Canned Cranberry Sauce That Tastes Homemade

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Wondering how to make boring canned cranberry sauce taste homemade? Look no further! This recipe will make that canned stuff *SHINE BRIGHT* on your holiday table! Just a few simple ingredients and about ten minutes is all it takes to make a can of cranberry sauce taste fresh and homemade!

Cranberry sauce made from canned cranberries in a white serving bowl

I laugh as I write this because when I first met my husband, he insisted on Ocean Spray canned jellied cranberry sauce for every Thanksgiving dinner….you know, the jellied sauce…the kind you slice that shows the outline of the can?!

His taste buds have evolved since then, but I will say I can’t go through a holiday season without buying him a can of it and putting it– straight from the can–on the holiday table!

We laugh about it, but there is really nothing wrong with canned cranberry sauce! All it needs is a little bit of doctoring up to make cranberry sauce from a can taste like homemade!

Serve this canned sauce alongside your turkey, mashed potatoes, and these amazing crack green beans! It’s also divine on leftover turkey sandwiches!


  • Such an EASY fix to turn canned cranberry sauce into your own special homemade sauce.
  • Only uses FIVE ingredients and takes no time to make!
  • The perfect complement to your holiday dinner table.
  • SO many other uses for this sauce aside from the holidays!
  • You can use whole-berry canned cranberry sauce or the jellied version.


You’ll need the following ingredients to make this kicked-up Canned Cranberry Sauce Recipe:

Ingredients needed to make canned cranberry sauce taste better.


Canned Cranberry Sauce: You have two choices when you buy a can of cranberry space: Whole Cranberry Sauce and Jellied Sauce. EITHER will work in this recipe! I prefer whole berry, but honestly, there isn’t a lot of difference in taste or texture between the two! Just sayin’.

Maple Syrup: Canned cranberry sauce on its own is always sweetened. But the maple syrup adds a deeper, rich flavor. All you need is a touch!

Fresh Oranges: The juice of one big orange + the zest is the perfect tartness to balance out the sweetness of the cranberry sauce.


Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with the exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!

Step 1: Add canned cranberry sauce to a medium pan. Using a wooden spoon, break it up a bit. Then, add all other ingredients and stir to combine.

Canned cranberry sauce in a arge saucepan with cinnamon, orange zest and other ingredients.

Step 2: Bring to a boil, then simmer 1-2 minutes, stirring, until flavors marry together. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

All ingredients for the cranberry sauce mixed together and heated in a saucepan with a wooden spoon.

Don’t be afraid to TASTE your homemade sauce as it cooks. Too sweet? Add a little lemon juice. Too tart? Add a bit more maple syrup. Adjust the flavors until they are just how you like! That is the beauty of cooking at home!


  • Storage: If you are making this cranberry sauce recipe ahead, store it in an air-tight container in the fridge OR cover it tightly with plastic wrap for up to 5 days. Store leftover cranberry sauce the same way.

  • Reheating: If you want to reheat your cranberry sauce, place it in a saucepan over the stove and heat through.

  • Freezing: Cool completely. Then transfer cranberry sauce to a large zip-top bag and freeze flat for up to 6 months.


Here are a few other things you might want to add to your homemade canned cranberry sauce to doctor it up a bit:

  • Chopped nuts
  • Ground ginger
  • Port
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Apples
  • Raisins/dried fruit


Do you serve canned cranberry sauce hot or cold?

This is totally a personal preference! Some people like hot cranberry sauce and others like it chilled. My personal preference is serving this cranberry sauce at room temperature.

How do you thicken canned cranberry sauce?

Canned cranberry sauce is already thick on it’s own. This cranberry sauce recipe with the added ingredients will continue to thicken as it simmers on the stove. No need to do anything further.

What are some ways to enjoy cranberry sauce?

Although cranberry sauce is a popular side dish alongside Thanksgiving turkey, you can also use it in so many other ways (not just around the holidays, either!)

* Alongside pork dishes such as pork chops or a pork roast.
* As a topping for ice cream.
* Mixed with yogurt and granola for a quick breakfast.
* A topping for pancakes, waffles, and french toast (also try my caramel apple pie filling for this too!)
* Use it to make overnight oats.
* As a topping on toast or English muffin.
* My favorite…on leftover turkey sandwiches!


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A large spoonful of cranberry sauce made from canned cranberries.


Check out all of my kitchen essentials in my Amazon store!

Citrus Juicer: Super handy!

Wooden Spoon: Love this set.

My favorite medium sized pan: Perfect pan and I love the color! Super easy to clean and doubles as a dutch oven.



I hope you love this Canned Cranberry Sauce that tastes homemade! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Canned Cranberry Sauce That Tastes Homemade

Casey Rooney
Wondering how to make boring canned cranberry sauce taste homemade? Look no further! This recipe will make that canned stuff *SHINE BRIGHT* on your holiday table! Just a few simple ingredients and about ten minutes is all it takes to make a can of cranberry sauce taste fresh and homemade!
4.78 from 31 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 13
Calories 53 kcal


  • 2 14 oz. cans cranberry sauce Jellied or whole berry cranberry sauce are both fine! You can also use a mix of the two.
  • 2-3 tbsp orange juice (juice of one orange) + 2-3 tsp orange zest (zest from one orange)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (See Note 1) you can also use brown sugar


  • In a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat, combine canned cranberry sauce and all other ingredients. Stir well to combine. You can use a wooden spoon to break up the canned sauce or use a whisk if you want more of a smooth cranberry sauce.
  • Bring to a boil, then let the sauce simmer 1-2 minutes over low heat. Serve warm or transfer to a serving dish and chill until you are ready to enjoy.


Note 1: You can adjust the amount of sugar/sweetness by using more or less maple syrup. I personally think 1 tbsp the perfect balance. 
Nutrition information is only an estimate. Info is based on the Very Well Fit Nutrition Calculator.


Calories: 53kcalCarbohydrates: 9gPotassium: 147mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4.5gCalcium: 16mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This is the first year all the cranberry sauce was eaten. This is SO awesome, I couldn’t get enough of it with my turkey!

  2. 5 stars
    This is great! I know how to make my own cranberry sauce, but the canned sauce is so much easier when I’ve already got a million other things going for Thanksgiving! I’ll definitely be using this recipe to spice it up!

  3. 5 stars
    Wao! that was super easy and soo good! Thanks for your cranberry sauce recipe; I’ll make it again for the holidays!