Homemade Cranberry sauce takes all of 15 minutes to make and it kicks canned cranberry sauce to the curb! It’s sweet – but not too sweet – and flavored with a splash of bourbon, a little maple syrup, and a hint of orange zest. You’ll want to eat this stuff straight out of the bowl with a spoon – it’s THAT good!
If you’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce before, this is THE year to do it! It’s so simple, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along. Plus, this recipe is naturally Gluten-Free and Vegan which makes it perfect for holiday gatherings where you may have guests with dietary restrictions.
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce:
First, cook the water + sugar together in a saucepan for a few minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Then, add your fresh or frozen cranberries and cook about 10 minutes, until they’re mostly broken down.
Stir in your add-ins! This is the fun part. I love using a little maple syrup, bourbon, and orange zest. I even add a pinch of allspice as well. You can use just one or all of these – customize it to your taste!
I have to say, though, that I am partial to using ALL of the mix-ins. It’s just too delicious not to! (You can, of course, omit the Bourbon for any guests who can’t have alcohol or to make this dish kid-friendly).
The cranberry sauce might not seem super thick at this point, but it will set up and thicken up more as it cools.
This recipe can easily be doubled (or tripled!) or cut in half, to accomodate whatever size crowd you’re feeding on Thanksgiving. This Homemade Cranberry Sauce would also be incredible as a side for your Christmas or holiday dinner!
I cannot even put into words how good this Cranberry Sauce is! WOW, is it good – I want to drink it, bathe in it, eat it with a spoon – better make a double batch! Or a triple batch. Haha!
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Maple Syrup and Bourbon
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated or cane sugar
- 2 cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries
- 1-2 TBSP pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp bourbon can omit if needed
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 pinch allspice
- Make the Cranberry Sauce: Rinse your cranberries. Add the sugar and water to a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved (this will only take a couple minutes). Once the sugar is dissolved, lower the heat to a simmer (low heat) and add the cranberries. Bring the mixture to a boil again, and then reduce the heat to a simmer over medium low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are mostly broken down - about 10 minutes. Next, stir in your mix ins! Start with 1 TBSP of maple syrup, taste, and add the second if you want a little more sweetness. You can adjust the other mix-ins to your taste, too.
- Serve + Store: The sauce will thicken as it cools but it's technically ready to eat once your mix-ins have been stirred in! Store leftovers tightly covered in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead Tips: Cranberry Sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the fridge. Gently reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop when ready to serve. Yield: 1.25 cups (The recipe card won't let me include a decimal so I know it says 1 cup above, but that's wrong.)
- Troubleshooting Tips: If your cranberry sauce hasn't cooked down or thickened by the end of the 10 minute cook time, never fear - you probably just lowered the heat a bit too much. You can still fix the cranberry sauce! Turn the heat back up a bit and continue cooking until the cranberries break down and thicken up more.
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