CANNED vs. HOMEMADE CRANBERRY SAUCE
When it comes to cranberry sauce, I’m going to be truthful and say that I don’t make it homemade every time. (We actually have a local brand of cranberry sauce that I really like and that tastes just like the homemade version.)
I will say, however, that you can definitely taste the difference between this homemade cranberry sauce and the canned stuff. The fresh cranberries and brightness of the orange juice and zest just tastes… well… fresh!
I usually make homemade cranberry sauce when we are having company over, or for special occasions. It’s also great to bring to a holiday gathering or potluck, or even just to make for the fun of learning a new recipe! Either way, I encourage every home cook to try making things from scratch at least once!
TART vs. SWEET CRANBERRY SAUCE
Another thing I love about making cranberry sauce at home is that you have complete control over its tartness/sweetness by increasing or decreasing the amount of sugar you add.
I find this recipe has just the right balance of sweet and tart, but feel free to adjust the amount of sugar you add based on your taste!
If you like your cranberry sauce on the tart side, I would add in the ½ cup of brown sugar first, and then add in the white sugar 1 to 2 Tablespoons at a time, until you have it just right.
On the other hand, if you prefer your cranberry sauce on the sweeter side (like the canned version), you can add in 1 or 2 more Tablespoons of granulated sugar than the recipe calls for. Just taste it as you go!
WHAT CONSISTENCY SHOULD CRANBERRY SAUCE BE?
Remember that, when you are cooking down your cranberries, the sauce will continue to thicken and gel as it cools.
So, if you prefer your cranberry sauce to be a looser consistency (a bit more liquidy), make sure to take it off the heat before it becomes too thick. Or, you can always stir in a splash of water or orange juice to loosen it up, even once it’s cooled!
Start by rinsing off the fresh cranberries and picking out any that are brown. (Skip this step if you are using frozen cranberries.)
Next, zest, then juice, 1 medium-large orange.
Add the cranberries, brown sugar, white sugar, water, and both the orange juice and orange zestIn to a medium-sized saucepan (or frying pan).
Set the pan over medium heat, stirring the mixture to combine, until it begins to simmer.
Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes. Taste for sweetness, adding any additional granulated sugar as you wish.
Continue to simmer the sauce until it reaches your preferred consistency. Remember, the sauce will continue to thicken and gel as it cools, especially when it is refrigerated.
Then, remove the pan from heat, and allow the cranberry sauce to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve warm, or allow to cool completely. One cool, store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
This quick and easy cranberry sauce tastes so fresh and bright — it’s the perfect side dish on your holiday table. The best part is: it only requires a few ingredients and is ready in about 20 minutes!
- 12oz (340g) fresh cranberries (or frozen cranberries)
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 5 Tbsp white sugar (or to taste)
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)
- 2 tsp orange zest (about 1 orange)
- Rinse off cranberries and discard any that are brown. (Skip if using frozen cranberries.)12oz (340g) fresh cranberries
- Zest, then juice, orange.
- In a saucepan (or frying pan) over medium heat, add cranberries, brown sugar, white sugar, water, orange juice, and orange zest. Stir to combine.½ cup light brown sugar, packed5 Tbsp white sugar¼ cup water¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice2 tsp orange zest
- Bring mixture to a simmer. Once simmering, decrease heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste for tartness/sweetness, adding additional white sugar, as desired.
- Continue simmering until sauce reaches desired consistency. (Note: sauce will continue to thicken and gel as it cools, especially once refrigerated.)
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the cranberry sauce to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Serve warm, or allow to cool completely before serving. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.
- Tart vs. Sweet: I find this recipe is the perfect balance between tart and sweet, but feel free to adjust the amount of sugar you add based on the tartness of the berries and your personal preference. I recommend adding in the brown sugar first, then the white sugar, 1 to 2 Tablespoons as a time (tasting as you go), until it is just right.