Perfectly sweet and tangy, my mom’s cranberry sauce recipe is an essential side dish on our Thanksgiving table. It’s so simple, yet so packed full of flavor, you’ll never go back to the canned stuff again!
Another cranberry recipe for y’all. Because I’m a little cray about the cranberries.
This cranberry sauce recipe is a family-recipe. My mom has literally been making it every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. Alongside her juicy turkey and creamiest-ever mashed potatoes, it’s pretty much THE thing I look forward to most on T-Day.
And I got her permission to share this cherished recipe with you guys today. ♥ you FOREVER, Mom!
There are a few secrets involved in getting the perfect cranberry sauce, so let’s go over them shall we?
Most cranberry sauce recipes I’ve seen over the years call for pretty much just three ingredients: Cranberries, water, sugar.
Ummm, those ingredients would be “okay” if you were interested in having a blandey-bland cranberry sauce. But we’re interested in the good stuff right guys?
Let’s start with the cranberries. Obviously we’re gonna need fresh ones. Make sure they’re not bruised and pick out the ones with bad spots.
Instead of water, this cranberry sauce gets it’s maximum flavor boost from apple cider. The sweet apple cider really brings the flavors out of the cranberries AND keeps the sauce from getting watered down and liquidy.
Rather than just using sugar to sweeten this sauce, My mom uses honey AND xylitol. (you can use sugar for an easy sub) Simply a 1/3 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of xylitol sweetened this sauce perfectly. It’s not TOO sweet but not too tart either. Perfect. ♥
I used freshly grated orange zest and cinnamon to flavor this cranberry sauce and I would NOT recommend leaving out those ingredients. Combined with the tart cranberries and the sweet apple cider, the two really bring out the aromatic and potent flavors of this cranberry sauce.
You know what my favorite part about making homemade cranberry sauce is? (well, besides the actual eating part) It’s listening to the satisfying POP of the cranberries as they break down into that thick luscious sauce. ♥
Pop, pop, pop!
What’s my secret to getting a perfectly thick cranberry sauce everytime? It’s pretty simple, actually. Let the sauce happily boil away (stirring constantly!) until thick.
Once the sauce is moderately thickened, THEN you’ll reduce the heat to low to let it simmer and continue cooking for about 10 minutes.
Don’t be afraid to let the sauce boil for about 4-5 minutes. As long as you’re stirring constantly, it won’t burn. And this fast cooking process will ensure that your sauce will thicken up quite beautifully.
Like this —>
Now that’s a picture-perfect cranberry sauce.
It tastes pretty perfect too. ♥
Everyone here has their own specific way of enjoying this cranberry sauce. Some of us (the picky ones) prefer it in a bowl off to the side of their other food to ensure that it doesn’t touch and “ruin” the rest of their dinner.
The others of us (the smart ones) will go nuts with the sauce and pile it generously on our mashed potatoes, turkey, winter squash, ect. Guys, it’s the BEST. Promise.
I fall into the last category, obv.
You should definitely plan on skipping the canned cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving and take a few minutes to make it homemade. This recipe easily doubles or triples for a crowd and I PROMISE: Your feast will be changed forever.
In the cranberriest way possible. ♥
Mom’s Cranberry Sauce
- 1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
- 1-1/2 cups apple cider
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup xylitol or sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling sauce 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly until sauce is moderately thickened.
Reduce heat to low and continue cooking 5-10 minutes until sauce is completely thickened, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and let cranberry sauce cool. Chill sauce until ready to serve.
Store cranberry sauce in refrigerator up to 4 days.
Looking for more T-day recipes? Try these on for “size.” 😉