Cranberry Sauce

My Cranberry Sauce recipe strikes the perfect balance between tart and sweet, avoiding the overly sugary taste common in many versions. With fresh orange juice, cinnamon, and a hint of vanilla, it's a delightful accompaniment to any holiday dinner, adding a burst of vibrant flavour.

Whether you’re a cranberry sauce fan or not, it’s hard to deny the fact that a holiday menu is not complete without it!

Something about Cranberry Sauce scares some people away; I suppose it may have something to do with its strong flavour, tartness or sometimes too sweet… Maybe it’s the fact that it often comes out of a can and still has the indentations.. But for me, no holiday meal is truly complete without a spoonful of this vibrant, tangy condiment.

I’ve always felt that many cranberry sauce recipes lean too heavily on the sweet side, so I crafted my own version that maintains the cranberries’ natural tartness, complemented by the ideal amount of flavors that I’m absolutely thrilled about – and I think you will be too!

Don’t be skeptical until you try this! I promise you it’s not like the others.

The main ingredients that really sets this Cranberry Sauce aside from the others:

Frozen Cranberries: Cranberries are a true superfood, especially during the holiday season. These little red gems are packed with antioxidants, which are known for their anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Their natural tartness not only gives the sauce its characteristic zing but also means they are lower in sugar compared to other fruits.

Fresh Orange Juice and Zest: The addition of fresh orange juice and zest is like a ray of sunshine in the sauce. This citrusy duo beautifully complements the tartness of the cranberries, adding a natural sweetness and depth of flavor.

Cinnamon Stick and Nutmeg: Adding cinnamon and nutmeg in this cranberry sauce does wonders for its flavor profile. Cinnamon brings a warm, sweet, and woody note that harmonizes beautifully with the tartness of the cranberries. Its comforting aroma is reminiscent of festive holidays, adding a sense of nostalgia to every bite. Nutmeg, with its slightly nutty and subtly sweet flavor, complements the cinnamon and adds a layer of complexity to the sauce.

Cane Sugar: Cane sugar plays a pivotal role in transforming the cranberry sauce from overly tart to pleasantly sweet while maintaining the cranberries’ natural flavor. Unlike regular white sugar, cane sugar imparts a hint of molasses flavor, adding depth and a rustic sweetness to the sauce. This subtle complexity ensures that the sauce is not just sweet but has a rich, nuanced profile that enhances the other ingredients. The use of cane sugar also allows for a more controlled and balanced sweetening, ensuring that the tartness of the cranberries still shines through, creating a delightful interplay of flavors that is both traditional and tantalizing.

The Art of Making Your Cranberry Sauce

The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity of flavors and ingredients. Starting with a base of tangy cranberries, the addition of fresh orange juice and zest brings a fresh, zesty quality. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and a single clove weave in a warmth that’s reminiscent of holiday cheer. As for the sweetness, a touch of cane sugar adds just the right amount, ensuring the sauce retains its delightful tartness. Simmering these ingredients together creates a sauce that’s not just a side but a highlight of any holiday meal.

Whether you’re drizzling it over a roasted turkey, spreading it on a warm roll, or pairing it with a cheese platter, this Cranberry Sauce is sure to add a burst of flavor to your holiday feasts.

It’s a recipe that celebrates the joy of the season and the simple pleasures of home-cooked meals. So gather your ingredients, and let’s add a spoonful of holiday magic to your table with this wonderfully tart and tasty Cranberry Sauce. Happy holidays and happy cooking! 

Cranberry Sauce

Teri-Ann Carty
Is any holiday meal complete without cranberry sauce? I really don't believe so. I wanted to keep mine tart as I find most cranberry sauce recipes far too sweet. I am thrilled with how mine turned out and believe you will be too.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dips & Spreads, Side Dish
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 3


  • pot, stove


  • 2 cups frozen cranberries
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 clove
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ⅓-½ cup water
  • ¼ cup cane sugar


  • Add everything into a small pot.
  • Stir to incorporate and bring to a bubble.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.


You can use any sweetener you prefer. I like cane sugar as it is a little less sweet!
Keyword christmas, dairy free, easy sauce, gluten free, holiday, thanksgiving

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