How to Make Cranberry Sauce

This super easy Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce recipe has only 4 ingredients. If you’ve been wondering how to make cranberry sauce from scratch but found yourself feeling a bit intimidated, or short on time, this is the perfect gluten-free Cranberry Sauce recipe for you.

To make this easy cranberry sauce recipe all you need is fresh cranberries, honey, orange zest, and water. If you count ingredients the way the Food Network does, then this is a 3-ingredient Cranberry Sauce recipe. They do not count water and salt as well as some other basic items as ingredients, which I think is kinda funny, but I’m happy to go with it.

Now, instead of canned cranberry sauce with who knows what ingredients, preservatives, and way too much sugar, you can have fresh homemade cranberry sauce. This paleo Cranberry Sauce recipe is one of my family’s favorites at Thanksgiving. For years, as soon as the boys have seen fresh cranberries in the grocery store, they’ve asked for it. Did you know that the first recipe I wrote on this website in November 2006 was for Cranberry Sauce?!

How to Make Cranberry Sauce

Print Pin Recipe
Servings 6


  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest


  • Pick through cranberries, discarding soft and rotten ones
  • Rinse the remaining cranberries, then drain with a steel colander
  • In a medium pot, combine cranberries and water and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes
  • Add honey and orange zest and cook for 5 more minutes
  • Serve
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Tried this recipe?Mention @elanaspantry or tag #elanaspantry!

I love homemade cranberry sauce because it’s not only easy to make, it’s incredibly healthy. Cranberries are referred to as a “super food” because they are high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber.

Cranberries have fantastic anti-inflammatory properties and contain an array of phytonutrients. The consumption of cranberries is said to prevent cancer, protect against heart disease, and help detoxify the kidneys and liver. I buy organic cranberries to make our Cranberry Sauce, since non-organic cranberries can be heavily sprayed with pesticides, which we avoid.

Below is my super easy how to make Cranberry Sauce tutorial, so let’s get going!

How To Make Cranberry Sauce

First, as shown in the photo above, I’ve placed the fresh cranberries in a large bowl filled with water. After that, I sort through the cranberries, discarding any that are soft.

How To Make Cranberry Sauce

In the next step, as shown in the photo above, I’ve placed the fresh cranberries in a steel colander to drain the water.

Now it’s time to make the Cranberry Sauce, so I put the the fresh cranberries and one cup of water in a medium pot, bring them to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the cranberries break down. After that, I add the honey and orange zest and cook for a few more minutes. Below, is the finished product, my homemade Cranberry Sauce!

How To Make Cranberry Sauce

Remember, cranberries are very sour. We love the tangy tartness of this homemade Cranberry Sauce. However, we do not eat much sugar at all, even natural sweeteners. So if you find that this recipe is too tart, sweeten it up to taste with more honey, or add a few drops of stevia.

Now that you know how to make cranberry sauce there’s no need for store bought stuff loaded with sugar and preservatives! Here are some of my other homemade paleo cranberry sauce recipes!


24 responses to “How to Make Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Hi Elana, can I use frozen cranberries instead of the fresh ones? Thanks and happy holidays in advance to you and family :)

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