Perfectly sweet and tangy, my mom’s fresh cranberry sauce recipe is an essential side dish for any Thanksgiving table. It’s so simple to make you’ll never go back to the canned stuff again!
Yep, you may never open a can of cranberry sauce again after one taste of this goodness!
We’ve got the perfect balance of sweetness to tartness in this lovely cranberry sauce and it’s absolutely packed with flavor from fresh orange zest, apple cider, and a little pinch of cinnamon.
Moms recipes don’t lie, y’all. You’ve got to add this one to your Thanksgiving menu!
The best part about this sauce is that it’s seriously the most EASY side dish to pull off! Everything simmers together in minutes in the same pot and you can make it days in advance as well.
This Cranberry Sauce features…
- Tart cranberries cooked in sweet apple cider and honey
- Flavorful orange zest and a pinch of ground cinnamon
- Minutes to make and goes well with a variety of dishes
Making the Cranberry Sauce
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Apple cider
- Granulated sugar
- Orange zest
Fresh or Frozen Cranberries?
This recipe will work with both fresh and frozen cranberries. If you choose to go the frozen route, keep in mind though that it will take a little longer for the cranberries to cook down.
Tips for Perfect Cranberry Sauce
- Use apple cider instead of water – this adds so much flavor to the sauce.
- Use fresh orange zest – orange and cranberries are a natural flavor pairing and this adds lots of incredible citrus flavor to the sauce.
- Simmer sauce 10-15 minutes – this simmer time helps break down the cranberries and releases natural pectin that will thicken the sauce.
- Chill sauce before serving – the sauce will thicken up even more after chilled and tastes incredible.
Try these ideas for a different twist on this cranberry sauce.
- Try a different juice – try orange or pineapple juice in place of the apple cider.
- Use a different citrus – try lemon or lime zest in place of the orange.
- Add a different berry – try adding 1/2 cup blueberries or raspberries to the sauce.
How to Serve Cranberry Sauce
This cranberry sauce is best served chilled alongside a variety of other side dishes for a pop of flavor. We love it with a roast chicken or turkey, with mashed potatoes, stuffing, or roasted vegetables.
Trust me, your Thanksgiving is incomplete without this keeper cranberry sauce! The flavors all work so well together and it’s got the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.
We usually end up eating this from the bowl with a spoon and for good reason!
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Watch this cranberry sauce made step-by-step on Google web stories.
More ways to cook with cranberries!
Mom’s Fresh Cranberry Sauce
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- 1 (12 oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Additional orange zest and rosemary sprigs for serving, optional
- Combine cranberries, apple cider, sugar, honey, orange zest, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan.
- Bring cranberries to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until cranberries have broken down and sauce is thickened.
- Chill cranberry sauce before serving and serve with additional orange zest and rosemary sprigs for garnish. Enjoy!
This post was updated with new recipe adjustments and photos on 10/23/23.