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closeup of cranberry sauce in a white bowl garnished with orange zest and mint.
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4.50 from 351 votes

World's Best Cranberry Sauce

Your Thanksgiving table is not complete without this Cranberry Sauce made from scratch in just 20 minutes. Fresh or frozen cranberries, a hint of nutmeg, lots of orange juice and zest and a bit of vanilla complete this incredible cranberry sauce.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry sauce, thanksgiving recipes
Servings: 8
Calories: 102kcal


  • 12 ounces cranberries (1 bag), rinsed
  • ½ cup orange juice store bought or freshly squeezed
  • ¾ cup sugar granulated
  • teaspoon nutmeg ground
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest


  • Assemble the sauce: Add all the ingredients to a smaller pot and stir to combine. Turn the heat to a medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Finish the sauce: Reduce the heat to a medium and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will notice the cranberries will burst as they cook. 
  • Cool and serve: Let cool completely at room temperature before serving.



  1. If using frozen cranberries, there is no need to thaw them out first.
  2. Don't skip the orange juice or replace it with water, it'll help with the cranberry sauce not tasting bitter.
  3. For reduced-sugar cranberry sauce, you can use less sugar, about 1/2 a cup, taste it and add a bit more if too tart. For a sugar free version use a substitute like Splenda or Stevia.
  4. You can replace the sugar with brown sugar, maple syrup or honey.
  5. If you notice that your cranberry sauce hasn't thickened after you've chilled it, put it back on the stove and simmer for another 5 minutes, then let it cool.
  6. Cranberry sauce when stored properly can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
  7. You can also freeze cranberry sauce in an airtight container or jar for up to 6 months.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 15.4mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.1mg