Truly the BEST Cranberry Sauce recipe and it’s SO easy to make! Spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with orange juice, it is the best combination of sweet and tart! This easy recipe takes just minutes of prep work and only a handful of ingredients! Getting ready for Thanksgiving? Don’t forget the turkey gravy and dinner rolls!
Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Thanksgiving is almost here and I couldn’t be more excited for the “side” show, because, if we’re being honest, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about??? Besides for being thankful and spending time with friends and family, of course.
I think we all have our favorite sides. For some it’s the mashed potatoes and turkey gravy, for others it’s the stuffing recipe or maybe those perfectly fluffy dinner rolls.
I feel like the side that too often gets overlooked is the cranberry sauce. So many people go for the store bought canned version when Thanksgiving rolls around because it’s convenient and works in a pinch.
But let’s be honest, it doesn’t even come close to comparing to homemade. Fresh cranberry sauce is SO much better than store bought and it’s easier than you think!
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Back in 2016, I shared my cranberry sauce recipe for you for the first time and it’s been incredibly popular ever since then. I wanted to share this crockpot version with you today because I’m obsessed with having a slow cooker holiday. It makes life so much easier!
What if I told you that you could have homemade cranberry sauce with less than 10 minutes of work and just 5 ingredients? What if I told you that it would be the highlight of your Thanksgiving? And it could be made in the slow cooker?
It’s true. Cranberry sauce is that one side that isn’t so heavy, and that complements every other dish on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s almost a palate cleanser with it’s tartness and subtle sweetness.
Cranberry Sauce Ingredients
I mentioned earlier that there are just 5 ingredients in this slow cooker cranberry sauce:
- fresh cranberries – make sure you give them a good rinse and pick through removing the soft and wrinkled cranberries
- sugar – we want the cranberry sauce tart but a little sweetness helps to offset the tartness and makes the cranberry sauce palatable
- orange juice and peel – you’ll need two oranges if you’re using fresh squeezed orange juice. I find peeling off a small part of the orange first before squeezing the juice is easiest
- salt – just a pinch for balance
- cinnamon stick – adds so much spice and warmth to this dish – it’s a little something extra that will make everyone sit up and take notice
This recipe can be doubled or tripled if needed.
Warm or Cold?
Cranberry sauce can be served warm or cold, it’s really up to you. If you don’t want to deal with reheating the sauce on serving day, you might want to just have it going in the slow cooker while you’re preparing the rest of the meal.
Once it’s cooked down to your desired thickness, just turn the crockpot to warm and continue on with your business. It’ll be ready to go when you are.
Here is the slow cooker I used (aff link). It’s a casserole slow cooker and I use it ALL.THE.TIME. It’s perfect for side dishes, casseroles, etc.
Can Cranberry Sauce Be Make In Advance?
The great news is that this crockpot cranberry sauce is amazing if you make it the day of, or if you want to take something off your plate, you can make it up to three days in advance.
It can be served chilled so you can make it up to three days in advance. I find that the flavor is better after two or three days so if you time beforehand, I would recommend just getting this recipe out of the way at the beginning of the week.
A Must Make for the Holidays
Cranberry sauce is an essential part of every holiday meal for one important reason – it cuts through the heaviness of all the other dishes. It’s light, bright, and delicious. The addition of orange and cinnamon gives it depth of flavor and sweetens it just slightly.
It’s still nice and tart but not quite so tart that you’ll be puckering your lips.
It also adds a gorgeous pop of color and flavor to every bite. I hope you give this easy recipe a try this holiday season!
Complete Your Holiday Feast with These Favorites
- The Best Turkey Gravy
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- Broccoli Salad (a must make for the holidays)
- Crockpot Turkey Breast (the BEST turkey I’ve ever had)
- Creamed Corn (two ways!)
- Baked Sweet Potato (How To Bake Sweet Potatoes)
- The BEST Dinner Rolls
- Nana’s Famous Green Bean recipe
How To Make Cranberry Sauce
The Best Cranberry Sauce
- 2/3 cup sugar
- ½ cup orange juice
- 12 oz fresh cranberries rinsed and picked through
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 piece of orange peel just use a potato peel or paring knife
- Add cranberries to a 2 or 3 quart slow cooker.
- Top with orange juice, sugar, and salt.
- Add the cinnamon stick and orange peel. Stir to combine.
- Cover with lid and cook on high for 3 hours, stirring once each hour.
- Remove the lid and stir again and continue cooking for 30 minutes or so or until the cranberry sauce is thickened slightly.
- Serve warm or cover and refrigerate until ready to use. If refrigerated, cranberry sauce will thicken up even more.
- Can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Slow CookerYou will need a 3 quart slow cooker for this recipe. I used this one here (aff link).
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Lana Trentham says
Funny story. I have a crockpot that is made for traveling. It came with a stretchy rubber thing-y to keep the lid on for traveling. I kept it inside the crockpot to keep from losing it. I decided to make this recipe a couple of years ago and forgot about the rubber thing-y. It is black, just like the inside of the crockpot. So, needless to say what happened, I cooked the rubber thing-y with the cranberry sauce! I found it later when I was stirring it at the end. My husband and I cracked up. He said that it was the best he had ever eaten and he was sure it was because of the rubber thing-y. I’ve made it since then (without the rubber thingy-y) and he says it just wasn’t the same. 🤣
How much water?
Trish - Mom On Timeout says
None! Thanks for catching that, just fixed the instructions.
How much water?
Trish - Mom On Timeout says
Instructions are fixed! No water, sorry about that!