Classic Cranberry Sauce

Sides, Thanksgiving

Classic Cranberry Sauce //

I know this week I’ve thrown you some renditions of Thanksgiving classics, but when it comes to cranberry sauce I like my stuff simple. Classic Cranberry Sauce. Don’t throw sage in my dang cranberry sauce. Don’t put bacon in my cranberry sauce. I’ll get an attitude.

I have very fond memories of buying cranberry sauce from the can and plopping it onto a plate and carefully slicing it in between the can-rivets. I loved it. For years, even after I got into cooking, I’d still buy cranberry sauce from the can–it was emotional, I think! But now I just can’t do it, especially considering how simple and easy and delicious homemade cranberry sauce is.

Classic Cranberry Sauce //

The tartness of the cranberry sauce is so essential when you’ve been consuming nothing but stuffing and gravy and potatoes and more bread. It’s the brightest thing on the table and it’s the thing that makes the days after so special. Thanksgiving sandwiches NEED cranberry sauce. I don’t think anyone would disagree with me.

This cranberry sauce is definitely traditional. It’s not weird or strange with surprising new-to-me-and-you ingredients, but it is special. I love the combination of sugars. I love the orange zest and orange juice (critical to cranberry sauce, in my opinion) and I love love the freshly grated ginger and essence of cinnamon and star anise.

Everything is pretty balanced–you won’t take away a strong ginger-y or cinnamon-y or star anise-y flavor, but together it’s magical. I hope you make it, I hope you love it!

While I love Thanksgiving savory foods, what I love even more is pie. Monday is pie week on this here lil’ blog and I’ll be starting things off with the basics and then move into a variety of pies that have become my favorites. I can’t wait!

Classic Cranberry Sauce //

Classic Cranberry Sauce //

Classic Cranberry Sauce

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Calories: 86kcal
Classic cranberry sauce is so easy to make. It's a million times better than the canned stuff. This is perfectly spiced with the most delicious hint of vanilla.


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Juice from 1 orange, about 3 to 4 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise


  • In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, add all of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has reduced slightly. Give it a taste (be careful, it'll be hot!) and adjust the seasonings.
  • You may want it to be a bit sweeter. Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick and discard. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill. The cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.


To Make Ahead: 
This recipe is great to make-ahead. Make the recipe in its entirety and transfer to an airtight container. When completely cool, place a lid on it and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat, if you like, over low heat and serve. 
CourseSide Dish
CuisineAmerican, Thanksgiving
Keywordclassic cranbery sauce, cranberry orange sauce, cranberry sauce, cranberry sauce recipe, how to make cranberry sauce
Calories: 86kcal
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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  • Reply Leanne November 25, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Just had to let you know, one year later, that I made this last year and it was a HUGE, HUGE hit!!! Everyone– from my MIL who made decades of old-school style Thanksgiving meals (complete with canned cranberry sauce! Which I also loved!) to my nephews who are the pickiest eaters in all of space and time– loved it!! I’m definitely making it again this year, and always. I make it three days earlier because who needs the added stress and dishes, day of,right? Thanks for the fab recipe!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme November 26, 2014 at 10:09 am

      YAAASSSS! Love this. I’m making this cranberry sauce right now. It’s the PERFECT thing to make a few days ahead. It changes nothing and keeps in the fridge so well.

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