This is the best recipe for cranberry sauce! Sweetened with maple syrup and flavored with oranges, this easy cranberry sauce will add the perfect zing to your Holiday meal.
Call me crazy, but one of my favorite sides at Thanksgiving is the cranberry sauce.
Not the jiggly stuff from a jar, but homemade cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries.
To me the tartness of this dish is the perfect balance to all the rich dishes served at Thanksgiving.
And cranberry sauce is not only a must for the holiday meal, it also makes the perfect condiment to leftover turkey sandwiches or is great served over pancakes or waffles. You better believe I make a make a HUGE batch of this cranberry sauce in order to guarantee leftovers!
Cranberry Orange Sauce
My recipe for Cranberry Sauce is made with fresh cranberries, maple syrup, and orange juice.
The tart cranberries are mellowed out by sweet maple syrup and the orange juice adds a zing of bright flavor.
But the real beauty in this recipe is that it only takes 2 minutes of prep work to have homemade cranberry sauce–which is JUST about as easy as opening a can, but tastes a whole lot better!
How to Make Cranberry Sauce
- Place fresh cranberries, orange juice concentrate, maple syrup, and cinnamon in heavy bottomed stock pan.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until cranberries have popped and sauce is thickened.
- Stir in fresh orange zest if desired at end to help add a layer of bright flavor the cranberry sauce.
Why Orange Juice Concentrate?
Cranberries are extremely tart in their raw, fresh state and require a lot of added sweeteners.
Instead of opting for corn syrup or refined sugar, I like to use a bit of maple syrup and orange juice concentrate.
Orange juice concentrate is 100% fruit, but because it is concentrated the sweetness and flavor are very intense. This natural sweetness and orange flavor pair beautifully with the cranberries and makes a delicious, perfectly sweetened sauce without refined sugars.
How to make Cranberry Sauce in Advance
The beauty of this homemade cranberry sauce, is that not only is it incredibly easy to make, it also can be made in advance.
- Make Cranberry Sauce as directed and freeze for up to 2 months in advance. Thaw in refrigerator night before Thanksgiving and serve cold or warm slightly before serving.
- Make Cranberry Sauce as directed and store in refrigerator for up to 5 days before serving. Serve cold or warmed slightly.
Notes on Easy Cranberry Sauce
- This Cranberry Sauce is vegan, gluten-free, Paleo, whole30 approved and egg and nut free. Making it a great side dish for anyone with dietary restrictions.
- You can use honey in place of the maple syrup, but be warned your dish will no longer be vegan. Honey may also overwhelm the orange flavor in this sauce, but if you like honey, it will still be delicious!
- Be sure to watch your cranberry sauce closely as it comes to a boil, because of the natural sugars in the orange juice concentrate and maple syrup, it can burn quickly. Turn to a low simmer IMMEDIATELY once sauce comes to a boil.
More Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- Naturally Sweetened Homemade Applesauce
- Harvest Quinoa Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette
- Twice Baked Butternut Squash
Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Cranberry Orange Sauce
- 1 pound fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup add additional syrup if you like things on the sweet side--I live for the tartness this dish provides!
- 1 teaspoon orange zest optional
- Place all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until berries have burst and juices are becoming thick, watching to be sure liquid does not evaporate. (If it does, add in 1/4 cup water at a time.)
- Stir in orange zest if using.
To Store Cranberry Sauce
- Cool and store in fridge for up to 5 days or freeze in air tight container for up to 2 months ahead of use. Thaw in refrigerator the night before using.