The Essential Thanksgiving Side

Nov 21, 2017

Thanksgiving isn’t complete without cranberry sauce.


Cranberries are absolutely perfect with turkey. Something about the flavors, they’re just made for each other.

It may not be as fast as opening a can, but making cranberry sauce from scratch is super simple and super fast.

With 3 ingredients – whole cranberries, sugar, and water – the basic recipe couldn’t be any easier.

So here’s how you make this traditional Thanksgiving condiment.

Make a sugar syrup: Place 1 cup of water and 1 cup of granulated sugar in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the cranberries and cook until they burst: Add one 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries to the pot and bring the mixture back to a boil.  Then lower the heat and simmer until most of the cranberries have burst, just about 10 minutes.

Stir in mix-ins if using: Once the cranberries have burst you can leave the cranberry sauce as is, or dress it up with other ingredients. Some folks like to add things like chopped pecans, orange zest, raisins, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, or even allspice for extra layers of flavor and texture. If adding spices, start with a pinch of each and add more to your taste.

Let cool: Let the cranberry sauce cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to a bowl to chill in the refrigerator. Your cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

This is a great dish to make a day or two ahead … just be sure to make enough that you have plenty leftover for turkey sandwiches.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Happy Thanksgiving!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained

Combine the water and sugar in a medium pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the cranberries and bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until most of the cranberries have burst, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely at room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes about 2 ¼ cups.