3-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

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    A fresh and delicious cranberry sauce recipe made with only 3 simple ingredients! Just as easy as the canned sauce, but with so much more flavor!

    You can’t have a holiday dinner without homemade cranberry sauce! It’s such a classic side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas and is absolutely delicious. We also always serve scalloped potatoes, corn casserole, creamy mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.

    cranberry sauce

    This delicious cranberry sauce only takes 3 simple ingredients to make. It’s almost as easy as opening up the can and tastes SO much better! Promise! The addition of fresh orange juice and orange zest really takes the flavor up a notch. So yummy!

    The sauce is so easy to make and can be prepped ahead of time. I love to make it a couple of days in advance or even a few weeks before and store it in the freezer. It’s the perfect holiday side dish and adds just the right amount of fresh flavor to your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. Plus the leftovers taste amazing and are even better the next day!

    cranberry orange sauce


    To make this homemade cranberry sauce, you simply just need the 3 ingredients below. All of the ingredients mixed together make a magical sauce that is so fresh and delicious!

    • Fresh cranberries
    • Fresh orange
    • Granulated sugar

    How to make cranberry sauce

    Scroll down for the printable recipe.

    1. Combine the orange (juice + zest), sugar and water in a medium pan over medium heat and bring to a light boil.
    2. Stir in the cranberries and a pinch of salt.
    3. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have burst.
    4. Mash the cranberries if you prefer a smooth sauce.
    5. Serve warm or cold, whichever you prefer.

    how to make cranberry sauce

    Is it supposed to be hot or cold?

    It can be served warm or cold. If you’re serving it warm, you can easily make it ahead of time and then place it in the slow cooker on the warm setting. It will make your home smell amazing!

    What is it used for?

    Cranberry sauce is a traditional relish that tastes delicious on top of turkeychicken or ham. There are lots of other yummy ways to use up the leftovers (if you have any). Check out the ideas below.

    • Place on top of baked brie .
    • Serve over top of yogurt or oatmeal.
    • Make my favorite meatballs (use the cranberry sauce instead of grape jelly). Sometimes I’ll replace the BBQ sauce with 12 ounces of chili sauce.
    • Top your waffles or pancakes with a spoonful.
    • Serve warm over vanilla ice cream or even make this apple crisp with the leftovers

    cranberry sauce recipe

    How long will it last in the fridge?

    It will last in the refrigerator for about 1-2 weeks. It’s the perfect holiday side dish to make ahead of time and stick in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Plus the flavors marinate together wonderfully when stored in the fridge! Just place sauce in an airtight container and stick in the fridge until serving.

    Can you freeze it?

    Yes! That’s one of my favorite things about this cranberry orange sauce. It can easily be stored in the freezer a few weeks before serving. Store in an airtight container or freezer bag. To thaw, stick in the fridge overnight. You can serve cold or warm up in a sauce pan or slow cooker, whichever you prefer.

    homemade cranberry sauce

    More recipes with fresh cranberries:

    homemade cranberry sauce

    Cranberry Sauce Recipe

    Course: Condiment
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: cranberry sauce
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 15 minutes
    Servings: 12
    Calories: 75
    Author: Jamielyn Nye
    A fresh and delicious cranberry sauce recipe made with only 3 simple ingredients! Just as easy as the canned sauce, but with so much more flavor!


    • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (12 ounce bag)
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 orange
    • 1/2 cup water
    • Pinch Salt


    • Zest the orange and then cut in half. Juice the orange into a small bowl and remove any seeds. 
    • Place the sugar, fresh orange juice, orange zest and water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a light boil over medium heat. 
    • Stir in the cranberries and salt. Continue to cook until the cranberries have burst and it has thickened (about 10 minutes). Mash the cranberries if you prefer a smoother sauce. 
    • Remove from heat and put the sauce in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 


    This is a sweet cranberry sauce. If you'd like more of a bitter taste, cut the sugar in half. I'd you'd like to use a natural sweetener you can use pure honey or 100% pure maple syrup. 


    Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Potassium: 30mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 7.5mg | Calcium: 5mg


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