and spoon into a glass container.
- Press a piece of saran wrap directly onto the surface of the hot sauce. This will prevent a "skin" from forming as the cranberry sauce cools.
- Once the sauce is room temperature, refrigerate until chilled.
Refrigerator - You can store this whole berry cranberry sauce in an air tight container in the fridge for 5-6 days. It's a great dish to make ahead of time, so you do not have to think about another recipe on holidays.
Freezer - Spoon the cooled cranberry sauce into freezer safe bags or containers and freeze for 1-2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
- Freeze bags of fresh cranberries when they are in season, so you can make this homemade sauce any time you want.
- Cornstarch is optional if you do not have it or are opposed to using it.
- Want to make this sugar free? Use your favorite sweetener in place of the sugar and water instead of orange juice.
- Use all-spice, nutmeg, and cloves to give the sauce a warm flavor.
Will cranberry sauce thicken without sugar?
Yes it will. Cranberries have enough natural sugar and pectin in them that they will thicken as they cook and cool.
Can you use frozen cranberries?
Yes you can. Add the frozen berries to the pan with the other ingredients and follow the directions. You may need to simmer it a few extra minutes because of any extra liquid from the frozen berries.
Ways to Use It
Fresh cranberry sauce is a delicious addition to any holiday dinner. It pairs well with turkey, stuffing muffins, and homemade hash brown casserole. It is also great spread on sandwiches or stirred into oatmeal. Here are a few other ways to serve it.
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