The Freshest Cranberry Sauce For Thanksgiving

Forget the canned stuff, with a little effort, you can have the best-tasting cranberry sauce on the block!


I like the canned whole cranberry sauce just like everyone else, but, for Thanksgiving, why not go the extra quarter mile and make it fresh?

It's really easy! And hard to go back to the canned product after making this just one time.

This recipe comes from my friend Georgia Davis—a great cook.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce      

  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1 -  12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 -  8 oz. can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  • Rinse the oranges and using a grater, grate the orange part of the peel of both oranges. Set grated peel aside. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze out enough juice to make ½ cup.
  • In a food processor, coarsely chop cranberries.  Add pineapple (with the juice), ¾ cup of the sugar, and the orange juice to the cranberry mix. Pulse about 7 times to mix and chop – don’t make it too mushy. 
  • Pour into saucepan and add remaining ¼ cup sugar.  Heat over medium heat stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Add the vanilla and the orange zest.  Refrigerate.

You can make this up to three days ahead of your event.

Serves about 8-10.  Easily doubled or tripled for a crowd.

As a side note, I've heard about some tasty additions to cranberry sauce including Chambord liqueur, chopped nuts of any kind, raisins, finely chopped fresh ginger, blueberries, mangoes and even jalapenos!  Try one on for a change.

Seraleah Humphrey November 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Versions of cranberry sauce are about as prevalent as those for chocolate chip cookies. Here's the one I've done for many years, offering a depth of flavors you may like: 14-oz. package fresh or thawed frozen cranberries 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 1/3 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau 8 whole black peppercorns 6 whole allspice berries 5 whole cloves 1 2" stick cinnamon, broken in half 1. Heat the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and Grand Marnier in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Place the peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon in a piece of cheesecloth and tie ends with kitchen twine; add spice bundle to cranberry mixture. Cook, stirring often, until cranberries soften and mixture thickens, 25–30 minutes. 2. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld. Discard spice bundle and stir sauce before serving.


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