Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce
make it a day or two in advance which is a huge time saver when making Thanksgiving dinner.
Cranberry Sauce and Turkey are an inseparable pair and should always be introduced together or it would not be Thanksgiving.
Back when our family was young I learned to cook for large crowds when hosting holiday dinners for our families. I was really into cooking from scratch and that’s when I realized there was cranberry sauce and cranberry relish.
Cranberry sauce is quickly made by cooking fresh cranberries in water with sugar added. Cranberry relish is made by chopping fresh (uncooked) cranberries in a food processor then placed in a bowl with fresh or dried fruits, nuts, and/or whatever else you might like to compliment the tart berries. So simple, yes?
Cranberry relish is delicious on leftover turkey sandwiches and as an Appetizer Dip with crackers. Another of my favorite ways to serve cranberry relish is as an appetizer spread on crackers with brie.
Since my family prefers cranberry sauce I’m sharing this basic, easy homemade cranberry sauce recipe given to me back in the ’80’s when I mentioned to a friend that I never made homemade cranberry sauce. I knew immediately I had to make this when my friend said how very easy the recipe was and I’ve been making it ever since – way before ‘foodies’ began blogging.
To help reduce your pre-holiday cooking stress you can prepare this easy homemade cranberry sauce 1 to 2 days in advance. You will never need to open a can again with this keeper of a recipe.
I have also cut out refined sugar in the past few years. I use fresh squeezed orange juice and if the orange is not sweet enough I’ll add a teaspoon of maple syrup. It’s delicious, but if you don’t like oranges and maple syrup feel free to use the basic water + sugar recipe – it will still be delicious.
Using fresh oranges serves three purposes: (1) zest the orange to add to the cooked cranberry sauce, (2) squeeze the juice to cook with the cranberries, then (3) cut out the orange segments and add them to the cranberry sauce.
Add your preferred sugar a little at a time to get to the desired sweetness level, stir and taste as you go. I often use fresh squeezed orange juice for more sweetness then cut up some of the orange sections to add to the cooked sauce.
The easy, basic recipe calls for only 3 ingredients: cranberries + sugar + liquid. For a holiday treat swap out the water + sugar for the orange juice.
This is a recipe you can make in 15 minutes and is so very flexible.
- 1 pkg. fresh cranberries
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (or use water + ¼ cup sugar)
- 1 tbls. maple syrup (optional or as needed)
- orange zest from 1 orange
- 1 orange cut in sections with membrane removed
- 2 TBLS. chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds optional)
- 1 tsp. Grand Marnier (optional)
- In 2.5 quart saucepan add fresh squeezed orange juice and bring to a boil (or add the water + sugar if you don’t want to use orange juice).
- Rinse the cranberries and add to the boiling liquid. Stirring occasionally bring the berries to a slow boil and cook 10-12 minutes. If you want to add in the nuts and sliced orange segments stir them in now.
- Pour the cranberries into a bowl and set aside to cool.
- If the sauce is too thick, that’s o.k., just add a little more liquid to get the desired sauce you like.
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