The Easiest Cranberry Sauce (With 7 Flavor Variations)

cranberry sauce

A super easy cranberry sauce recipe with just 3 ingredients, plus creative flavor variations including cranberry-orange, maple cranberry-cherry, cranberry-apple, pineapple-cranberry, red wine cranberry, spiced and gingered cranberry-orange.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 ounce (3 cups) cranberries, fresh or frozen


  1. Before you start cooking, rinse your cranberries and pick out any damaged fruit.
  2. To make a basic cranberry sauce recipe, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cranberries, and cook on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce starts to thicken. (Watch out for splatters from popping berries.)
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely, or serve warm. Transfer to a sealed container for storage in refrigerator or freezer.


Flavor Variations

  1. Cranberry Orange Sauce – Substitute orange juice for water, and add 1 tablespoon orange zest.
  2. Maple Cranberry-cherry sauce – Add 1 cup tart cherries (fresh or frozen) and 1/2 cup maple syrup.
  3. Apple-cranberry sauce – Substitute apple juice for water, add one diced fresh apple.
  4. Pineapple-cranberry sauce – Drain juice from 16 ounce can of pineapple chunks. Add enough water to make one cup. Cook juice/water, sugar and cranberries as above. Stir pineapple chunks into cranberry mixture.
  5. Red wine cranberry sauce – Add 1/2 cup dry red wine and a dash of black pepper (optional).
  6. Spiced cranberry sauce – Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon each salt, allspice, nutmeg and cloves
  7. Gingered orange cranberry sauce – Grate in 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger root, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. Substitute 1/2 cup orange juice for 1/2 cup water.

Keywords: cranberries, Thanksgiving. Christmas, holiday