This homemade cranberry sauce is easy to make on the stovetop in under 20 minutes with just 2 ingredients. This recipe is vegan, refined sugar-free, can be made in advance and makes a perfect addition to Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas.

Overhead image of a glass far filled with homemade cranberry sauce sitting on a white surface.

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

Before we get into how to make homemade cranberry sauce, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make it. 

  • Frozen whole cranberries. You’ll need 1 12 oz or 340 gram package of whole fresh or frozen cranberries. 
  • Maple syrup. This recipe is sweetened naturally with maple syrup, making it refined sugar-free.
  • Navel orange. To make cranberry orange zest, you’ll need the optional navel orange to make orange zest and orange juice.

Extra cranberries? Make these delicious apple cranberry crisp for another holiday favourite!

Orange zest, a box grater and a half a sliced navel orange sitting on a chopping board.

How to Make Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce is very easy to make. After you make your own, you’ll wonder why you ever used canned.

To make this recipe, add everything to saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened. This whole process takes less than 20 minutes.

As the cranberries cook, they’ll break apart and thicken into a beautiful, bright, tart and slightly sweet sauce that’s perfect for Thanksgiving and other holiday meals.

Whole cranberries, maple syrup and orange zest in a medium-sized saucepan.
Thick cranberry orange sauce in a saucepan with a wooden spoon.

How to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Unsure of what to do with the leftover sauce from a holiday meal? Cranberry sauce can be used any way you’d use jam, so try it:

  • Spread on toast
  • Mixed with yogurt
  • Added to oatmeal
  • Spread on a slice of pumpkin bread
  • Served with baked sweet potato
  • Blended into smoothies
Overhead image of a glass far filled with homemade cranberry sauce sitting on a white surface.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

This amazing, homemade cranberry sauce takes less than 20 minutes to make and is always a hit at Thanksgiving. Try it with the orange zest and juice for a delicious citrus twist.

More Thanksgiving Recipes

This cranberry sauce is amazing served alongside:

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Overhead image of a glass far filled with homemade cranberry sauce sitting on a white surface.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 2 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Holidays
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This homemade cranberry sauce is so delicious and easy to make, you’ll wonder why you ever used canned! Serve as a side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas paired with mashed potatoes, stuffing, brussels sprouts and other holiday favourites.


  • 1 12 oz (340 g) package of whole fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • optional: 1 navel orange to make 1 tsp orange zest and add a squeeze of orange juice


  1. Add the cranberries and maple syrup to a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a light boil over medium high heat, stirring often. If you’re using the orange, squeeze in the juice from half the navel orange and add the orange zest.
  2. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the cranberries have burst and broken down and the sauce is thickened to your preference, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely at room temperature.
  4. If serving soon, transfer it to a serving dish and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. If storing for later, transfer to a sealable container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.