Fall Recipes & Meals

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and with it comes thoughts of menus, recipes, and table settings. Everyone expects to eat a delicious meal, piling their plates high with mashed potatoes, dressing, collard greens, and of course, turkey. We all know the drill. But do you know what they’re not expecting? Nobody expects the cranberry sauce to be anything special. Sure, it’s always on the table, but it’s never memorable.

Details are important. I know that adding another task to your Thanksgiving Day duties sounds like a lot, but trust me, you don’t want to skip this. Making this homemade cranberry sauce only takes ten minutes, and the payoff is well worth it. You will never buy the canned stuff again.

Fresh cranberries can be found in the produce section of any grocery store starting around late October. This is probably the only ingredient that you don’t already have for this recipe. Everything else (water, sugar, an orange, and black pepper) are kitchen staples.

Whether you’re an OG in the kitchen, hosting Thanksgiving for the first time, or pulling up to a Friendsgiving potluck, making this homemade cranberry sauce is sure to impress.

Adding cranberries to the boiling water. Literally almost done already!

Be sure not to zest down to the white portion of the orange.

I squeeze the orange directly into the pot. Super simple.
Adding all of that delicious orange zest.

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce Recipe


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 orange
  • Fresh cracked black pepper


  1. In a medium sized saucepan, dissolve the sugar into the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Zest the orange using a microplane, then juice the orange and set aside. Be sure to only take the colored portion of the orange while zesting to avoid bitterness.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the cranberries and boil for 10 minutes. The cranberries will pop as they cook.
  4. Add the orange zest and juice to the cranberry mixture as it cooks.
  5. Add a few turns of freshly ground black pepper to the cranberry sauce and remove the pot from the heat to cool.
  6. The cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools. Cool to room temperature and serve. Further cooling in the refrigerator is optional (I serve it at room temperature).

*If you prefer jellied cranberry sauce without the whole berries, strain the cranberry sauce before cooling it. Once strained, cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator to complete the cooling process.

Watch this video to see how quickly this cranberry sauce comes together!

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a commission if you visit a link and make a purchase. There is no additional cost to you, and I only recommend products and services that I trust.


  1. This recipe looks super easy to make and I would have never thought to add Zest to my cranberry sauce ! I think I may try this recipe lol even though I don’t care for dressing lol.


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