The Cranberry Sauce Even Canned Lovers Enjoy

This Cranberry Sauce Recipe May Make You Say Goodbye to Canned

As a foodie, Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s a day to gather with those you love and celebrate together. What better way to celebrate loved ones than breaking bread with a feast? If you are looking for recipe inspiration, whether as a host or a guest bringing a side dish, cranberry sauce is always a holiday favorite. Traditionally, cranberry sauce fans divide into two strong-willed camps; those who make a fresh sauce and those who reach for canned options. This one-pot recipe is packed with flavor and requires less than a half-hour to make! It may even convert guests who prefer canned sauce. 

Sweet and Spice Balance the Bitterness of this Cranberry Sauce

When I started cooking my own Thanksgiving dinners, I used inspiration from my mom’s cooking. Her cranberry sauce mixes sugar, orange juice, and whole berries into a pot. Once the berries simmer and begin popping, she strains the mixture through a mesh sieve to remove the cranberry skins. Straining is a simple but easy step for those who prefer a smoother texture. I wanted a recipe that added seasonal flavors and incorporated the skins for a thicker consistency when adapting my version.  

After a few test batches, I created a recipe worthy of eating alone by the spoonful. Fresh orange juice sweetened with sugar offsets the bitterness of the cranberries. Cinnamon, allspice, clove, and star anise add warmth to the sauce but don’t overpower when drizzled over turkey, stuffing, or vegetables. It’s also a perfect spread on bread when making sandwiches assembled with leftovers. 

The Ultimate Cranberry Sauce

Saying goodbye to canned sauce is easier than you think!
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberries, cranberry sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 66kcal


  • 12 oz. Fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup Fresh orange juice
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • 1/16 tsp. ground clove


  • Rinse and drain the cranberries in a small colander. Once drained, set the berries aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, add the orange juice, granulated sugar, star anise (see cooking tips,) cinnamon, allspice, and clove.
  • Place the pan onto a stovetop over medium-low heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the whole cranberries, stirring to coat the berries.
  • If you wish the sauce to cook faster, place a tight-fitting lid on the pot. Be sure to keep an eye on the berries, as the cover may muffle the popping sound.
  • Once the berries begin to pop and the sides of the cranberries split, remove from heat, and turn off the burner.
  • With a spoon, fold the berries over, removing and discarding the star anise when they surface.
  • Using the back of the spoon, crush the berries against the sides of the pot.
  • Once achieving the desired consistency, serve immediately. As the sauce cools, it will naturally thicken.


If you have cheesecloth, create a sachet to place the star anise inside. It will not burn inside the sauce and allows you to find the anise quickly. If you add the star anise freely, don’t crush the berries until the star anise is removed
Nutrition facts are calculated by WP Recipe Maker using an AI generator. Nutrition information will vary based on the brands and ingredients selected. The nutrition information is a general guide.


Calories: 66kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 59IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Storage Tips

Once chilled, store your cranberry sauce refrigerated in an air-tight container for 10 to 14 days. If storage beyond that time frame, pour the sauce into a freezer-safe container and record the frozen date. The flavor will be best within two months but can remain frozen for up to a year. If you prefer your sauce warmed, reheat in a pot on the stove until reaching the desired temperature or consistency. 

Don't Miss Out on Fresh Cranberries Year Yound!

When it comes to fresh cranberries after the holidays, the only cranberries you will find are dried. When working in the produce department, “do you have fresh cranberries” was a common question throughout the year. While cranberries are common for creating a Thanksgiving sauce, they’re a wonderful flavor in baking and cooking. So take advantage of the flavor of whole berries while they’re here! 

You can freeze cranberries directly in the bag they come in for up to a year. If freezing an open package of cranberries, place the berries in an air-tight container rather than the open bag.  When thawing, only take out the portion you will need. While cranberries are 90% water, they don’t stick together easily when frozen. Cranberries can either be added to a recipe frozen or thawed. If cutting the berries in half, I do recommend only doing so once thawed. Which type of cranberry sauce do you prefer for holiday gatherings?

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