How to Make Cranberry Sauce

  • 01 of 07

    How to Make Cranberry Sauce: An Illustrated Tutorial

    Cranberry sauce
    Leah Maroney

    Cranberry sauce is so easy to make, you'll never want to use the canned stuff again.

    Or maybe not never, like if canned cranberry sauce is one of your guilty pleasures, which I completely understand. I'm that way with corned beef hash from a can. And I knew someone who admitted to occasionally craving canned asparagus. It was a food she'd had in childhood, and even though as an adult she knew that fresh asparagus was astronomically better, sometimes she just craved the canned version.

    So anyway, maybe that's you with canned jellied cranberry sauce, where it comes out shaped like the can, with the ridges and everything. But even so, you might like to know how to make the fresh version, since it's so easy. You could even serve both.

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  • 02 of 07

    Rinse the Cranberries in Cold Water

    Leah Maroney

    Here's what you'll need:

    The first step is to thoroughly rinse the cranberries and pull out any that are crinkled or black or otherwise not up to par.

    By the way, one year I got an email from someone complaining that four cups does not equal 12 ounces. Which is true, but the 12 ounces of the bag is measuring weight, not volume (which is what cups measures). Believe me, I wish ounces and ounces weren't named the same thing, but it wasn't my idea, so all I can do is write these little explanations and hope it helps.

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  • 03 of 07

    Combine Sugar and Orange Juice and Bring to a Boil

    Sugar and orange juice in a pot
    Leah Maroney

    Combine the sugar and orange juice in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. If you like your cranberry sauce on the tart side, add half the sugar now and then sweeten it to taste at the end of cooking.

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  • 04 of 07

    Add Cranberries and Return to a Boil

    Cranberries in the orange juice and sugar
    Leah Maroney

    Add the cranberries to the liquid and bring it back to a boil.

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  • 05 of 07

    Lower Heat and Simmer While Berries Start to Pop

    Berries simmering
    Leah Maroney
    As you simmer the cranberries, you'll start to hear a popping sound. This is good — it means the berries are bursting and releasing their natural fiber, called pectin, which will thicken the cranberry sauce as you simmer it.
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  • 06 of 07

    Stir Occasionally While the Sauce Thickens

    Cranberry sauce thickening
    Leah Maroney
    Most of the berries should pop within 5-10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and use the remaining sugar to sweeten the cranberry sauce to your liking.
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  • 07 of 07

    Cool for at Least 10 Minutes Before Serving

    Cooling the cranberry sauce
    Leah Maroney

    If you're serving the cranberry sauce warm, let it stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. This gives the pectin a chance to gel a bit more. If you prefer your cranberry sauce a bit cooler, refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.

    By the way, if you enjoy a turkey sandwich on the day after Thanksgiving, some leftover cranberry sauce is an absolute must on that sandwich.