No-Cook 15-Minute Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving is easier than you might think. This foolproof, make-ahead, no-cook recipe takes just 10-15 minutes of prep.

There are two types of people at Thanksgiving: cranberry-optional, and cranberry-must-have. Within the must-haves, there are two subsets: must-have the canned jelly kind, and must-have homemade cranberry sauce.

Dear Husband’s family can take it or leave it. But for my family of origin, both canned AND homemade cranberry sauce are must-haves on the Thanksgiving table.

Fortunately, making homemade cranberry sauce is about the easiest thing there is to prepare for Thanksgiving. All you need are 5 ingredients and maybe 15 min of prep time, for the tangiest sweet-tart old-fashioned flavor you can imagine.

And even better, while you CAN make it the last minute, it’s also super-simple to prepare several days in advance. (In fact, doing so gives the flavors more time to blend.)

Ready to get started? Then here’s the recipe for

My Mama’s 15-Minute Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Approx. 10-15 min prep time; makes 3 cups

What you’ll need:

The basic idea:

  • Sort through the cranberries, discarding any that have gone bad, and then rinse in a colander.
  • Wash the outside of the apple and orange(s). Core the apple, then cut it into eight chunks. Cut the orange(s) into similar-sized chunks.
  • Chop about half the orange and half the apple in the food processor until they are in fine chunks. As needed, periodically empty the chopping bowl into a medium mixing bowl.
  • Using the funnel, add in the cranberries a little at a time. Keep emptying the chopping bowl into the mixing bowl when it gets too full.
  • Then add the rest of the apples and oranges. Add the sugar and vanilla last, and pulse until everything is finely chopped and of a similar consistency.
  • Using a rubber scraper to clean the sides of the bowl as you go, empty the rest of the sauce into the mixing bowl. Stir well to distribute all ingredients evenly.
  • While you can eat the sauce right away, refrigerating it in a sealed container for anywhere from 1/2 hour to several days will help the flavors blend better. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, if they last that long.

Mix it up:

  • As noted above, my mama has always made this with one large seedless navel. But when she made it at my house recently, all we had was clementines, and these worked just fine.
  • You can add additional vanilla if you wish, up to 2 tsp.
  • If you prefer, you can substitute our favorite non-sugar substitute for some or all of the sugar.

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17 thoughts on “No-Cook 15-Minute Homemade Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Wow! I love no-cook meals and this one looks really delicious. We usually have the canned one but would love to try this homemade sauce. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Can’t wait to give it a try. Thank you for sharing.

    1. You are so welcome! My hubby and bro-in-law wrinkled their noses when I said we were having this homemade sauce for Thanksgiving this year (usually we are at my in-laws’, but this year we hosted). But they both – ESP b-i-l – were literally eating it by the spoonful straight-up, having seconds and even thirds, that’s how much they liked it!

    1. Oh, it is! Even my hubby’s family (who can usually do without it) was taking seconds and thirds, just to eat it by itself – that’s how much they liked it!

  2. Ooooh I LIVE for homemade Cranberry sauce. This looks absolutely divine. Our days of canned Cranberry sauce is over because this is definitely the way to go. Yumm!

  3. My family has always had the canned stuff and I’ve never liked it. My friend brought a very similar sounding cranberry sauce to our Friendsgiving last week and it was so good!

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