5 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce Recipe – Sally’s Baking Addiction

Here’s our favorite Thanksgiving staple recipe: Cranberrysauce. Made from 5 ingredients, this easy sauce is ready after 15 minutes on the stove. Flavored with fresh orange juice, brown sugar and a hint of vanilla – my secret – it’s a cut above the rest.

cranberry sauce with cornbread

I’ve been making this cranberry sauce for years. It’s our family’s favorite recipe and when I first taste it on Thanksgiving I always wonder why I wait until the holidays to make it?! Honestly, this stuff deserves to be a year-round habit.

I never really thought of publishing the recipe on my website because it’s not (1) a big side dish, (2) dessert, or (3) baking related. But I thought: if something is so easy AND so tasty… why not?! And thankfully, this recipe is one of my very best.

Why this is my best cranberry sauce

  • Fast-only 15 minutes on the stove
  • Simple-do not boil the water and sugar together first
  • Useful-only 5 simple ingredients, including water
  • Tasteful—made with fresh orange juice and zest
  • Texture-moderately thick with whole cranberries in it
  • Make ahead—make it a few days in advance so it’s ready!
  • Unlike the rest—I use brown sugar and vanilla
cranberry sauce in a bowl

I didn’t think there was any way I could screw up this recipe, but when I was filming the video I overcooked the cranberries over a high heat. I literally stood over the pot and before I knew it the cranberries shriveled and the sauce thinned out. So make sure you cook on a lower heat and keep a close eye on it. 🙂

Also, don’t be like Chandler Bing and rinse your cranberries with dish soap.

2 images of ingredients for cranberry side dishes

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No cornstarch or other thickeners needed!


How do you make quick cranberry sauce?

It couldn’t be easier.

Set aside 1/2 cup of cranberries. We’ll stir those in at the very end, which will add even more texture. Put most of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in orange zest and vanilla extract. That’s all, you’re done. While I don’t recommend it, you could probably do this with your eyes closed.

If you must bring a dish to Thanksgiving, bring this cranberry sauce (and bring cranberry cake for brunch or dessert!). It is low maintenance and you can make it ahead of time. You can also freeze the cranberry sauce for up to 3 months. Simple!

Use for cranberry sauce

More Thanksgiving side dishes


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Made from 5 ingredients, this easy sauce is ready after 15 minutes on the stove. It will thicken as it cools. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. See notes.

  1. Read before you start: You will need fresh orange juice and orange zest. I recommend grating the orange first, setting aside the zest and then cutting the orange for the juice. (Harder to grate a sliced ​​orange!) You’ll need about half of a large orange for 1/4 cup of juice. Juice the other half of the orange if you need more to get 1/4 cup.
  2. After rinsing the cranberries, set aside 1/2 cup of the cranberries. You stir this at the end for extra texture.
  3. Combine remaining cranberries, water, orange juice, and brown sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the mixture comes to a boil. Once it simmers, reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the cranberries have cracked and thickened, about 10 more minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup reserved cranberries, orange zest, and vanilla extract. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
  5. Sauce is excellent served hot or at room temperature. Cover leftovers and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Keywords: cranberries, Thanksgiving, side dish

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