If you’ve never made your own cranberry sauce, you’ve been missing out. It’s my most favorite side dish to prepare on Thanksgiving, in part because it’s soon easy, in part because it can be made well in advance of the kitchen madness come mealtime, and in part because it’s so pretty! This recipe is my own favorite homemade cranberry sauce and I’m happy to share it with you today. It’s such as cinch you may never go back to the canned stuff. It’s the perfect, delicious pop of beautiful red color on your dinner table, and the perfect pop of sweetness and tartness to accompany your main event. And on a turkey sandwich the next day? Just so so so delicious. Perfection. So, put that can down. Just put it down, and let’s get saucing.
- A 12 ounce bag of fresh whole cranberries, rinsed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup raspberry jam–homemade, store bought or seedless, any kind will do
- Zest and juice of 1/2 an orange
- Dash each of cinnamon and salt
If you like your cranberries extra sweet, just add a bit more sugar or jam. If you like them a bit spicier, add a bit more cinnamon. It’s easy to adapt, but this is a good starting point. The orange elements really complement the flavor, and add more depth to the sauce than just using water.
Start by zesting your orange and setting those lovely orange bits aside. Combineall the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, simply squeezing your orange right into the pan with everything else. Give it all a good stir to combine and turn on the heat. It looks pretty already!
Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until berries begin to burst, about 10 minutes. reduce heat to low, and continue cooking another 5 minute or so, until berries have softened. This is a good time to have a taste, to see if your cranberry sauce needs a bit more sugar or salt or spice. If your sauce seems tobe too thick, just add a bit of water and keep stirring. No biggie. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem saucy and gelled just yet–that magic happens as it cools. Trust me. It will be fine.
Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. If you are serving right away, transfer your jewel like cranberry sauce to a serving dish and chill slightly or serve room temperature. If you are preparing this ahead of time, transfer it to a container with a tight fitting lid and store in the fridge.
I always serve mine in this lovely little crystal dish that belonged to my grandmother, and with this pretty silver spoon that was also hers. I love that these little pieces are part of our Thanksgiving traditions, along with our favorite homemade cranberry sauce.