How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce W/ Video

Homemade Cranberry sauce is easy to make, but I’ve made it perfect! Canned versions are delicious and easy but making cranberry sauce from scratch is even better!

A photo of homemade cranberry sauce in a white bowl with a serving spoon

Are you hosting dinner this Thanksgiving, and want to entice your visitors with something Homemade and delicious, don’t worry we’ve got your back.

This amazing homemade cranberry sauce can be the star of your menu. To know more about how to make it, troubleshooting issues, ingredients and the process continue reading…

How Can You Make Cranberry Sauce Thicker?

If your cranberry sauce is pretty thin then no worries, it can be fixed. Cranberries are naturally high in pectin, so to make a sauce you really don’t need to add extra ingredients like cornstarch to make it thicker.


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Also, once the sauce cools off, the sauce will get thicker the longer it cools.  If you added too much water and need to fix the sauce, here’s how to do it. 

  1. To thicken the sauce, you need to make a slurry.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a small bowl then add 1-2 tablespoons of water.

  2. Mix until smooth. Next, stir continually, add the slurry to the boiling sauce then simmer until thickened. 

A photo of a bowl and a spoonful of cranberry sauce

How To Fix a Bitter Sauce?

If your sauce turns out to be overly bitter, there is a simple cure. Begin by whisking together one tablespoon maple syrup with one teaspoon of a sugary beverage, such as orange juice, apple juice or you can add more sugar. Add small amounts of lemon juice if needed. 

Is It Possible To Overcook Cranberry Sauce?

Cranberries should never be overcooked since the sugar would caramelize, crystalize and burn. Instead, simmer the cranberries once they have nearly completely popped.

Once you take the pot from the flame and stir, a few still intact others may burst.

Sauce Ingredients

  • Cranberries – The main ingredient for the scrumptious sauce.

  • Water- Water will avoid sticking the cranberry sauce to the bottom of the saucepan, and will bring the consistency of the sauce.

  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice- Lemon juice will bring some tanginess to the sauce.

  • Sugar- Sugar will add sweetness and thickness to the sauce.

  • Vanilla extract- The essence of vanilla is a must to be added to bring refreshment to the recipe.


Cranberry sauce is one of the most easiest recipes ever. Let’s go over the steps to make it. Also don’t forget to watch me make it in the video below in the recipe card! 

  • high heat, add sugar and water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries and the lemon juice bring to a boil.

  • Step 2- Reduce heat to low and simmer, swirling periodically. The cranberries would start to expand and pop.

  • Step 3- Simmer for around 10-15 minutes, stir to combine occasionally, just until the syrup has thickened. Place in a mixing bowl. Mix in the vanilla extract. The sauce will thicken up more as it cools. 

    A picture of a bowl of cranberry sauce

How Do You Fix A Watery Sauce?

It might signify several problems if it continues to be watery. One reason would be that you used too much water. Make sure to use the whole quantity specified in the recipe. 

Also the cranberries have to be cooked for longer to release their pectin and achieve a jelly-like appearance.

To help thicken up the sauce, make a slurry by adding about a tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of water into a small bowl and mix until smooth. Pour it into the sauce pan and let it come to a boil and stir.

Set stove to simmer. The sauce should began to thicken. If it’s still to watery make more slurry, let it come to a boil stir then simmer. 

Is Cranberry Sauce Served Hot Or Cold?

The cranberry sauce may be served cold, warm or room temperature, and the sauce will probably last several days inside the refrigerator. Celebrate! And have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal!

Different Ways To Use Cranberry Sauce

  • Cranberry sauce is delicious alongside, Thanksgiving sides like turkey, collard greens, stuffing etc.

  • You can also make a festive cranberry breakfasts by adding spoonfuls of cranberry sauces to Greek Yogurt, pancakes and waffles. 

  • Put sauce into an airtight container and refrigerate and save it for your leftover cranberry sauce recipes. Here’s a recipe to my easy cranberry sauce crumble bars


You may also like:

Maple Syrup Cranberry Sauce

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Crumble Bars

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Candied yams

Slow Cooker Cajun Turkey Breast

A photo of a spoonful of cranberry sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

April Boller Wright
Homemade cranberry sauce is so easy to make! Forget the canned stuff and make this easy cranberry sauce recipe from scratch.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course classic dinner
Cuisine American, Southern, Southern American


  • 12 oz bag of whole cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice


  • Wash the cranberries.  In a sauce pan over medium high heat, add sugar and water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries and the lemon juice bring to a boil.
  • Simmer stirring occasionally. The cranberries will start to burst.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Transfer to a bowl. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Let cool completely. The sauce will thicken up more as it cools off. 



How to make Cranberry Sauce in Advance

Once the cranberry sauce has cooled off, put it into a container with a tight fitted lid.
To reheat it in a sauce pan, set stove to low heat and cook until warmed throughout.
Keyword cranberry sauce, cranberry sauce from scratch, easy cranberry sauce, homemadecranberry sauce
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