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 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. Jenn says

    I just made homemade cranberry sauce of our company's Thanksgiving potluck. People thought I was a supper star! lol Little do they know how easy it truly is!

  2. Mallory says

    Really, there is no excuse to buy canned cranberry sauce when you can make your own in minutes. I love to add a little bit of liqueur…Grand Marnier, cognac…for more flavor. Citrus is definitely a must too!

  3. Joanne says

    I always thought I hated cranberry sauce…until I made my own and realized I just hate cranberry sauce from a can! Homemade is definitely the way to go. I always add ginger to mine…HUGE hit.

  4. Jean | Delightful Repast says

    Mary, I've been making cranberry sauce for decades, but I still remember how I amazed I was at the difference between homemade and canned. For one thing, the canned whole berry sauce is full of stems that I had to pick out one by one! Your strained sauce looks fabulous.

  5. Tricia @ saving room for dessert says

    You know I have always felt the same way as you about cranberry sauce. I've never made homemade, nor have I tried it on my turkey, etc. My husband always wants to have it with the meal. I love the idea of straining it while warm – I'm not into the chunky-ness. Did you make those rolls?

  6. Reem | Simply Reem says

    Mary i love how you post almost everyday…
    I really look up to you my dear for being so committed, you rock my friend…
    B'coz of my crazy schedule these days I sometime miss your post somedays but trust me when I come back I make sure I read every post… And I love it.
    This sauce looks so good…
    I am already into Thanksgiving anxiety mode, having almost 30 people for dinner this time.
    Im a scared…
    This looks really good…

    • Kijake says

      Costco generally has large bags of fresh cranberries available this time of year. I grabbed one as soon as they had them stocked. I freeze mine until Thanksgving.

    • Anonymous says

      I just bought a bag of fresh Ocean Spray cranberries at Walmart for right around $1.50. I've got to try this and pick up several more bags to try more things with!

  7. Becki's Whole Life says

    I am not sure why, but I have never really been a big fan of the canned cranberry sauce. My mom always made a cranberry relish that had orange peel and celery and it was delish. I love the simplicity in this sauce because it let's the cranberry flavor really come through with just a little bit of sweetness. Perfect!

  8. tonypboa says

    I made some last year, using 1/2 cup of maple syrup, and 1/2 cup of honey, instead of the sugar. Plus some orange zest. It was great!

  9. Anonymous says

    I started making cranberry sauce about 5 yrs ago. It is the best. I make mine with cinnamon and orange zest. yummmm.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!!!!!

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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