Cranberry sauce is one of those items that, while it is super easy to make, I usually end up reaching for the store version of it. There is something about that weird, gelatinous, ridged sauce that I like. Frankly, it’s probably all the sugar. It took me a while to warm up to homemade cranberry sauce, but I was glad once I did. This is a very basic recipe, but you can jazz it up any way you’d like to. I prefer mine as is, but hey, to each his own. Another great thing about it, is that you can make it up to a week ahead of time.
Basic Cranberry Sauce
makes about 2 1/4 cups
- 12 oz of cranberries, fresh or frozen // Rinse well, and discard any that seem soft. A perfectly ripe cranberry should feel smooth and hard and bounce if dropped – this is how they test them before packaging
- 1 cup sugar // This makes a pretty sweet sauce, similar in sweetness to the kind that comes in a can. You can adjust this down to 1/2 cup or up to 1 1/2 cups depending on how sweet you like it
- 1 cup of water
- zest from one orange // You won’t be able to really taste the orange, but it will give the sauce a little something extra. If you want a cranberry-orange sauce, substitute orange juice for the water
- pinch of salt
- Optional: pecans, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
- In a medium pan, combine the cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest, and salt. Place on medium-low heat.
- Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until all of the cranberries have burst. You’ll hear them hissing, then a popping noise. Make sure that you stir it enough so it doesn’t get burnt to the bottom of the pan.
- As the cranberries become soft, use your spoon to mash them up. [If you want super smooth sauce, you can use an immersion blender and then press it through a sieve.] Continue cooking until the sauce seems slightly thicker. It will thicken up a lot when it cools.
- When done, remove from the heat and stir in any of your optional ingredients. Let cool slightly, then transfer into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until use.