How to make the easiest 3-ingredient cranberry sauce

Guest post by Melissa

304360289_013601d4bfJust in time for Thanksgiving, I’m going to teach you how to make the easiest cranberry sauce you’ve ever had. You can make this a day or two before, or you can even can it and save it for years.

This makes a great hostess gift for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and you can pretend you went to a ton of effort to make it.


  • 2 parts cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 part water
  • 1 part brown sugar

And that’s it.

Step 1: Boil the ingredients

Unless you’re having a massive dinner with 10+ people, 2 cups of cranberries is plenty. Mix everything in a pot, and put in on the boil. Reduce to simmer and wait for the cranberries to pop.

Step 2: Reduce to a sauce

Let the mixture simmer on low, stirring occasionally, until it reduces to a sauce. Take off the heat.

If you want to can it, you can ladle it into sterilized jars with sterilized lids, and it will keep for a year or two. Keep in mind this is a sauce, not a jelly, and will be chunky. But it’s absolutely delicious, and a huge hit at every turkey occasion!

Comments on How to make the easiest 3-ingredient cranberry sauce

  1. I don’t really like cranberry sauce, but I know a VERY easy recipe for a sweet cranberry relish that I personally think goes even better with Thanksgiving dinner:

    A bag of cranberries
    A full large orange (skin and all)
    Up to one cup of sugar

    Put everything in a blender or food processor, and chop/blend until it has the consistency of a relish. Not everything may fit at once, but that’s a great way to try a small serving first before really committing. But trust me, you will like it!

  2. I’ve always done it just like this recipe until last year, when I tried two different things, both equally easy and very tasty:

    1. For a raw sauce (see sweet cranberry relish, above), blend or process the following (proportions very flexible):
    -1/2 bag raw cranberries
    -1 apple, peeled and chopped
    -a couple of dates, chopped

    2. For a traditional but slightly healthier sauce, cook the following (proportions also very flexible; add more dates until it’s as sweet as you want it):
    -other half of the bag of cranberries
    -enough water to cover in the pot
    -a handful of dates, chopped

  3. The only cranberry sauce I have ever liked is pretty much this exact recipe. I will gladly skip the oranges, the apples, the walnuts, the ginger, and celery. Anything other than straight cranberries and sugar just tastes too cloying and competes with the other great flavors this time of year.
    Bah! Humbug!

  4. Thanks for this; now that I’ve successfully made the basic recipe, I’m excited to try some of the variations in the comments.

    A note on sugar substitutes (I have family with dietary restrictions): the stevia-based sweetener I use usually requires half the quantity of sugar one would use; I used *slightly* more than this, in part for the consistency.

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