Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce is a real cut above anything store-bought. As it only takes around 10 minutes to make, I can’t see a time when I’ll buy it again. The pure and simple flavour is second to none and the texture is just wonderful.
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I had some cranberries stashed in the fridge for something else when I realised that I had no redcurrant or cranberry sauce. This was no more than 10 minutes before dishing up a pork roast dinner.
I’m not a fan of apple sauce. So even though we had a pan of that already going on the stove, I thought I’d have a go at making a quick cranberry sauce.
It turns out to be one of the best on-the-hoof decisions I’ve ever made. I thought that cranberry sauce needed to be boiled to the right temp like jam. But really it is more of a compote and it is the work of moments.
After my conversion, I went on to develop my Homemade Smooth Cranberry Sauce. The recipe is very similar but it gets blitzed then sieved before being jarred.
How to Serve Chunky Cranberry Sauce
I don’t like to serve cold sauce with warm meals. Cranberry sauce needs to be stored in the fridge. But if you take it out half an hour before serving, it has chance to come to room temperature.
Not only does it not make your dinner cold, the flavours are more developed and prominent. This is true for most food kept in the fridge.
Just like with my smooth sauce version, I use this chunky cranberry sauce on my Leftover Roast Dinner Pizza and in my Cranberry Dumpling Dipping Sauce which I serve with Turkey Steamed Chinese Dumplings.
But the most common way is as a condiment with roast dinners. As with most sauces I find it easiest to serve it in a small dish in the middle of the table. That way everyone can help themselves to exactly how much they want.
Christmas Feast: Menu & Recipes
Here you’ll find all of my recipes for the main Christmas Dinner event. There are air fried, oven cooked and stovetop recipes and everything from main event turkey recipes, to Christmas dinner side dishes with all the trimmings, sauces and classic puddings, plus a few alternative options and of course bonus mince pies.
Don’t miss the pigs in blankets, homemade paxo stuffing or packet stuffing balls with added sausage. It would be a travesty to not include simple sprouts. mashed carrot and swede, the best roast parsnips and crispy roast potatoes amongst lots of other delights. Round the meal off with bread and cranberry sauces then end with a classic sherry trifle or mix things up with my microwave mincemeat sponge and custard.
Make Whole Cranberry Sauce into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
As I’ve mentioned, I’m not adverse to serving a cranberry sauce with more than just roast turkey or chicken. A fruity sauce also complements roast duck or pork. And whilst redcurrant sauce (or indeed mint sauce) might be more traditional with lamb, I will happily eat it with that too.
It is simply about the sweetness cutting through the richness of the meats. It is also why it is a common accompaniment to rich cheeses like brie. Curly’s Cooking has a great recipe for Leftover Turkey, Cranberry & Brie Pastries which I have tried and are utterly delicious.
A roast dinner feast
However convincing I might be at tempting you to use cranberry sauce in new and exciting ways, chances are your here because Thanksgiving or Christmas is coming up.
For any roast dinner based meal, I like to mix and match the sides and sauces depending on the occasion. Some of these recipes are not going to be so familiar at a Thanksgiving table. But that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be a very welcome addition. Maybe give some a go.
- Pigs in Blankets (Bacon Wrapped Sausages)
- The Best Roast Parsnips
- Roast Potatoes
- Homemade Bread Sauce
- Roast Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Rosemary Potato Cubes
- Vichy Carrots with Thyme
- Lemon & Garlic Green Beans
- Proper Yorkshire Puddings
- Homemade Sage & Onion Paxo Stuffing
- Get Ahead Gravy From Scratch
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
Ingredients for Whole Cranberry Sauce
You can use fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe. But I do prefer fresh if at all possible. The crunchiness of the raw fruit helps the sauce to retain more texture.
Fresh cranberries aren’t available to buy in the UK year round. They are only really easy to buy in the run up to Christmas. I suspect the same is true in the US in the weeks before Thanksgiving. The actual season is from around mid September to mid November.
Make sure to give the cranberries a quick wash and pick out any that look a bit rough before starting the sauce.
Even with the added sugar in this recipe, cranberries are on the tart side. Please don’t be tempted to reduce the sugar content. There is only so much face puckering you need when eating dinner.
You do need to use a white sugar here. It doesn’t matter if it is granulated/regular or caster/superfine sugar. But please don’t use brown sugar as the taste will affect the finished flavour.
Artificial sweeteners are also a no-no. The sugar forms part of the body of the sauce and shouldn’t be underestimated.
I’ve kept this recipe purposefully plain. This allows the flavour of the cranberry to really shine.
Port and cranberry sauce is a common and popular option. Replace up to half the water in the recipe with port and carry on as normal to make this version.
You can make a version of Nigella’s Redder than Red Cranberry Sauce by adding in some cherry brandy. Or indeed any other spirit of your choice.
Orange & cranberry sauce is also quite common. Replace up to half the water with orange juice to make this version. You can also stir through a tablespoon of orange zest.
You could also add a little fresh chilli or dried chilli flakes to make a Spicy Cranberry Sauce.
Or create a Spiced Cranberry Sauce by adding a little mixed spice (sub pumpkin spice if not in the UK). Be careful with any spices – you don’t want to mask the cranberry flavour.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
This whole cranberry sauce recipe is naturally vegan and therefore suitable for both vegans and vegetarians as written.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This cranberry sauce recipe is free from egg, dairy, gluten and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Easy Cranberry Sauce
You need very little equipment to make homemade cranberry sauce.
To store the sauce you can either just use an airtight container. Or I like to use my favourite jam jars. Use pretty ones and you can use them directly on the table.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
Unlike the smooth sauce which is better left to cool and set overnight before eating, this sauce can almost be eaten straight away. Allowing it a few minutes to cool a little and not be piping hot is however better. Room temperature is the ideal.
If you are not a last-minute-Larry, you can make this way in advance of when you want to eat it.
I make a few jars each year and they see me through to the following Christmas at least. You will need to make sure you use sterilised jars and keep any open jars in the fridge.
You can also freeze it if you don’t want to bother sterilising jars.
Leftover Cranberry Sauce
There really isn’t such a thing as leftover cranberry sauce. It will merrily sit in the fridge until your next roast dinner or sandwich or sausage roll making session.
Whole Cranberry Sauce Tips
You don’t need to boil the sauce for any length of time. Over boiling it will make the sauce gummy which isn’t ideal.
Please be careful tasting the sauce – molten sugar and fruit will be hotter than hades and it will burn.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- 300 g Fresh Cranberries
- 200 g Sugar
- 100 ml Water
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan.
- Turn up the heat and keep stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Turn down the heat and allow the sauce to simmer. You don’t need to stir continuously but it will only take a couple of minutes for all the cranberries to burst and the sauce to come together.
- It will be really obvious when it is ready – it will look like cranberry sauce.
- Pour the sauce into an airtight container or jam jars. Its ready to eat as soon as its cold.