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15-Minute Cranberry Sauce

My favorite Cranberry Sauce Recipe, so simple you may memorize it! The perfect complement to any holiday table, this delicious cranberry relish is healthy and sweetened with fruit & maple syrup. A perfect sweet/tart addition to your Thanksgiving sides!

bowl of cranberry sauce shot from above in a white bowl

My Favorite Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I barely want to call this a “recipe,” since it’s so few ingredients with such a simple preparation method. I believe cranberries are much bigger than Thanksgiving and deserve to be celebrated throughout the winter months. I have a few other cranberry recipes on the site, and more are coming! But cranberry sauce is one of the most simple/traditional iterations of the fruit, and also one of the most delicious.

Why do we eat cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving?

While researching some fun facts for this post I learned a lot about the origins of cranberry sauce. For one, the first recorded recipe for it appeared in 1796 in The Art of Cookery by Amelia Simmons. It was the first known cookbook published by an American. Cranberry sauce itself was not likely served at the first Thanksgiving meal, as sugar was scarce at the time. According to food historians, the only foods that can be confirmed at this initial meal of pilgrims and Native Americans include are “Indian corn”, wild turkey, waterfowl, and venison (yum?).

Cranberry sauce was introduced more widely to an American audience not until 1912 in Massachusetts. And the ever-popular canned cranberry sauce came about in 1941 (I would technically consider this “cranberry jelly”).

bowl of fresh cranberries in a white bowl next to some oranges

How long is cranberry sauce good for?

Cranberry sauce, once made, can last in the fridge for 10 to 14 days. Though I tend to eat mine long before that! If you do end up looking for a way to repurpose it, I recommend this Cranberry Cornbread Crisp (which also makes us of leftover cornbread!). It is also delicious stirred into some nondairy yogurt with oats/granola for breakfast.

How to Make Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce

First, you’ll add your cranberries to a saucepan or high-sided skillet with some water. You will then bring this to a simmer to begin breaking down the cranberries. Once you hear popping noises, you will turn the heat down and add  orange juice, orange zest, sweetener, and a pinch of salt. I personally enjoy also adding applesauce (if I have it on hand), since it can contribute more autumnal flavor. This is not necessary.

orange cranberry sauce in a white bowl next to bowls of fresh cranberries and maple syrup

I hope you make this 15-minute cranberry sauce this year! It’s a perfect sweet/tart component to density of a Thanksgiving feast. If you’re looking for more cranberry recipes, try one of these next:

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bowl of cranberry sauce shot from above in a white bowl

15-Minute Cranberry Sauce


  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

My favorite Cranberry Sauce Recipe, so simple you may memorize it! The perfect complement to any holiday table, this delicious cranberry relish is healthy and sweetened with fruit & maple syrup. A perfect sweet/tart addition to your Thanksgiving sides!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 16 oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Juice and zest of one orange
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, or white sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup applesauce, optional

Instructions

  1. Add all cranberries to a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a strong simmer. The berries will start making “popping” noises. At this point, turn the heat to low and continue cooking as the berries break down, stirring so that they do not stick to the pan.
  2. After 5 minutes, add the orange juice, zest, sweetener of choice, salt, and optional apple sauce. Continue cooking and stirring. The entire process should take 10-15 minutes. Add more water if needed. The mixture will thicken as it sits.
  3. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for about two weeks.
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: One fifth of recipe
  • Calories: 74 calories
  • Sugar: 14g
  • Sodium: 1.5mg
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0.1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Protein: 0.4g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: cranberry, sauce, relish, thanksgiving

Pin this easy Cranberry Sauce:

My favorite Cranberry Sauce Recipe, so simple you may memorize it! The perfect complement to any holiday table, this delicious cranberry relish is healthy and sweetened with fruit & maple syrup. A perfect sweet/tart addition to your Thanksgiving sides!

Portrait of Emily, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. My recipes focus on entertaining-style cuisine, perfect for celebrating all of life's little moments!

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Garlic Head is a plant-based community founded by me, Emily. I focus on providing affordable, simple, & healthy recipes for entertaining.

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