Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (2024)

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To make this holiday extra-interesting, we suggest the Campari and cranberry Jell-O shots.


Betty Gold

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (1)

Betty Gold

Betty Gold is the former senior digital food editor at Real Simple.

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Samantha Leffler

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (2)

Samantha Leffler

Samantha is the senior food editor at RealSimple and previously launched the US Weekly food vertical, where she wrote about the intersection of food and pop culture.

Real Simple's Editorial Guidelines

Updated on February 17, 2024

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Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (3)

When it comes to festive fall fruits, cranberries are king: No holiday tablescape is complete without a bowl of cranberry sauce. Unfortunately, cranberry sauce is often relegated to the once-a-year canned variety. We'll show you how easy it is to include a homemade version on this year's Thanksgiving spread with more than one cranberry sauce recipe. Next, let's think outside the bowl and extend our cranberry love to breakfast, co*cktails, and dessert.

But first, a lesson in cranberry appreciation...

Cranberry harvest in North America begins in late September or early October, and lasts through early November, with the fresh-berry season lasting through January. Of course, frozen cranberries, Craisins, cranberry juice, and the ubiquitous canned versions are available year-round. Need more reasons to love cranberry sauce? Health-wise, there are plenty. Cranberries are a nutritional powerhouse rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, prebiotic fibers, vitamins, and minerals.

Fun facts: Cranberries are one of only three cultivated fruits native to North America. Native Americans used cranberries for food, medicine, and dyes for clothes and blankets, as well as to cure meat and to draw poison from arrow wounds.

That said, here are 11 crave-worthy cranberry recipes to make this Thanksgiving... or any time!

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01of 11

Double Cranberry and Apple Sauce

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (4)

This homemade cranberry sauce is made with both dried and fresh cranberries, which means double the sweet and tart flavor we all know and love the sauce for. Apple chunks create the perfect chutney-like texture, and warm maple syrup rounds out all the flavors.


02of 11

Citrus Spice Cranberry Sauce

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (5)

No Thanksgiving table is complete without cranberry sauce, but with a plethora of other dishes to prepare there’s no harm in taking a few shortcuts when you can. While this recipe calls for canned cranberry sauce, you’ll infuse the store-bought stuff with cloves, star anise, and cinnamon, and add some orange segments to the mix. The result is a side that tastes entirely homemade but requires just a few minutes of hands-on work.


03of 11

Bourbon-Cranberry Compote

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (6)

This boozy sauce requires just four ingredients and five minutes of hands-on prep. And it's not just for Thanksgiving dinner: Make an extra batch to spread over leftover turkey sandwiches, or to top a bowl of ice cream or yogurt.


04of 11

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (7)

Any make-ahead recipe for Thanksgiving is a true lifesaver, and this flavorful salad is no exception. Inside you’ll find thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, colorful strips of bitter radicchio, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries for a pop of sweetness. Sharp shavings of aged provolone and a tart apple cider vinegar dressing tie the whole dish together.


05of 11

Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf With Cranberries

This vegan-friendly dish screams fall flavors: tart cranberries, hearty wild rice, and flavorful mushrooms. Swap out dried cranberries for fresh or frozen, and use a mix of mushrooms to add depth of flavor.


06of 11

Baked Oatmeal With Cranberries and Almonds

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (9)

Like a casserole-cookie hybrid (and healthier than leftover pie), this make-ahead whole-grain breakfast dish will feed a crowd of leftover Thanksgiving family and friends.


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07of 11

Cranberry-Lemon Spritz

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (10)

This refreshing, bright co*cktail just might become your Thanksgiving go-to recipe, especially if you love a tall pour but not something over-the-top sweet. Just a spoonful of sugar livens up the tart cranberries and generous pour of lemon juice. This recipe calls for vodka, but swap with a floral gin or even smoky mezcal, which would play nicely off the cranberries.


08of 11

Campari and Cranberry Jell-O Shots

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (11)

For these festive shots, mix Campari with cranberry juice and a bit of sugar to balance out the bitterness. The sweet orange zest rim not only looks sparkly and pretty, but the citrus marries nicely with Campari too. These are equally as delicious as a pre-dinner co*cktail as they are a palate cleanser before dessert.


09of 11

Cranberry Ricotta Cake

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (12)

This light, buttery cake is studded with jewel-like fresh cranberries, which are tossed in granulated sugar and then sprinkled over the cake batter. As the cake bakes, the sugar crystalizes into a thin, delicious crust. Serve up a big wedge of this sweet-tart delicacy for dessert—or for breakfast.


10of 11

Cranberry Cacao Nib Brownies

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (13)

Fresh or frozen cranberries add a delicious tartness to keep these treats from being over-sweet. They also contribute to that moist-and-chewy-in-the-center quality that we love in a brownie, turning this anytime dessert into a Thanksgiving classic.


The Ultimate Thanksgiving Dinner Checklist

11of 11

Cranberry-Strawberry Crumb Pie

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (14)

Use fresh or frozen cranberries to mellow sweet strawberries in this fruity alternative to pumpkin pie. A store-bought crust makes putting this dessert together easy-as-pie. Add a classic crumb topping spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and you've got a treat that's vaguely muffin-y, in all the best ways.


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Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipes (2024)


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