Making cranberry sauce is simple, and in my opinion tastes better than the canned stuff. We all have our preferences though, so if you or someone you love prefers the canned stuff, there is no right or wrong way to include cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving 🙂 The pure cranberry flavor here is straightforward, but not too tart as it’s sweetened with honey and only a slight hint of orange.

Over the years, I’ve tried a few different recipes. I have come back to this very simple version of Alton Brown’s cranberry sauce recipe from Food Network. Substituting extra orange juice for the cranberry juices brings it down to 3 ingredients.

You can make this cranberry sauce recipe as much as 2 days ahead of Thanksgiving day taking one thing off you list for the big day.

Cranberry Sauce

Adapted from Alton Brown's cranberry sauce recipe on the Food Network

Course Condiment
Cuisine American, Simple
Keyword cranberries, Thanksgiving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 6 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice about 1 fresh orange
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries washed, discard any brown and wrinkly berries


  1. Combine the orange juice and honey in a saucepan (about 2-3 quart size pan).

  2. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the cranberries and simmer for 15 minutes.

  4. Take the pan off the heat and cool for 5 minutes.

  5. Pour into a container for storage and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 

Recipe Notes

If you are looking for it to be in the shape of a can, pour the warm cranberry sauce into a 16 ounce, wide-mouth, canning jar before putting it into the refrigerator.

Not only is cranberry sauce delicious with turkey, stuffing, and potatoes, the leftovers make a yummy spread for toast or a sandwich. This is also one item I feel fairly confident the kids will eat at Thanksgiving too, haha!

Happy eating!

Welcome to 5 Ingredient Friday! Here you'll find a recipe with 5 ingredients or less (shhh... water, oil, salt, pepper don't count). Recipes don't need a lot of ingredients to be yummy. Fewer ingredients means simpler prep. It also means you'll have them memorized in no time. 5 Ingredient recipes are the backbone of my everyday cooking. I hope you find a place for this recipe in your kitchen.