Homemade Cranberry Sauce (Just 4 Ingredients!)

Make your own delicious homemade cranberry sauce following a few simple steps and using just 4 ingredients! Perfect as an easy Thanksgiving side, this is by far the best Homemade Cranberry Sauce ever!  And it’s refined sugar-free.

Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce | Make your own delicious homemade cranberry sauce using just 4 ingredients! | A Sweet Pea Chef

Okay… so Thanksgiving is upon us.

That means it’s time to start breaking out the boots and scarves and all the tasty Thanksgiving goodies!  Yippee!!

Thanksgiving has got to be one of my absolute favorite holidays. I love the food, the friends, and the family gathering at and around the Thanksgiving table.

Um… did I mention the food part?  Cuz that’s so good.

I mean, how can you beat a holiday that you spend all day with family while you cook, eat, watch football, and then eat some more?

Okay, speaking of Thanksgiving food, I want to share what is arguably my favorite part of the entire meal: the homemade cranberry sauce. I don’t know about you but I think cranberry sauce is one of the best Thanksgiving side dishes.

Oh my goodness, friends, this is the best homemade cranberry sauce recipe I’ve ever had.  If you’ve never made cranberry sauce and you usually buy the canned stuff, you really won’t know what hit you.

We always bought the canned stuff when I was growing up, so I didn’t even know something else existed.  I always enjoyed the smooth cranberry sauce that had the actual cranberries removed.

Then, on a whim in 2010 (yes, I totally remember the year – this was a BIG deal, friends!), I decided to try to make cranberry sauce at home.  Talk about never going back! That also means I have a whole cranberry sauce recipe for you!

The flavor combination of the fresh cranberries, orange juice, raw honey and bursts of freshly grated orange zest make this cranberry sauce to. die. for.  This, in my opinion, is the best cranberry sauce recipe. Try this homemade cranberry sauce out and you’ll see what I mean.  I promise.

The four ingredients necessary to make the best homemade cranberry sauce. Pictured are fresh orange zest, orange juice, fresh cranberries, and raw honey.


This recipe for cranberry sauce not only makes delicious homemade cranberry sauce but it’s also super easy. If you follow these simple steps, you’ll learn how to make cranberry sauce in no time:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pot over medium-high heat;
  2. Let the cranberries cook for approximately 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally;
  3. Allow the cranberries sauce to cool;
  4. Refrigerate the simple cranberry sauce in an airtight container.

Now tell me that making cranberry sauce from scratch isn’t the easiest thing ever. And one of the most delicious things too. Plus, you’ll have healthy cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving table.

Yiippee and yummy!

Strainer full of rinsed cranberries which have been cleaned and are ready to be made into cranberry sauce.


When you learn how to make THIS homemade cranberry sauce the answer is YES.

Cranberries are…

  • rich in antioxidants;
  • rich in vitamin C;
  • rich in fiber.

Cranberries also contain…

  • vitamin K;
  • vitamin A;
  • manganese (a mineral that boosts the metabolism).

Cranberries are also are low in calories.

My cranberry sauce recipe makes low sugar cranberry sauce, which means you get all the benefits of cranberries without worrying about the refined sugar in the canned cranberry sauce.

Isn’t that amazing?

And can you think of all the cranberry recipes you can make with the cranberry sauce leftovers?  Like this salad, for example!


All four ingredients, the fresh cranberries, orange zest, raw honey, and orange juice, are in a sauce pan to be cooked down to make the best homemade cranberry sauce.


If you’re looking to make homemade cranberry sauce without refined sugar, the good news is that it’s super easy. There is no reason to add a bunch of white granulated, highly processed sugar to the cranberries.  Instead, try using some healthier, less refined, and still yummy options to sweeten up your homemade cranberry sauce.  Below are some great options:

  • orange juice
  • raw honey
  • pure maple syrup
  • coconut sugar

My favorite way to sweeten my homemade cranberry sauce is to use a mix of a little raw honey and a little orange juice.  Those give the best depth of flavor without having to add a ton of sugar to the recipe.  To learn more about how to quit sugar, click here.

Close up horizontal image of the best homemade cranberry sauce, topped with fresh orange zest.


Typically, cranberry sauce is served with

While I love cranberries sauce with turkey and other healthy Thanksgiving dishes, I also heart my homemade cranberry sauce with…

No food waste and more delicious cranberry recipes with the homemade cranberry sauce leftovers. Perfect!


The BIGGEST time saver for Thanksgiving prep is to make ahead a lot of my Thanksgiving sides. Actually, make ahead meals are my saviors all the time.

This tasty homemade cranberry sauce right here is no exception. Yes, make ahead cranberry sauce is a thing in my house. Not only does it get even better when refrigerated, but it also needs to be cooled anyway. For best results with the make ahead cranberry sauce, refrigerate it after allowing it to cool in an air-tight container.

Best homemade cranberry sauce, ready to eat, and next to fresh cranberries and spoons.


We usually make the cranberry sauce the day before Thanksgiving so it’s ready to grab and serve.  One quick note is that it does become a little more tart as it cools so you want to taste before serving and adjust any sweetness, as needed.

You can keep homemade cranberry sauce for up to a week in the refrigerator.


There’s another answer to your how long does cranberry sauce last? question. In case you didn’t know, cranberry sauce freezes beautifully. You can totally make a ton of healthy cranberry sauce for later.

If you store the simple cranberry sauce in an airtight container or in a Ziploc bag in the freezer, the cranberry sauce lasts for up to 2 months.

Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.


For those of you who love Thanksgiving food as much as I do, I have more Thanksgiving side dish recipes. Recipes that make healthy and delicious Thanksgiving side dishes, of course. I’m gonna start with a sweet and delicious sweet potato casserole then move to a green bean casserole, and end with a well-loved classic – the mashed potatoes.


Is it possible to have Thanksgiving dinner without a sweet potato casserole? Probably, but why would you? Because sweet potato casserole is not very healthy, you might say. But this Easy Sweet Potato Casserole is healthy. Of course it is. It’s me after all.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole | A healthy take on a family Thanksgiving favorite. www.asweetpeachef.com

Sweet, dense and crunchy, this Easy Sweet Potato Casserole substitutes coconut sugar for brown sugar, coconut oil for butter, and buckwheat flour for all-purpose flour. See? Healthy and delicious. Get the recipe.


You know what else you can serve as a side this Thanksgiving? A Healthy Green Bean Casserole made from scratch.

Healthy Green Bean Casserole | Healthy, easy, delicious, and so much better than the original! | A Sweet Pea Chef

The reason you want to make this Healthy Green Bean Casserole from scratch is to avoid all the unnecessary fats and processed ingredients you would normally use such as canned crispy onions and canned mushroom sauce. Get the recipe.


Mashed potatoes cannot miss from the Thanksgiving table. But you can make them healthier if you follow my Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes recipe.

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes | Such an easy dinner side, especially when the crock pot does all the work! | A Sweet Pea Chef

Easy to do, flavorful, made with only a few simple ingredients, these Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes will wow your guests’ taste buds. Get the recipe.

Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce

5 from 14 votes
Cranberry Sauce Square Recipe Preview Image
Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins

This is the best Homemade Cranberry Sauce ever!  Make your own delicious homemade cranberry sauce using just 4 ingredients! Perfect as an easy Thanksgiving side!

Categories: Side Dish, Sweet Treat, Thanksgiving
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: cranberry sauce homemade, cranberry sauce recipe, homemade cranberry sauce
Servings: 4
Calories: 78 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier
  • 1 12-oz. bag fresh cranberries (approx. 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup raw honey, plus more as needed
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated orange zest
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat.

  2. As the cranberries cook, they will start to pop. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes until you no longer hear the cranberries popping and it appears the sauce is thickening.
  3. Allow to cool and then refrigerate until cool. As the sauce cools, it will thicken more and more.

  4. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add more honey to taste, as this recipe makes a slightly tart cranberry sauce.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

This cranberry sauce tends to become more tart when refrigerated overnight. You may need to add a little more raw honey when it's time to serve -- just taste before serving to see.

Nutrition Facts
Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 78 Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.1g0%
Sodium 1.2mg0%
Carbohydrates 20.8g7%
Fiber 0.1g0%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 0.5g1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for the products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

47 thoughts on “Homemade Cranberry Sauce (Just 4 Ingredients!)

  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe, I make it every year. This year I am adding a few cloves and a cinnamon stick which I will remove before I jar up the sauce. So simple and delicious!!!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for Christmas, and it went over well. I just used maple syrup instead of honey, and I added a couple of chopped apples for a bit more sweetness. Thanks for posting!

  3. 5 stars
    I made the cranberry sauce for my family and we loved it. I doubled the recipe which gave us enough for ten people. I squeezed two fresh oranges to get one cup of orange juice and grated one of them before squeezing it to get the zest. Lastly, I added a tablespoon of ground cinnamon and that was “the icing on the cake”! OMG, that’s what really made it. When I told everyone that there was no processed sugar in the cranberry sauce, everybody was surprised and happy. Thanks for this yummy alternative.

  4. 5 stars
    please please give me the recipe up front. i really get so frustrated at all the pictures and videos.
    Thank you

    1. Seriously lmao! You could have just Clicked on the tab that says JUMP TO RECIPE !!! Nd avoided posting this comment. Wow

    2. Right at the top of the post below the title for the recipe is the option to JUMP TO RECIPE — that will take you past all the step by step images and blog post story with tips. Hope that helps!

  5. 5 stars
    This is so good. I wanted to try it before Thanksgiving. I am going to put it on toast tomorrow morning and put it in my batch of kombucha to flavor it.

  6. OK, I’m changing my food habits away from refine sugars and flour, thinking this Thanksgiving will be a change and some disappointment on a few staples I enjoy, one being the cranberry sauce. Well Done Lacey and Many Thank You’s as It is absolutely delicious !! and still so simple to create. Happy to know my new way of eating is actually a better delightful, tasteful and healthier way.

    1. Yay, this comment made me so happy, Jodi! It’s shocking how delicious something that is simple and healthy can be, isn’t it?? I’m so glad you love the cranberries – they’re my FAVORITE part of the meal!

  7. 5 stars
    Hi, I would like to know how long this Cranberry sauce will last? Hoping I can make it in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Betty! I’ve made it several (3-4) days ahead of time and it’s been great – one thing, though…it will get more and more tart as it sits so I recommend testing it right before serving and adding any honey to taste to counter the tartness. Enjoy!

  8. 5 stars
    I made your best homemade cranberry sauce and everyone loved it! I can’t believe how easy it was. Thanks for the great photos, instructions, and easy to follow recipes! I want to try your beef stew next. If anyone out there is looking for a GREAT tasting homemade cranberry sauce, look no further, this is it. Thank you!

    1. Yay, this made me so happy to read, Jill! I’m so glad you enjoyed the cranberry sauce and found it simple to make 🙂 The beef stew is AMAZING! 🙂

    1. Would this recipe work for canning? I’m thinking of making a large batch and giving it to family members.

  9. I know this post is quite old, but I came across it recently while trying to find a good recipe for cranberry sauce that uses honey instead of sugar. I tried it out with some fresh, local cranberries and it is delicious. I could barely stop eating it! 🙂 I did manage to save some for the next morning and stirred it into my oatmeal… amazing! I am making Thanksgiving for my Mom this year (the roles have reversed) and I am looking forward to making this recipe again for that occasion. Thanks so much for sharing this. I am very glad that I found this blog.

  10. This is just how I make cranberry sauce… in America. This year I’m in Italy, but making a full thanksgiving dinner for 3 Italian families. Cranberries don’t exist in Italy… With much effort dried cranberries can be found, which simply will not do. Do you have any suggestions for a fruity non-cranberry alternative to cranberry sauce?

    1. Hmmm…I’d bet any berry would work to get roughly the same kind of side. For sweeter berries, I’d recommend using some lemon juice to make them a bit more tart. I’d start with 1-2 tsp. and then add more to taste from there. I hope this helps. Good luck!

  11. Hi Lacey! Everything on your website looks absolutely delish! I’m going to try the cranberry sauce, the stuffing, and the mashed sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving this year. Your cheesecake pumpkin pie looks really yummy, but both my girls have allergies to milk and eggs. Do you know of any good recipes that don’t use those ingredients? I can’t wait to try these recipes! I’ll be coming back to visit for sure 🙂

    1. Oh, Christine, I’m so happy to hear you will be trying out my recipes for Thanksgiving this year! I certainly wish I had some good suggestions for a non-dairy, non-egg substitute for the cheesecake, but I don’t. I do have a pumpkin frozen yogurt recipe that you could use non-dairy yogurt with. I’d love to know how your dinner turns out. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      1. Thank you for your suggestion Lacey! I might need to get an ice cream maker so I can try that yummy pumpkin frozen yogurt! I’m excited to try out your cranberry and stuffing recipes on Thanksgiving. Thanks for posting all those delish recipes!

  12. This is EXACTLY how I’ve made cranberry sauce for the last couple of years, must have seen the same magazine 🙂 It is actually one of the things I look forward to each Thanksgiving and continue making it through Christmas. Fantastic as a spread on crusty bread at your next party, or instead of mayo on your ham or turkey sandwich. Love, love, love!!!

  13. I can’t wait to try this and your sourdough dressing. I’ve convinced my extended family that we can “stretch” ourselves and omit StoveTop from our menu this year. I mean how sad is that. Just one question tho, do you use a particular brand/type of honey for this?

    1. Hi Katherine! That’s awesome! I use just locally produced honey. I’ve made it with about 5 or 6 different honey companies and varieties over the years and it always comes out good, no matter what. 🙂

  14. It’s not Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce. Period. End of debate. It’s one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving dinner. Can’t wait to try your version. And good luck with the move!

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