Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe: Always a hit!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe: Always a hit!

(updates at the bottom)
“I hate cranberry sauce”.  I have heard this phrase every singe year around Thanksgiving, and every year I laugh.  Why?  Because every year I make my fresh cranberry sauce, and it disappears.  It is gobbled up, and usually has almost no leftovers!

For example, 2 years ago we were prepping for Thanksgiving at Ft. Bliss with some friends.  Turns out we ended up cooking for 22 people.  So I did a lot of the cooking while a friend hosted.  ALL of the guests said they hated cranberries and all cranberry sauces, the loudest “hater” was Joe, the hosts husband.  But, I made my cranberry sauce anyway because I know Hubs likes it.  I did make several people promise to at least Taste my version.

Well Thanksgiving day arrived, everyone sat down to eat and when it was time to clean up there was only about 1 cup of cranberry sauce left.  That is out of a double batch that yields 6-8 cups worth.  And Joe?  He and Hubs argued over who got to keep the leftovers.  Because they are delicious!

cranberry sauce

To make my cranberry sauce you will need:

  • 2 Bags of fresh cranberries (not frozen)
  • 1-3 cups of sugar (it varies because cranberries can be extremily tart or just kinda tart depending on when they are picked)
  • 1/2 medium onion shredded or finely chopped (trust me)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 orange (for the juice and 1 Tbs zest)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional)

In a medium pot place the onions, the cranberries and the water and bring it to a low simmer.  As soon as it starts to simmer add sugar (1 cup for now).  Mix that in well, until the sugar is dissolved then add in the apple, orange juice, orange zest, honey.  Bring this to a medium simmer until the cranberries start to crack/burst.  Then turn it down to a low simmer and add the salt, cinnamon nutmeg and raisins.  Simmer for about 10 more minutes and then taste it.  This is the time to add more sugar if needed.  Once all the cranberries have burst, take it off the heat and add your nuts if you like.  Set aside to cool in a serving dish.

I prefer to eat my cranberry sauce hot, but Hubs and most other people like it cool/cold. If you like yours cool, place it in the fridge.  This is a great dish to make ahead and then just pull out for Thanksgiving dinner.

Leftovers:  Besides using them with toast and butter, Hubs adds cranberry sauce to his plane oatmeal or grits.

This past weekend I made the cranberry sauce for Hubs’ family, and they loved it.  Well Grandpa still wanted his normal canned cranberry sauce but I am pretty sure Grandma ate more cranberry sauce than any other foods….put together :)

*UPDATE* because of some great questions I am updating this a bit.
Thickness:  The thicker you want your sauce, the longer you let it simmer.  Hubs likes his somewhere between a sauce and a jelly consistency.  I cook ours about 10 more minutes past the last tasting to get the consistency he likes.  If you are looking for more of a sauce, that first 10 minutes will do the trick, jellied set up?  more like add 15-20.  But know, the longer you cook it the mushier everything else will get.

Temp:  I cook almost everything on medium heat.

Onions:  For Thanksgiving this year, I pureed onions for the corn casserole, so I just did the same for this recipe and it came out delicious too!


  1. This sounds so delicious and since my husband can never get enough cranberries he is going to love this recipe.I can't wait to see his face when I make this for him.Thank you

  2. Hi there! I was just wondering if this will thicken at all when it cools. I am in the process of making it and it is still fairly soupy. Would you recommend blending it? Thanks!

    • I am just seeing your comment or I would have replied sooner. I hope you got it thicked. I usually cook it to a thickness I like, and just continue cooking it till it is there. It does thicken up some when it cools, but if its soupy it will not become jelly like.

      I have never blended my cranberry sauce before. How did yours turn out?