Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce (jellied or whole)

Homemade cranberry sauce is easier to make than you think.  Plus, it tastes one million times better than the canned jellied cranberry sauce from the supermarket.

Cranberry sauce sliced on a white tray with berries in the background.

Why You Love This

You can make it chunky or smooth and creamy. I will also show you how to make it in the shape of a can to fool those skeptics that think they ONLY like canned.

  • This is the best homemade cranberry sauce recipe. It never disappoints. I’ve been making it for years since I realized you can make it at home and how easy it is to do.
  • Only five ingredients!
  • You can leave it with whole berries or strain it for jellied cranberry sauce.

Fresh green bean casserole, southern cornbread dressing, pecan crusted sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie with a gingersnap crust are always on the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner menu.

Cooked cranberry sauce in a metal saucepan.

How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce (jellied)

Add the cranberries, water, and sugars to a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until all the cranberries have popped open.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. You can smash some of the berries with the back of a spoon for a more textured whole cranberry sauce.

Pour into a container and let cool completely before refrigerating.

Cranberry sauce being pushed through a strainer.

Or, as I did here, I used my stick blender to crush the berries. Pour it into a fine-mesh strainer and mash it with a spatula until all remaining in the strainer are pulp and seeds.

The final result is a smooth and creamy jellied cranberry sauce.

Pour into the jar of your choice, and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating to set completely.

When Ready to Serve

Mason jar upside down under running water.
Thin spatula running around the inside of a jar.
Sliced jellied cranberry saucw.

With the lid still on, run hot water over the bottom of the jar.

Run a thin, flexible spatula tightly around the inside of the jar against the glass. Turn it onto a serving platter, and it will release.

Slice, serve, and enjoy! This is such an easy recipe you will never buy the canned stuff again.

How To Can Cranberry Sauce

Do this when the sauce is still hot. Leave about 1/4-inch of space at the top of the jar.

Wipe the rims clean, place new lids (unused) on the jars, and screw the rings until just finger-tight.

Place the jars into a canner and pour hot water just to the tops of the jars. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes.

This works for pint, pint-and-a-half, or quart-size jars.

Turn off the heat, carefully remove the canner lid, and leave the jars in the canner for 5 minutes before moving to a towel on the counter overnight or until room temperature.

Label the jars and store them in a cool dark place for up to one year.

You can also freeze cranberry sauce for up to 3 months.

Unmolded cranberry sauce shaped like a jar and sliced in serving slices on a white platter.

The perfect accompaniment to your rich and savory Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It’s also a great spread on leftover turkey sandwiches!


If you want, add a cinnamon stick, orange peels, or orange zest for added flavors. Just be sure to remove them before straining.


  • I always make cranberry sauce ahead of time. It’s just one more dish done and ready to go on the big day.
  • You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. I stock up at the grocery store during peak season and freeze the fresh cranberries.
  • Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • When straining, be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the strainer. Pulp will cling to it that you want in your sauce.
  • You can place it in a jar or bowl, both work fine.
  • Let sauce cool to room temperature before refrigerating.


What is jellied cranberry sauce made of?

Cranberries, sugar, and water that’s all that are needed.

How long does homemade cranberry sauce last?

Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Can you freeze homemade cranberry sauce?

Yes, freeze in the mason jar, leaving room at the top to expand slightly, for up to 3 months.

More Holiday Side Dish Recipes

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Cranberry sauce sliced on a white tray with berries in the background.

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe (jellied or whole)

Smooth, creamy, jellied homemade cranberry sauce. Super easy recipe with only 5 ingredients!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce, Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry, homemade, jellied, sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 169kcal
Author: Leigh Harris


  • 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  • Place the cranberries, sugars, and water in a medium saucepan.
    12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1 cup water
  • Over medium heat bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until all the cranberries have popped open.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • To make it jellied, pour through a fine-mesh strainer and push through with the back of a spoon or spatula until there is only pulp and seeds remaining.
  • Pour into a jar and allow to cool before refrigerating to set completely.


This makes one pint or about 2 1/4 cups.
Storing – Covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Freezing – Freeze in the mason jar or an air-tight freezer container, leaving room at the top to expand slightly, for up to 3 months. 
Canning – See above in the post.


Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

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