10 March 2021 (updated)

Crazy for Cranberry Sauce: Ideas and Recipes

At my house, if cranberry sauce didn't come out of the can, my sister might have some strong words.

But hear me out, Sister: this may be our year. Homemade cranberry sauce. Fresh cranberries, orange zest...sweet perfection.

Whether you're looking for the classics or a side dish to spice up your menu, here are some great ideas for cranberry sauce recipes that the whole family will love:

Recipes for Cranberry Sauce That May Just Outshine the Stuffing

Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce: the sweet and tangy condiment that's a Thanksgiving staple. It's much simpler than you'd think!

Crazy Good Cranberry Sauce

The perfect side to anyone's Thanksgiving meal.

5 from 5 votes


a min


10 mins


11 mins


Side Dish




8 people


100.0 kcal


  • 3/4



  • 1/2


    orange juice

  • 1/2



  • 12


    fresh cranberries


  • pinch


  • 1

    cinnamon stick

  • 1

    orange peel


  • Crazy Good Cranberry Sauce

    1. Combine and stir.

      Over medium heat, combine sugar, orange juice, and water in a large saucepan and stir.

    2. Add ingredients.

      Add cranberries, salt, cinnamon stick, and orange peel. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.

    3. Continue cooking.

      Continue cooking for about 10 minutes, or until all (or most) of the cranberries have popped.

    4. Let cool.

      Let cool for a minimum of 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.



9.0 mg


100.0 kcal


25.0 g




2.0 g


0.4 mg


65.0 mg






2.0 mg


21.0 g

Vitamin A:

54.0 mg

Orange-Cranberry Sauce

For this recipe filled with the warm, cozy spices of the holiday season, you'll need 12 oz. cranberries, 1/2 cup orange, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp vanilla, and  2 tbsp orange zest. You can add other yummy ingredients like pecans, allspice, cinnamon, or raisins.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Apples:

This is for those individuals (*eh-hem* my sister) who prefer their cranberry sauce to be the jellied variety. This kind lends itself to being more of a side dish rather than a condiment. It's a Cranberry-Apple variation with simple ingredients! Start by lining a loaf pan with plastic wrap and baking spray. In a medium saucepan, combine the 12 oz. of cranberries with 1 large peeled and diced fuji apple, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the cranberries are completely broken down and the sauce is very thick, which should be about 15 minutes. Pour the cranberry sauce into the loaf pan and chill for about 3 hours. Turn the jelly onto a serving plate and remove the plastic wrap. Garnish with fresh cranberries and sprigs of rosemary.

Variations of the Classic Recipe

  • Honey: To add some depth to the sweetness, substitute the sugar with 2/3 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Spicy Jalapeno: If you're looking for something a little different this year, you could quite literally spice up your Thanksgiving menu with this hot and sweet condiment. In a large saucepan, combine 2 jalapeno peppers (de-seeded and diced), 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 tsp orange zest. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and add 12 oz cranberries. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally as the cranberries pop. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and completely chill.
  • Cranberry Relish: This is basically the same ingredients as cranberry sauce, minus the cooking. Just put the cranberries, apples, and oranges into the food processor before mixing it with sugar and orange zest. You need to get the right consistency--finely chopped but not mushy. You can also add or substitute ingredients like crystallized ginger, pear, pineapple, nuts, or other spices.

Recipe Ideas for Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Half the fun of Thanksgiving is eating those leftovers for days. Here are some ideas to get those leftovers out of your fridge and onto your plate!

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars: The perfect breakfast before you head out on the brisk fall walk!

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins with Streusel topping: A brunch staple, or even a snack for the afternoon!

Cranberry Vinaigrette: Perfect for that "I've got to get back on track" salad you'll be eating for the next few days.

Cranberry Sauce Bourbon Cocktail: The perfect cozy-up-by-the-fire cocktail to keep you nice and warm.

Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Salad: A sweet and savory way to use up that extra turkey, too!

Cranberry Drizzle: Whether you top your pancakes, put it on your sandwich, or serve it on top of that fancy cheesecake, cranberry sauce is the MVP in terms of its versatility.

Yes, You Cran!

If you're in charge of making the cranberry sauce this year, we hope this has been helpful and inspired you to venture into new territory. But it's great if you want to stick to the classics, too! Be sure to share a photo of the finished product, along with the rest of your amazing recipes with the ones you love on FamilyApp.

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