Cranberry sauce is a staple on the dinner table during the holidays with my family. My grandmother’s cornbread dressing just wouldn’t be the same without the sweet and tart maroon jelled concoction to help set it off. For years, cranberry sauce wasn’t given much thought. My mom would simply buy a can, pop off the lid with a can opener and plop the cylindrical shape right into an elegant crystal-serving dish (do you see the irony?).

A few years ago, I came across a recipe to make homemade cranberry sauce and I thought I’d give it a whirl. I think my brother was a little surprised when I showed up to my mom’s house with the sauce, but after that first Thanksgiving with the homemade cranberry sauce, my family and I never looked back.Cranberry sauce is one of the easiest sides to make, and people are so impressed at the thought of making it from scratch. The recipe only requires four ingredients and adding orange juice gives it a little something extra.


  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or more, to taste
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries

Step 1:

In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest, sugar and 3/4 cup water over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.

Step 2:

Stir in cranberries and bring to a boil; reduce heat and let simmer until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.