Ready to ditch the creepy canned cranberry sauce but don’t know where to start?! This recipe for The Best Basic Cranberry Sauce is for you! Made with just 6 simple ingredients, this basic recipe is super easy and perfect for Thanksgiving dinner!
Easy Cranberry Sauce
Do you love cranberry sauce? I know a lot of people who only enjoy it once a year, but in our house, we use it on everything!!! It’s so good on turkey sandwiches and can really make a cheese board pop! But you can also go all out and make some Cranberry, Brie, and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches or a Cranberry Sauce, Bacon, and Gorgonzola Pastry Puff Pizza! My point? There are so many ways to enjoy a basic cranberry sauce beyond the Thanksgiving dinner table!
Below is our absolute favorite recipe. It’s not too sweet, not too tart, and not too fancied up! Making it the perfect base recipe to use in recipes that are sweet or savory!
Cranberry Sauce Ingredients:
- Cranberries: Fresh or frozen cranberries will work in this recipe! Just be sure to pick them over and trash any berries that look bad or shriveled. I find there frozen cranberries typically have less “bad ones” than fresh.
- Brown Sugar: You can use light or dark brown sugar here! But I prefer dark brown sugar because it adds a deeper flavor to the sauce.
- Granulated Sugar: Our second sweetener. The combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar creates a perfectly sweet and complex flavor that can’t be beat!
- Water: some people use orange juice, but for a basic cranberry sauce recipe, I prefer using plain old H2O. This allows the flavor of the cranberries to shine without being overpowered by another flavor. If you really want a mild orange flavor, try replacing 1/4 cup of the water with OJ.
- Vanilla Extract: Just a tiny dash enhances all of the other flavors. We love using bourbon vanilla for this!
- Salt and Pepper: A small dash balance and enhance. Trust me here and don’t skip these two ingredients!
How to make Cranberry Sauce
- In a medium saucepan combine the water and both sugars. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Stir in the cranberries and reduce heat to medium. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and pepper. Bring to room temperature before serving. Or cool completely then cover and refrigerate for a future use.
Can Cranberry Sauce be Made in Advance?
Heck yes! In fact I always advise making cranberry sauce a few days before your big event because the flavor and texture get better with time. Cranberry sauce will keep, covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days! I suggest making a double batch if you’re serving a crowd! Because this sauce is so delicious and versatile! It’s obviously delicious on turkey, but we also love adding it on top of a slice of cheesecake!
So definitely make Thanksgiving day a little less stressful by making this cranberry sauce in advance!
I hope I’ve convinced you to ditch the canned cranberry sauce and try making your own this holiday season! It’s dead easy and so delicious! I promise you won’t be disappointed!
AND IF YOU TRY THIS RECIPE FOR THE BEST BASIC CRANBERRY SAUCE, LET ME KNOW! LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND DON’T FORGET TO SNAP A PIC AND TAG IT #BAKERBYNATURE ON INSTAGRAM! SEEING YOUR KITCHEN CREATIONS MAKES OUR DAY.
More Cranberry Recipes
- Easy Cranberry Apple Moscow Mule
- White Chocolate Cranberry Bundt Cake
- Cranberry Pear Pie
- Cranberry Cinnamon Whiskey
- Cranberry Banana Muffins
The Best Basic Cranberry Sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water and both sugars to a boil.
- Add cranberries and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract, salt, and pepper.
- Pour sauce into a bowl and cool to room temperature.
- Serve or cover and refrigerate until needed.