Thanksgiving is one of those holidays I didn’t celebrate growing up, but now I can’t imagine my life without them. So, every year, I try to make new recipes for our Thanksgiving table. But, for some reason, I was too intimidated to make cranberry sauce. That was until I discovered how easy it is to make. Really easy, like embarrassingly easy. You only need a bag of cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and a small saucepan. This is the easiest and most stress-free Thanksgiving recipe ever.
Cranberries: The star of the show! Use fresh cranberries. Do not use dried. Pick through them and discard any that look mushy. Then, rinse them in a colander under running water to make sure they’re nice and clean.
Granulated Sugar: Balancing out the tartness of the cranberries, sugar adds sweetness to the sauce.
Orange Zest: Before you juice the orange, grate some zest off.
Fresh Orange Juice: Liquid is essential to help the cranberries cook and release their juices. Orange and cranberry are a natural pairing.
Optional Orange Liqueur (e.g., Grand Marnier or Cointreau): For rich and intense orange flavor.
How to Make Cranberry Sauce Step by Step
Step 1: Dissolve the sugar. Heat the liquid and the sugar until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil.
Step 2: Add cranberries. Add the cranberries and orange zest, allow the mixture to boil, and simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 3: Chill the cranberry sauce. Remove from heat and mash with the back of a spoon until desired consistency is reached. Allow the sauce to cool completely to room temperature. Then, refrigerate it until ready to serve.
How Long Does Cranberry Sauce Last?
To store: place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 to 2 weeks.
To freeze: pour the sauce into a freezer-safe container after it’s cooled for up to 3 months.
For defrosting: simply let it defrost in the fridge overnight, give it a good stir, and serve.
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- 12oz (340g) fresh cranberries
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large orange washed
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) Cointreau liqueur optional
- Zest the orange and then juice it. Pour the juice into a measuring cup and add water until you reach the 1-cup mark. **While you can simplify this recipe and use only water, orange juice adds a delicious depth of flavor that compliments the cranberries perfectly. You can also use just orange juice for a strong citrus flavor. So the bottom line is to use one cup of liquid for this recipe; it can be water, water mixed with orange juice, or just juice**
- Pick through the cranberries and discard any that look mushy. Then, rinse them in a colander under running water to make sure they’re nice and clean.
- Whisk the sugar and orange-water together in a saucepan over medium heat until dissolved. Increase the heat and bring it to a boil.
- Stir in the cranberries, orange zest, and Cointreau (if using), and reduce the heat to low.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring the mixture every few minutes to ensure the bottom doesn't burn.
- After 15 minutes, the cranberries should all be popped. Remove the pan from the heat, and remove the lid. The sauce will look very liquidy, but it will continue to thicken as it cools. This is because cranberries are high in pectin, which helps them set naturally into a jelly without needing other thickeners.
- Mash cranberries with the back of a spoon until desired consistency is reached.
- Allow the sauce to cool completely to room temperature. Then, refrigerate it until ready to serve.