Cranberry sauce

I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner about 6 years ago after I met Ryan. It was his first Thanksgiving in UK and our first together so I wanted to impress him by cooking the whole dinner from scratch!! I had never cooked cranberry sauce, sweet potato mash or pumpkin pie before so I had to do a fair bit of research to find recipes that sounded easy to make as well as delicious. I finally settled for a recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli for the cranberry sauce and have been using it ever since.

I have been changing the recipe over the years and the final version is less sugary and uses maple syrup instead of caster sugar, it also uses less orange juice but plenty of zest. It is now a Thanksgiving and Christmas favourite!


The recipe makes about 1 and 1/2 cups of sauce and takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

  • 300g fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) maple syrup (or honey )
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon (23ml) water
  • 1/4 heaped teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1/8 heaped teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 orange (juice and zest)

See notes if you prefer to use sugar instead of maple syrup or honey.


1. Wash and dry well the cranberries, then combine them with the maple syrup and water in a small pot.

2. Stir the mixture a couple of times and bring it to boil over medium heat, then reduce to a low simmer.

3. Add in the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg and let it simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring it occasionally, until some of the cranberries start bursting and the sauce starts thickening.

The length of cooking time will depend on how thick you like your sauce. I would recommend leaving it slightly runny at this point as it will thicken further as it cools down.

4. When the sauce has reduced to your liking, add in the orange zest and juice, stir to combine and remove from the heat.

Taste the sauce and adjust it to your liking by adding more orange juice or maple syrup if too tangy.

5. Let the cranberry sauce cool completely before serving.


You can use any leftover like a jam, spreading it on toast or stirring it in your yogurt or porridge (oatmeal).

The sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge up to two weeks.

This sauce also freezes very well, so I would recommend making a big batch and freeze it. Just take it out the freezer the night before you want to use it and let it defrost overnight, it will add a tangy taste to any poultry dish! I will definitely be freezing some form Christmas!

Finally if you are are more of a purist and prefer sugar in your cranberry sauce, then you will need to adjust the recipe as follows:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water

Enjoy making it and let me know if you have any comments or questions!

If you want to make this recipe and share it on your social media please tag me using @prepandproperrecipes and the tag #prepandproperrecipes

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