Homemade Cranberry Sauce: Thanksgiving Prep Time

Have you ever had that urge to make everything from scratch for your Thanksgiving smorgasbord?  I sure have!  Cue the eye roll. LOL.

I know making things from scratch is a lot of extra work, but I get so much satisfaction from it, and many things can be made ahead of time so that I’m not scrambling the day of Thanksgiving to get everything done. 

This cranberry sauce is one of those things that’s super easy to make weeks ahead of time, and it tastes delicious!

Just a couple quick notes about this recipe:

  • I have listed 2-3 cups of sugar in the ingredients.  I’ve done it both ways. If you like it more tart, stick with 2 cups of sugar—3 cups will make it pretty sweet for those that like it that way. It’s up to you and your preferences.
  • For the spice, I love to use my Ethiopian finishing spice (Mekelesha Kimem)!  Here’s a link for how to make this amazing spice mix!  If you don’t feel up to making it, you can also do a close substitute with a combination of ¼ tsp cardamom, ¼ tsp cloves, ¼ tsp nutmeg, and ¼ tsp cinnamon. 

Happy Thanksgiving prepping, Friends!  Enjoy this zingy, tangy, orangy, sauce!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

**This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. **


***You will find most of these spices and ingredients for cheaper prices at your local grocery stores. I’m just including the amazon links for those who like the convenience of online shopping.***


Rinse the fresh cranberries to remove any dirt (I find it easiest to just dump them in a colander and rinse them with cold tap water).

Dump the rinsed cranberries into a 4-quart pot.  Add the sugar, water, and cinnamon sticks.  Turn your heat to medium and let it come to a slow simmer.  We want it to simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have popped. 

About 5 minutes into the simmer, add your orange zest, orange juice, and remaining spices. 

Stir it well, and continue to cook for 3-5 more minutes.

Once the cranberries have mostly popped, turn off the heat, and let it cool.  Store in glass mason jars in the fridge for up to 4 weeks (I leave the cinnamon sticks in it so that they continue to add delicious flavor). You can also freeze the cranberry sauce for a later date.

Yields a little over 1 quart of sauce.