The BEST Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe!
Incredibly simple to make, this flavorful and delicious Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe will be your new favorite Thanksgiving side dish! Simply simmered with dried apricots, orange juice and orange zest, this cranberry sauce goes perfectly with any holiday meal!
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Apricots & Orange
Let’s talk Thanksgiving sides for a bit. I feel like the side dished at your holiday dinner either make or break the meal. Am I right? Here’s why I feel this way; everyone has turkey, and yes, it needs to be done right. (PS – be sure to check out my post for 3 Steps to a Moist and Flavorful Turkey) But for the most part, turkey is gonna taste relatively the same – it’s basically a holiday dinner “given”.
Side dishes really make up the majority of the meal. They are not only there to compliment the turkey, but provide color and texture to the plate. This is where my Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe comes into play. Not only does this delicious, easy-to-make cranberry sauce taste amazing, it brings amazing color and flavor to the plate, and compliments the turkey perfectly. It’s made with some really simple ingredients, and takes just minutes from start to finish. If you don’t have a good, go-to cranberry sauce recipe, you do now!
Here’s how this simple, delicious Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe is made:
Step 1: Add all of your ingredients to a saucepan
For this recipe, you’ll need fresh cranberries – 2 (12 oz.) bags. Be sure to rinse the cranberries before putting them into the pan. To the cranberries, add the orange juice, dried apricots, granulated sugar, brown sugar, orange zest, and nutmeg. I also add a few grinds of salt to the mixture, which helps offset the sweetness ever so slightly.
This mixture will smell absolutely amazing as soon as you add it to the pan. You can then place the pan over medium low heat, stirring all the ingredients together until the cranberries are coated.
Step 2: Bring to a simmer, cranberries will be popping
Once the pan is on medium-low heat, the cranberries will begin to pop. Stir often. The sauce will begin to thicken, and the cranberries will begin to soften. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes total.
As you can see, some of the cranberries are still whole, but most have burst and come together with the orange, apricots and sugars. The flavors of the orange and apricot compliment the cranberries perfectly. The sweetness of these two offset the tartness of the cranberries and make for an amazing cranberry sauce recipe!
What can I add to homemade cranberry sauce?
For this recipe, I really love the dried apricots and orange zest and juice. The flavors are very complimentary. Here are some other optional add ins for homemade cranberry sauce:
- diced, peeled apples
- spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
- liqueur: Grand Mariner and Cointreau are great options. Make sure you add the alcohol in with the rest of the ingredients to simmer. This will allow for time for the alcohol to simmer off.
Step 3: Serve Warm or Refrigerate (This sauce can be made a couple days in advance of Thanksgiving!)
Once the cranberry sauce is done simmering, let cool. You can transfer to your serving dish while still warm, and refrigerate. I actually like to make my cranberry sauce in the day or two leading up to Thanksgiving. A chilled sauce goes well with the dinner, and also frees up much needed time on Thanksgiving morning for other dishes to be made.
Before serving, top the cranberry sauce with a bit of additional orange zest, if desired. It makes for a lovely contrast of color, and compliments the flavor of the sauce well.
How long does homemade cranberry sauce last?
It will keep well refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Can you freeze homemade cranberry sauce?
Yes, homemade cranberry sauce freezes well. Once made and cooled, transfer to a freezer-safe container and seal well. This can be frozen for up to two months in advance of serving. When ready to thaw, take out the day or two before ready to serve. Thaw in the refrigerator.
If you loved this Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe, check out some of my other holiday sides:
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Multi-Purpose Pot with Glass Cover (Amazon Affiliate Link) – this medium saucepan is very similar to what I use. I love the fact that it has a glass lid, which I can see through while food is cooking. The stainless steel is very easy to clean. I use this saucepan all the time in my kitchen!
Microplane Premium Zester Grater (Amazon Affiliate Link) – Fantastic for zesting citrus and grating cheese this Stainless Steel grater is a must-have kitchen tool.
Here’s the easy directions for my Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe:
- 2 (12 oz.) bags, fresh cranberries
- 2/3 c. orange juice
- 1/2 c. dried apricots, sliced
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. grated orange zest
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- Orange zest curls for garnish, if desired
- Remove cranberries and rinse well under cold water. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Also to the saucepan, add the orange juice, apricots, granulated sugar, brown sugar, orange peel, nutmeg and salt. Stir together so all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Place saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir often. Cranberries will begin to pop and sauce will being to thicken. Let sauce simmer (not boil) for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to serving dish and serve while warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled.
This can be made 2-3 days in advance of your holiday dinner. Keep covered and chill until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 900Sodium: 305mgCarbohydrates: 233gSugar: 225gProtein: 1g