Skip to main content

5 Super-Fast Homemade Cranberry Sauces

Seriously, people. Homemade cranberry sauce is the easiest thing to make on the menu. Yet it's so pretty, it'll look like you worked that kitchen hard. It's travel-friendly, and you can make it days ahead. In fact it's better when you do. So let's do this quick, easy, pretty, portable, make-ahead thing.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

The Basic: Cranberries + sugar + water

prep time 5 min | cook time 15 min

This is as basic as it gets. Put it all in a pot and simmer until you hear the cranberries pop, then keep cooking for a few more minutes until it's as thick as you like. When you chill it, the sauce will thicken up even more.

"A great side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. It can be used as filling for cranberry/cream cheese tarts and also makes a great topping on bagels, corn bread, or cheesecake," says Josef Plavjak. "The pectin in the cranberries will make the cranberry sauce gel as it cools."

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Photo by Baking Nana

Cranberry Sauce

Basic + orange juice (replaces water)

prep time 5 min | cook time 10 min

"This was so easy and so delicious, my entire family, who normally skips the cranberry sauce, couldn't get enough," says Jboyer5. "Doesn't come any easier and tastier than this!"

Cranberry Sauce

Photo by CookinBug

Can you handle a little fancy? For this next group, prep time is still a mere 5 minutes, but cook time is slightly longer to let the tasty extras do what they do.

Holiday Cranberry Sauce

Basic + cinnamon + cloves + allspice
prep time 5 min | cook time 15 min

"This was the first time I attempted to make cranberry sauce from scratch and I was blown away," says heatherfeather. "The spices are perfect. I pulsed it slightly in the blender to make it a bit more saucy. I've put it on everything from waffles to a peanut butter (and cranberry sauce) sandwich."

Holiday Cranberry Sauce

Photo by larkspur

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Basic + apple cider (replaces water) + cinnamon + cloves + orange zest
prep time 5 min | cook time 20 min

"This is my absolute favorite cranberry sauce," says Jay Lynne Stuart. "The apple cider and hint of orange combined with the warm spices just makes it special."

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Photo by bd.weld

Cranberry Raspberry Sauce

Basic + Merlot (replaces water) + raspberries
prep time 5 min | cook time 25 min

"Unlike many cranberry sauces, you really taste the fruit, not just sugar, in this recipe," says lutzflcat. "The two fruits partner well, and the reduced sugar is a definite plus. Used a potato masher to lightly crush the fruit."

Cranberry Raspberry Sauce

Photo by lutzflcat

More Ways to Bump up the Basics

Basic + blueberries + cinnamon + nutmeg + allspice
Basic + jalapeño + lemon + sherry
Basic + tangerine (replaces water) + dried cherries + cinnamon + cloves + allspice
Basic + oj (replaces water) + pear + ginger + star anise + cinnamon + garam masala
Basic + oj (replaces water) + pineapple + walnuts + orange liqueur
Basic + bourbon (replaces water - please eat responsibly)

And if you want to tackle something extra-special, try your hand at cranberry chutney. Still crazy easy to make, but the complex flavors are not for the timid. But you’re not timid, right?

Check out our collection of Cranberry Sauce Recipes.


About Vanessa Greaves

Good food, friends, and fun are always on the menu. Find me as foodelicious on Allrecipes and vanny.gee on Instagram (but only if you don't mind cat pics and cocktails).