Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe (It’s Easier than You Think!)

cranberry sauce

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and as you’re coming up with your menu, deciding whether to make our Caribbean sweet potato bake and if you’re going to make our easy fresh herb organic turkey with moist and savory stuffing, you might also be wondering how you’re going to make one of Thanksgiving’s most famous side dishes: cranberry sauce. While many families have turned more to canned versions than fresh, a cranberry sauce recipe is one of the easiest parts of the meal to prepare, and best of all, it’s even better when made the day before.

Choosing the Ingredients

Choosing the ingredients for your homemade cranberry sauce recipe may seem easy, but it’s actually not that straightforward. Cranberries, of course: choose organic cranberries, and even better, buy local cranberries if you can. Cranberry bogs can be found in Canada, much of New England and parts of the Midwest. The host of health benefits cranberries boast include anti-bacterial properties and a good amount of vitamin C.

To sweeten up your cranberries, choose your sugar. White sugar is traditional, but raw cane sugar adds a deeper caramel flavor that can be a welcome change.

Finally, choose your liquid. Plain water will add no flavor to the cranberries, leaving them in their most natural state, but orange is a great pairing. Fresh orange juice can be used as the only liquid or along with water, and orange liquors like Grand Marnier or Cointreau can bring an added hint of flavor that’s especially welcome.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Combine 1 cup (200 grams) of sugar with 1 cup (250 mL) of liquid. If you’re using alcohol, use no more than 1/3 of the alcohol in the liquid component. Bring the sugar and the liquid components to a boil in a saucepan, and add 4 cups (12 ounces) cranberries and a touch of orange zest. Bring to a boil and wait for the first cranberries to start bursting. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until all of the cranberries have burst. Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge to gel. Cranberry sauce is served!

Image: Mattie Hagedorn

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Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco