Spiced Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe (+ Canning Instructions)
I’ve never liked cranberry sauce. The way it slid out of the tin and into the bowl (and it was STILL in the shape of the tin). That “glurp” sound it made on its way out (very appetizing). The bland, boringness of it all…
Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of traditional holiday dinner at all. But I AM a huge fan of family traditions, and of delicious from-scratch food made with love from whole food ingredients.
I’m also a fan of Mason jars over tins, and of canning my own food rather than buying it from the store, so a couple years ago I decided to try making my own homemade cranberry sauce, to see if I liked it any better than the store-bought stuff I’d grown up on.
Hallelujah! It was like night and day. Hands-down, no comparison, I will never buy the tinned stuff again.
Not only is it ridiculously easy AND way more delicious to make your own homemade cranberry sauce from fresh or frozen cranberries, you can even make it ahead and can it yourself so you’ve always got a jar of homemade cranberry sauce ready to go in your pantry long before you’re ready to set the table (and trust me, it’s a lot prettier coming out of a Mason jar).
Plus, making your own homemade cranberry sauce might even save you money. I bought a 907 gram (32 oz) bag for $3 at Costco and got just under five 8oz (jam-sized) jars plus three cups that I left raw and popped in the freezer. I haven’t done a direct price comparison with store-bought cranberry sauce, but I’m pretty sure this comes in cheaper.
As for additional ingredients, all you need is sugar, cinnamon and vanilla (and the cinnamon and vanilla are optional!)
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
To make homemade cranberry sauce, wash the cranberries and throw them in a pot, then add water, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and cook on medium high until it starts to boil and the cranberries start to burst. Turn the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture begins to thicken like jam (about 20 minutes).
* You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe.
Let cool and serve (or serve hot if you like) or let it cool and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
How to Can Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Why not make the holidays a little less stressful and can your cranberry sauce ahead of time? Or make a batch this year and preserve enough to last you through next year’s holiday season too?
To can homemade cranberry sauce, prepare your jars for your water bath canner (wash them with hot soapy water and simmer them in your canner, keeping them hot until you’re ready to fill them), then make your cranberry sauce and fill hot jars to 1/4 inch headspace and process for 15 minutes.
Home-canned cranberry sauce also makes a great hostess gift around the holidays and can actually be enjoyed year-round, contrary to popular belief;)
I’m still not a fan of traditional holiday dinners. We eat ham instead of turkey, charred Brussels sprouts instead of boiled, decadent scalloped sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes and homemade perogies (because we’re Ukrainian and therefore perogies are a must at every holiday dinner.) But this homemade cranberry sauce has definitely earned a place on our holiday table. I hope it earns one on yours too!
Spiced Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe (+ Canning Instructions)
- 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- two cinnamon sticks or 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- one vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and turn heat on to medium high. Stir well to combine ingredients and simmer on medium/medium high until sugar is dissolved and cranberries begin to burst (about 10 minutes).
- Turn down to medium low and simmer gently, stirring frequently until mixture begins to thicken up like jam (about another 20 minutes).
- Remove cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean if using and discard in compost. Let cranberry sauce cool completely before serving.
- If canning, pour hot cranberry sauce into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove lid from canner and let stand for 5 minutes before removing jars. Let cool completely before storing.
* If canning, you probably want to double or even triple the batch as the above recipe will only make one pint jar or two jam jars.
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Would it be ok to substitute honey for the sugar? If so, would it be less than a cup?
You certainly may use honey, if you wish. However, neither Anna or I have tried making this recipe with honey and so we can’t guarantee the same results that we had when making it.
The general rule for substituting honey in canning recipes is to reduce the amount of honey – anywhere from 2/3 to 3/4 of a cup per one cup sugar in the recipe as honey is so sweet. You also may need to reduce the other liquid in the recipe by as much as a 1/4 of the amount in the recipe.
Therefore, I would recommend to reduce both (use 2/3-3/4 cup honey and 3/4 cup water) but watch to see if the sauce looks like it needs that full cup of water in the recipe for the preferred consistency. You will have to “eye-ball” that part as we have not tested this substitution at all.
Also, just a note on using raw honey– this particular recipe is heated to a point that using raw honey will loose any extra health benefits associated with it but will still offer all the sweetness you desire.
Thank you for your quick response! I’m not as concerned about the health benefits of honey as I am of the not so healthy white sugar. Thus the reason for the switch. But thanks for the reminder.
Have you ever tried substituting monk fruit for sugar?
If wanting to can more than 1 jar of cranberry sauce do I simply double ,triple etc ..the recipe?
Yes! I doubled the batch the other day and canned up 4 8oz jars and had about half a jar leftover for the fridge.