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How to Make Cranberry Sauce: Classic Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Aug 26, 2020 • 1 min read

Making your own cranberry sauce is an easy process with a couple of major perks. Homemade cranberry sauce has less sugar than the canned stuff, and you’re free to dress it up however you want: Add a dash or two of Grand Marnier, or go for a warm, savory note with allspice and nutmeg.



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What to Eat With Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a flexible gluten-free side dish that can mingle effortlessly with the various rich side dishes of Thanksgiving dinner or add a flavor boost to next-day turkey sandwiches. The tangy spread can be used as more than just a tasty holiday accompaniment. Cranberry sauce is a multipurpose, vegan condiment that you can serve with:

  • Appetizers. Cranberry sauce brings an irresistible tartness to a baked brie or a cheese platter with a range of rich, funky cheeses and seedy crackers.
  • Roasted meats. The kicky, acidic notes in cranberry combined with the floral aromatics of an orange is a perfect match for deeply caramelized meats and pan juices, like pan-seared pork chops and sage or roasted chicken with rosemary.
  • Breakfast. Spoon cranberry sauce over pancakes, use it as a spread for toast, or as a tangy yogurt topping.
  • Desserts. Add cranberry sauce to cheesecake or vanilla ice cream for a bright, tart, fruity note.
  • Smoothies. Frozen cranberry sauce is a great way to give your morning smoothies a boost of vitamin C and vitamin A. Freeze leftover cranberry sauce in an ice cube tray for easier blending.

Classic Cranberry Sauce Recipe

3 cups
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min


  • 1 ½ cups orange juice, from about 5 oranges
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest, or orange peel from 1 orange
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 12-ounce bags fresh cranberries (frozen cranberries will also work; allow them to come to room temperature before using)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the orange juice, zest, sugar, and water to a simmer.
  2. Add the cranberries and cinnamon stick, and increase to high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, dial the heat back down to a simmer and cook until cranberries burst, stirring or swirling the pan occasionally.
  3. When cranberries have broken and the sauce has thickened to your preference, about 10 minutes, remove from the heat and transfer to a heat-proof bowl to cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or freeze for later use.

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