This easy cranberry sauce has only three ingredients and one step!

It’s tart and sweet and the perfect side dish or topping! Best of all, this recipe for cranberry sauce can be made in advance to thaw and serve all throughout the holiday season! Cranberry sauce is a must-have on any holiday table, especially when turkey and stuffing are on the menu!

plated Easy Cranberry Sauce

Favorite Festive Recipe!

  • When fresh cranberries appear, use them to make this easy cranberry sauce that can be doubled up and frozen to use all year long.
  • This homemade recipe for cranberry sauce works for Thanksgiving and Christmas but is also a great appetizer sauce for meatballs and a tasty spread for leftover turkey and ham sandwiches!
cranberries , sugar and water to make Easy Cranberry Sauce with labels

Simple Three Ingredient Recipe!

CRANBERRIES: Fresh cranberries hit the produce section as early as the beginning of October until the end of the year, but whole frozen cranberries are available year-round and for this recipe, they don’t even have to be thawed. Small dices of red or green apples or even chopped pecans or walnuts will make this a new recipe every time!

SUGAR: Depending on how sweet or tart you want your cranberry sauce to be, the amount of white sugar can be adjusted. Superfine sugar (aka castor sugar) will melt faster than granulated sugar. Brown sugar can be used in the same amount as white sugar. Maple syrup and honey are also good alternatives.

WATER: Switch out the water for orange, apple, or pineapple juice for a sweeter flavor.

VARIATIONS: For more depth of flavor, toss in a pinch of nutmeg or allspice, or cook the cranberry sauce with a cinnamon stick or two. Even a little orange or lemon zest will brighten up the flavor.

adding sugar to cranberries to make Easy Cranberry Sauce

How to Make Easy Cranberry Sauce

Just one step!

  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil and then simmer until the cranberries pop (as per recipe below).
  2. Transfer cranberry sauce to a bowl and cool. Serve chilled.

Quick Tips & Tricks!

  • Make cranberry sauce in advance and freeze it in zippered bags for up to 6 months.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
  • For a smoother sauce, push it through a strainer or puree it in a small blender.
Easy Cranberry Sauce in the pot


  • Keep leftover cranberry sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Top it onto ice cream, sponge cake, pancakes, or waffles.
  • Swirl it into a smoothie or mix it with cream cheese for a festive dip!

More Dips, Sauces, and Spreads

plated Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce with a spoon
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Easy Cranberry Sauce

This bright, tart, yet sweet sauce is quick and easy to make.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly




  • 12 ounces cranberries about 3 cups
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water


  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 7-10 minutes or until the cranberries have popped.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.


  • The sauce will thicken as it cools.
  • For less bulk, blend sauce before cooling. 
  • For a clear sauce, strain it into a mesh strainer. Press berries to remove as much juice as possible.
  • Freeze the sauce, and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.  
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.004g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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Easy Cranberry Sauce in a bowl with a title
Easy Cranberry Sauce in the pot and plated with writing



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