“Learn how to make homemade cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries. A splash of orange and pomegranate juices takes this from-scratch cranberry sauce to the next level! Easy and quick to make!”

Watch me make this homemade cranberry sauce from start to finish!!

Hey, don’t forget the cranberry sauce!!! Thanksgiving is just not the same without it in my family. It completes the meal to have that dark, ruby, sweet, tangy stuff stashed on your plate.

Cranberry sauce is so easy and quick to make that there really isn’t a reason why everyone shouldn’t make it homemade. It blows that canned jelly stuff out of the water.

However, I won’t lie: I used to (who am I kidding, I still do lol) love that canned cranberry sauce.

 As a kid, I thought it was so cool how it used to plop out of the can slowly and still have that rigged canned shape. 

I could never eat very much of it, though. However, I can eat this homemade cranberry sauce by the spoonful! I mean, cranberries have vitamin C,  potassium, fiber, and calcium, so it can’t be that bad, right?!

What is cranberry sauce?

Cranberry sauce is a side dish typically associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Growing up, that was the ONLY time we had cranberry sauce. 

If you purchase cranberry sauce from the store, it’s usually in the gel version in a can. Homemade cranberry sauce is more like a thick and chunky jelly in texture. It consists of cranberries, sugar, sometimes warm spices, and usually some type of juice or water. 

The cranberries are boiled until they become thick. It’s a really sweet side/relish, so you only need a small amount to get your fix.


What I LOVE about this homemade cranberry sauce recipe

  • Flavor: The flavor of homemade cranberry sauce is just unmatched, sweet and tart! The freshness of cranberries just does its thing, making you wonder how you loved that canned stuff for so long. Adding that splash of orange and cranberry juice makes it all come together! It’s so delicious. Oh, and here’s a reader tip: Becca, on my Facebook page, replaced the pomegranate with fresh granny smith juice and said it was “In freakin heaven.” I’ll be sure to try that soon!
  • Bragging Rights:  I won’t lie; there is something bougie about making homemade cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries. It just feels right and people actually think you’ve done something complicated.
  • Ease: Making cranberry sauce is as easy! It literally is boiling and stirring, but don’t tell anyone. 
  • Versatility: Homemade cranberry sauce isn’t just for Thanksgiving turkey. Slather it on leftover turkey sandwiches, stir it into your morning yogurt, or even use it as a glaze for chicken. 

What type of cranberries should I use? 

Fresh or frozen cranberries will work just fine for homemade cranberry sauce. If you’re using frozen, there’s no need to thaw them. Just toss them in the pot, and you’re golden!

I like to grab my cranberries from the Farmers Market, but if they’re out, I usually go with the Ocean Spray brand.

Can I make cranberry sauce ahead of time?

Absolutely! In my opinion, it tastes even better the next day anyway! The flavors get a chance to meld together, creating a bold and flavorful cranberry sauce!  It is one thing to mark off your holiday dinner prep list.

How to make homemade cranberry sauce


  •  fresh cranberries- The main character! They give the sauce it’s signature tanginess! When they cook down, they release a natural pectin, which helps the sauce thicken.
  • Granulated sugar- Balances out the intense tartness of the cranberries. (can also use a bit of brown sugar if preferred)
  •  fresh orange juice – Complement the flavor of the cranberries and adds depth
  • 100% pomegranate juice- compliments the flavor of the cranberries.


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and pomegranate juice.
  2. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Let simmer over medium heat until almost all of the cranberries have popped.
  4. Stir occasionally and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Pour into a serving dish.
  6. The sauce will thicken and set as it cools and gets even better the next day.
  7. Serve at room temperature or cold. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Feeling creative? 

Add spices- Just a pinch of warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove, and nutmeg can add a different level of flavor. Try simmering a cinnamon stick with the cranberries.

Add zest- orange zest, lemon, or lime zest are perfect for cranberry sauce. Orange peel and rosemary make excellent garnish! 

Make it boozy- A splash of rum, bourbon, or brandy adds an excellent depth to cranberry sauce. Any strong alcohol tastes will cook off as the sauce simmer in the saucepan.

Add some crunch- For those who prefer a bit more texture to their cranberry sauce, you can throw in walnuts, pecans, apples, or even raisins.

Use different sweeteners- white sugar isn’t the only way to sweeten cranberry sauce! You can try brown sugar, maple syrup, honey,  or palm sugar. 

How to use leftover cranberry sauce

If you’ve got leftover cranberry sauce, here are a few ways to enjoy it!

  • Spread the cranberry sauce on top of pancakes, waffles, biscuits, or bagels!
  • Mix with BBQ sauce to create a sweet and smokey glaze for chicken or pork.
  • Mix into oatmeal, ice cream, or yogurt.
  • Freeze it and have homemade cranberry sauce throughout the year!

Get the Recipe: Homemade Cranberry Sauce

4.91 from 22 ratings
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup sugar, can add more or less
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice, juice of 2-3 oranges
  • ½ cup 100% pomegranate juice


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add cranberries, sugar, orange juice and pomegranate juice.
  • Stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Let simmer over medium heat until almost all of the cranberries have popped.
  • Stir occasionally and continue cooking until sauce has thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Pour into a serving dish.
  • Sauce will thicken and set as it cools and gets better the next day.
  • Serve.



Replace the pomegranate juice with cranberry or apple juice or water if desired.
This gets better as it sits so make it ahead.
It will also thicken and set as it cools. Don't skip that FRESH orange juice.
Cuisine: American, southern
Course: Side Dish
Author: Divas Can Cook
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.