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Bowl of cranberry sauce on a cutting board in front of lemons

Ultimate Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • Author: Leslie Jeon
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: about 1 3/4 cups 1x


With lemon zest and a hint of spice, this delicious homemade cranberry sauce is perfect for your Thanksgiving table! It takes less than ten minutes to make, and it's a guaranteed crowd favorite.


  • 12 oz bag (340g) fresh or frozen cranberries 
  • 1/4 cup (56g) water 
  • 1 cup (198g) granulated sugar 
  • Zest of 1 lemon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Place the cranberries, water, granulated sugar, lemon zest, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine all the ingredients. 
  2. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat until the cranberries have burst, stirring occasionally. The cooking time will depend on your heat, but it usually takes about 5-10 minutes.
  3. When the cranberries have burst, remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the sauce to a heatproof container or bowl. 
  4. Let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature before serving. Store the cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. 


  • Cranberries: If you are using frozen cranberries, you don't need to defrost them before cooking. 
  • Tips for Planning Ahead: Want to save yourself some work on Thanksgiving day? Make this cranberry sauce a few days ahead of time! It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week. 
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Jam
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cranberry sauce, cranberry, thanksgiving, thanksgiving side dish