Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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Do you know how easy it is to make cranberry sauce? If you can boil water, I promise you can make cranberry sauce. For years, I bought it in a can and my husband and boys ate every last bit of it.

They really love cranberry sauce. We always bought an extra can, just for the leftovers.

That cranberry sauce was just for my boys though. I have never liked it in the past. A couple years ago, that changed for me. I tried a sandwich that stacked turkey with cranberry sauce and I fell in love with the combination.

It was not a sugary sweet sauce, it was tangy and sweet at the same time. I now understand why so many people think that it just isn’t Thanksgiving without the cranberry sauce!

I’ve made cranberry sauce a few different ways, but this is my favorite version. I love the tartness of the berries and the lemon, along with the sweet sauce. I prefer a smooth sauce, so I press ours through a strainer while it is still warm.

I love having one dish already made for the big day next week! Cranberry sauce can be made a week in advance and then kept in the refrigerator.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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Homemade Cranberry Sauce

5 from 2 votes
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  • 12 oz fresh cranberries technically, mine were frozen because I accidentally tossed the bag in the freezer
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • juice of half a lemon mine was medium size


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. When the cranberries start to pop, the sauce is done. Cool completely and then place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • * If you prefer a smooth sauce, simply place a mesh strainer over a large bowl and press the cooked sauce through it. I use the back of a wooden spoon or a large spatula to do this. Scrape the underside of the strainer as you do this, there will be a lot of sauce there too.
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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Oklahomama says

    I use the juice of an orange instead of a lemon, for one of my varieties on Thanksgiving, when I make traditional and two other variations for my "Cranberry Trio". I serve them in a divided shallow dish or platter – the family and friends love them. Typically I make traditional, orange, and apple/pecan (with fairly fine chopped pecans!) Doesn't sound nearly as yummy as it is, or as the empty dish says!

  2. Marilyn says

    I replace the water with half juice and half white wine…. comes out yummy! I've added some frozen strawberries and fresh apples to it also…. sometimes add cinnamon…. mine is never exactly the same, but I never used straight water.

  3. Anonymous says

    Have made it this way for years but do not put lemon juice in mine… The DIRECTIONS are on the cranberry bag folks!!!!!

  4. Kara says

    I made your homemade cranberry sauce and all I can say is that I will not be buying cranberry sauce in a can. My family and I enjoyed your recipe. Fresh Cranberry Sauce Forever!! Thank you

  5. Dawn says

    Zest an orange, substitute fresh orange juice for the water, add the zest after cooked. I also add diced Granny Smith apple, unpeeled with the zest off heat.

  6. Jan says

    I have been looking for a. recipe like this one and I am so happy that I found it.
    You have so many great recipes and I can’t wait to try them .5 stars

  7. Norma Curran says

    I’ve been making this for years. I stock up on berries ,during the holidays, to use year around. I usually have some sauce in the fridge ! I enjoy freshly grated ginger in mine.5 stars

  8. Kasey says

    An award winning chef in northern Wisconsin shared his secret recipe for Cranberry Sauce. It is Cranberries, water, a little honey. Cook down a bit. After off the heat, add a splash of Creme de Cassis, which is black current liquor. It elevated the sauce to a level you won’t believe. Also the honey gives it more dimension than just cane sugar.