Cranberry Sauce (1)
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  • Food: Cranberry Sauce
  • Writer: Nicolas Wilson
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

Let’s speak about cranberry sauce for a moment. It’s the Thanksgiving side dish that gets overlooked, but no holiday table is complete without it.

Cranberry sauce gives an otherwise drab dinner a much-needed blast of sweet-tart flavor and ruby crimson color.

This honey or maple syrup-sweetened cranberry sauce recipe is far more appealing than store-bought, not to mention more delicious.

Plus, this homemade cranberry sauce is incredibly simple to prepare. It takes roughly 10 minutes to prepare. Sign up if you’re looking for a quick and easy Friendsgiving option.

To prepare this cranberry sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cranberry bag (fresh)
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Orange juice or zest of Orange
  • Water

Naturally Sweetened vs. Conventional Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce Easy (1)
Food: Cranberry Sauce (Source: Cooking Classy)

A gelatinous, glistening cylinder of canned cranberry sauce on a platter has a beautifully retro feel about it. I’ve often wondered when we started buying cans rather than preparing our own.

Was there a fresh cranberry scarcity in the 1950s? Perhaps fresh cranberries weren’t widely accessible at the time?

This season, grocery shops are brimming with cranberries, which is fortunate for us modern Americans. I recently bought a can of cranberry sauce and looked over the ingredients list: cranberries, high fructose corn syrup, and that’s about it.

High fructose corn syrup is a highly processed, flavorless sweetener that I try to stay away from, and I’m sure you do as well.

About a cup of white sugar is used in most handmade variations. Today, I’d like to present you with a more nutritionally sound, naturally sweetened alternative that calls for 1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup.

Uses for Cranberry Sauce Leftovers

  • Combine the leftover sauce and granola in a yogurt bowl.
  • Toss it into your oats (like this).
  • It’s delicious spread on toast with almond butter or goat cheese (like this).
  • Treat it as though it were jam.

Cranberry Sauce

Time to prepare: 2 minutes

Time to cook: 8 minutes

10 minutes in total

Fresh cranberries, honey or maple syrup, and orange zest are all you need to make this naturally sweetened! It’s simple to make and tastes fantastic. The cranberry sauce yields around 2 cups.


  • 12 ounces (1 bag) of fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup honey or maple syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • Zest of 1 medium orange, preferably organic (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Truly optional add-ins: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and/or ¼ cup fresh orange juice


Cranberry Sauce Yum (1)
Food: Cranberry Sauce (Source: Cooking Classy)
  1. To begin, thoroughly rinse the cranberries and drain any extra water. Pick through the cranberries and toss out any that are soft.
  2. Combine the cranberries, honey, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower to medium-low heat and cook, stirring periodically, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cranberries have popped and the liquid has thickened to your taste.
  3. Take the pot off the heat and add the orange zest. If you want to add cinnamon or orange juice, now is the time to do so. Taste and adjust the amount of orange juice, honey, or maple syrup to taste if the mixture is too tart (bear in mind that it is supposed to be a little tart!).
  4. As the sauce cools, it will thicken further. It will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, covered.


  • MAKE IT VEGAN: Instead of honey, use maple syrup.
  • PREPARE IN ADVANCE: This sauce can be made up to two days ahead of time. Cover and chill until ready to serve, then bring to room temperature before serving.
  • HOW TO REMOVE ZEST: To simply remove the zest, I use a Microplane grater (affiliate link). You might also use your box grater’s fine holes. If you want to keep things simple, leave off the zest and instead whisk in 1/4 cup of orange juice.