Basic Cranberry Sauce and Variations

Forego canned cranberry sauce and make your own. Once you’ve tasted fresh cranberry sauce, you’ll never go canned again!

Number of servings : 1 1/2 cups (375ml)

Prep time: 5 to 10 minutes + cooling

Cooking time:

Type of meal : | Condiments | Condiments

Special diet :


2 1/2 cups (625mL) cranberries (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup (175mL) sugar
3/4 cup (175mL) water


  1. Combine cranberries with sugar and water in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes until cranberries pop and sauce starts to thicken.
  3. Pour sauce into a bowl and chill. Serve cold. Sauce will thicken on cooling.


  • Cranapple Sauce: Use 3/4 cup (175mL) brown sugar instead of the white sugar and apple juice instead of water.
  • Cranberry Port Sauce: Use 1 cup (250mL) brown sugar instead of white sugar and 1/2 cup (125mL) port and 1/2 cup (125mL) orange juice instead of water. Add 1 tbsp (15mL) grated orange rind.
  • Triple Cranberry Sauce: Use cranberry juice instead of water and add 1/2 cup (125mL) dried cranberries and 1 cinnamon stick broken in half. Remove cinnamon stick after cooking. 
  • Honey Cranberry Sauce: Use 2/3 cup (150mL) honey instead of the sugar and only 1/2 cup (125mL) water. 
  • Smooth Cranberry Sauce:  When sauce is finished, pass through a strainer or food mill.

Bonnie says: It is really easy to make your own cranberry sauce. I just love to hear the cranberries go pop pop pop as they cook. Use this with turkey but also as a spread with mayo for turkey or chicken sandwiches.  I like chunky cranberry sauce but you can make a smooth one below.

This is a basic recipe that you can vary by using brown sugar, honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar and different fruit juices, wine or fruit purees instead of water. You can also add flavourings like grated orange peel, chopped fresh or candied ginger to the sauce.

Fran says: Two tablespoons (25 ml) of this cranberry sauce contain 46 calories and about 1 gram of fibre.

Nutritional information: