This 20-minute sauce is a great way to make use of those fresh and seasonal cranberries that make an appearance at this time of year. Even better, we’ll be complementing the natural tartness of the cranberries with a bright burst of citrus and a warm combination of spices for a truly sensational, yet simple, sauce.
To make our sauce we’re going to need some freshly squeezed orange juice, raw cane sugar, fresh cranberries, water, salt, and spices including a stick of cinnamon, a strip (or two) of orange peel and some whole cloves.
Into a medium-sized saucepan goes our orange juice, water, sugar, salt, orange peel, cinnamon stick and cloves. We’re going to bring this to a low simmer, being sure to stir occasionally so that the sugar melts.
Once the sugar is fully dissolved and the spices are fragrant, remove the peels, cinnamon stick and cloves and add in your cranberries and continue to simmer until most or all of the cranberries have popped and broken down.
The best thing about cranberries is that they contain a lot of natural pectin which is a thickener. So as your berries break down and combine with the sugar they will thicken your sauce. If you like a smooth sauce feel free to use an immersion blender. For a semi-smooth sauce you can use a potato masher to partially mash the berries, or if you prefer a more chunky sauce with relatively intact cranberries then you don’t need to do much of anything and simply leave the sauce as is. As your sauce cools it will continue to thicken and once it is chilled it will thicken even further.
While cranberry sauce is iconically served with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, its use can honestly extend into any recipe that uses a jam from spreading it onto toast to using in yogurt parfaits or even mixing some into your smoothies or making oatmeal bars out of them! However you choose to enjoy it, this recipe is quick, clean and simple and will result in a perfect and delicious sauce everytime.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- In a medium saucepan, add the orange juice, water, sugar, cinnamon stick, orange peel, cloves, and salt and bring to a low simmer for 5 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved and the spices have steeped and are fragrant.
- Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, cloves, and orange peel.
- Add in the cranberries and continue to simmer on med-heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped and broken down.
- Cool for 20 minutes. The sauce will naturally thicken as it cools.
- Enjoy at room temp or chilled. Store leftovers in an airtight container or jar for up to two weeks in your refrigerator.
- You can add more sugar as needed to adjust the sweetness of the sauce but I recommend no more than 3/4 cups of sugar.
- As the cranberries are heated they will pop and can cause minimal spatter. This is normal.