I am convinced that anyone who does not like cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving really just hasn’t had this recipe yet. This homemade cranberry sauce recipe — ruby red, sweet but tart, and fragrant with orange, cinnamon, and fresh ginger — brightens even the heaviest Thanksgiving plate. Best of all, this classic turkey day side dish is incredibly easy to make.
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce: Recipe Notes
This recipe is essentially a quick “dump and stir.” Put all the ingredients in a pot, stir, and cook. At first, the cranberries will foam and pop. This will eventually give way to a nice, thick, beautiful cranberry sauce.
Make sure not to over-reduce this bubbly mixture. The cranberry sauce will continue to thicken once cooled. The main way to test that it has cooked enough is to tip a spoon in the cranberry sauce, then run a knife through the center. The cranberry sauce left on the spoon should hold its shape, leaving a trail where the knife cut through.
This is a fairly tart cranberry sauce, to complement the heavy, savory side dishes and turkey. Taste the cranberry sauce after it finishes cooking. If you prefer a little more sweetness, add a tablespoon or two more of sugar.
One of the other gifts of this classic Thanksgiving recipe — besides its deliciousness — is that it can be made up to a week in advance. Just pull the cranberry sauce from the fridge an hour or two before dinner, and serve at a cool room temperature. Garnish with a ribbon or two of fresh orange zest.
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The Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
- 1 medium orange, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
- 3/4 cup water
- pinch kosher salt
- Put all the ingredients (cranberries, orange juice, zest, sugars, cinnamon, ginger, water, and salt) into a medium pot. Stir, and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let simmer, partly covered, for about 15 minutes. Stir often. The cranberry sauce is done when it is syrupy and jammy.
- Let cool to room temperature before serving. Garnish with a few grates or peels of fresh orange zest. TIP: This can be made up to 7 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Bring to cool room temperature before serving.