How to Make Your Own Cranberry Sauce

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes nature’s own festive jewel, the cranberry! While only in season a short time (October through December), the holidays are a fantastic time to show of the versatility of this scarlet red berry. 

Paula’s favorite way to take advantage of fresh cranberries is to make a homemade cranberry sauce. Every holiday season, while we brainstorm article ideas in our test kitchen, she tells us that she simply cannot believe how many people buy canned cranberry sauce when fresh sauce is so easy to make! So, here’s our simple how-to on making your own cranberry sauce from scratch:

PICK YOUR FLAVORS
Cranberries are tart and sweet so we like to make a sauce that compliments those flavors. Oranges, cinnamon, ginger, pomegranates, and even something spicy and smoky like chipotles, can all work well with the tart bold flavor of cranberries. Don’t limit yourself to a plain Jane cranberry sauce. Be inspired and make something unique this year. But also, be careful of over doing it, you don’t want to upset the traditionalists.

SIMMER AWAY
Now, here’s the best part of making your own cranberry sauce: you simply add all your chosen flavorings to a large saucepan along with cranberries, sugar, and some water, and simmer away for about 15 minutes. It’s just that easy!

LESS STRESS AND NO MESS
Another fabulous thing about cranberry sauce is that it can be made ahead. And we’re talking in the neighborhood of three days ahead, which gives the sauce plenty of time to marry together those delicious flavors, which in turn, gives you plenty more space on the stovetop for when you’re really hustling to get those side dishes out on the table. Less stress and no mess!

ENJOY THE SUPERFOOD
Homemade cranberry sauce is simple to make, can be made in advance, tastes delicious, and is also good for you. Maybe this is why cranberries are a “super food”! Cranberries have a high concentration of vitamin C and fiber, making them a great addition to your holiday table. Try it this year with a Christmas turkey, goose, or roast, and make your whole family a happy and smiling bunch.

BASIC CRANBERRY SAUCE
Try this basic cranberry sauce at your next holiday meal.  If you feel like getting creative, try adding 1 or 2 fun additions to make it your own special recipe.

1(12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

Stir in the cranberries, water, sugar, and pinch of salt to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring on occasion, for 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Makes 3 cups

Special Additions:
1 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
1 minced chipotle pepper (packed in adobo)
Trade in ½ cup water for ½ cup pomegranate juice, orange juice, or apple cider (choose just 1 juice)
Sprinkle in the Zest of 1 orange
Add chopped apples or pears
Season with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Fold in ½ cup chopped candied ginger
Toss in some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme (try just 1 teaspoon of each)

**Pictured above: Wayne’s Cranberry Sauce.

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Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

54321

I make fresh cranberry sauce every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I use i cup of orange juice in place of the water. Once you have had home made you will never eat it out of a can again.

By Jim Severance on December 20, 2011

54321

My mother always made her own cranberry sauce and she put apples and oranges in it.My neice Mary Ellison now makes it for her mother and me and uses the same receipe. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOUR FAMILY !!!!!!!!!!! LOVE,MARTHA TICE

By Martha TICE on December 20, 2011

54321

Just a note to say that using Splenda instead of sugar in any recipe works just as well. I have used Splenda in my cranberry sauce for years, and it jells nicely and tastes great! It's a lighter version of a quick and easy recipe for those of us with Diabetes.

By Crystal on December 06, 2011

54321

I make homemade cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving and Christmas. My add-ins are e canned veorange juice, chopped dried apricots, orange segment and I've been making my own cranberry sauce for over 20 years. To fresh cranberries I add orange juice, chopped dried apricots, orange segments, and thinly sliced orange peel. Cook until the berries pop and they glisten. About 15 minutes My family won't eat the canned stuff. Happy Holidays to all.

By Karen on December 06, 2011

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm