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Bowl of cranberry sauce topped with rosemary and lemon

Ultimate Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • Author: Leslie Jeon
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: about 1 3/4 cups 1x
  • Category: Jam
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: American


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 fresh or frozen cranberries (340 g)
  • 1/4 cup water (55 g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (194 g)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (3 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (1 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (1 g)
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Place the cranberries, water, granulated sugar, lemon zest, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat until the cranberries 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, then add in a pinch of salt to taste. 
  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. 


  • If you are using frozen cranberries, you don’t need to defrost them before cooking. 
  • 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. 

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