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Homemade Maple Cranberry Sauce

This Homemade Maple Cranberry Sauce recipe only needs 6 ingredients! Sweetened with orange juice and maple syrup with a hint of cinnamon. It’s the perfect sweet tart cranberry sauce for the holidays! 

Homemade Maple Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce isn’t something we had at Thanksgiving. But it is a side that my husband would have every year.

If I’m being honest, the first time he asked me to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving I gave him this blank stare. I had never eaten it. I didn’t even know where to start. So I did the next best thing….

I went to go to the grocery store and bought canned cranberry sauce. You know, the kind that comes out of the can in the same shape of the can! To which he proceeded to give me the same blank stare I gave him.

“This is NOT cranberry sauce. Where are the cranberries. It’s like jelly.” he said.

Well, I’m proud to say that last year I went to a Sur la Table Thanksgiving cooking class and I learned how to make cranberry sauce. Legit good cranberry sauce at that!

How Do You Thicken Cranberry Sauce?

When the cranberries start to warm up and burst they release a substance called pectin which acts as a natural thickener and turns those whole cranberries into a thick jelly. Which means the longer you let your cranberries cook, the thicker the sauce will get. No added ingredients, just the cranberries. So cool right?

process photo of cranberry sauce being made

How to Make Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Berries

It’s so simple. You literally just add either fresh or frozen berries to a sauce pan along with liquid (orange juice or water) and a sweetener to help cut some of that tang out from the cranberries. Bring to a boil, let the cranberries burst to release the pectin. It will start to turn into a sauce and thicken.

Can You Make Cranberry Sauce Without Sugar

Normally cranberry sauce is made with tons and tons of white granulated sugar. But in this recipe I used a little bit of orange juice for sweetness and pure maple syrup. So, the answer is yes you can make cranberry sauce without sugar.

overhead photo of maple cranberry sauce

The good news about this cranberry sauce is, it can be frozen. I made this last week, in fact you may have seen it on my Instagram Stories if you follow me.

Which, on a side note, if you don’t follow me on IG, you should. You’ll see what’s going on in my life, fitness stuff, lots of cute pictures of my kiddos and some sneak peak recipes. 🙂 Just sayin.

Ok, back to freezing.

How Do You Freeze Homemade Cranberry Sauce?

It actually freezes really nicely. You just put it in an air tight container or freezer storage bag and place it in the freezer. It will last up to 2 months. When you’re ready to use it, just place it in the refrigerator to thaw out and serve! Voila. (psst.. that’s totally what I’m doing this year. Cranberry Sauce )

maple cranberry sauce in a pot

Now that I finally know how to make cranberry sauce …. and the BEST Maple Cranberry Sauce at that. I’m obsessed, and honestly so is my son. He put scoops of this stuff on his plate last year like it’s pudding. HA!

There’s natural sweetness to this sauce that comes from the orange juice and maple syrup. A hint of vanilla and a mild cinnamon taste. The cranberry sauce still has a nice tang to it, but it pairs perfectly with that oven roasted turkey and salty gravy. Y’all are gonna be in heaven.

So, if you’re looking for a GREAT cranberry sauce recipe look no further. If you want to get a little a head this holiday season, run out now and grab some cranberries to make this cranberry sauce. First off, it’s delicious and super easy to make. But it also knocks one of those items off your “to do” list and that is always a plus!

Bon Appetit friends!

overhead photo of homemade maple cranberry sauce

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The BEST Maple Cranberry Sauce - web-8

Homemade Maple Cranberry Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American


This Homemade Maple Cranberry Sauce recipe only needs 6 ingredients! Sweetened with orange juice and maple syrup with a hint of cinnamon. It’s the perfect sweet tart cranberry sauce for the holidays!


  • 4 cups cranberries, frozen or fresh
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • cinnamon stick


  1. Heat a medium-sized saucepan to medium heat. Add cranberries, pure maple syrup, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract and cinnamon stick.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. About 5-7 minutes.
  3. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the cranberries burst and begin to break down until they for a sauce, will be about 15-20 minutes. You can smush them with a spoon if you’d like.
  4. Test the sauce to make sure it’s too your liking. If it’s too tart, you can add more syrup.
  5. Remove the cranberry sauce from the heat and it let cool.
  6. SERVE!


  • Store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for 3-4 days.
  • You can also freeze your cranberry sauce for up to 2 months. Just place the sauce in an airtight container or freezer storage bag. To reheat to move to the fridge to thaw about 24-48 hours before the big meal and serve.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 52
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Sodium: 2 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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homemade maple cranberry sauce image for pinterest



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9 comments on “Homemade Maple Cranberry Sauce”

  1. This cranberry sauce looks perfect for next week! Adding to my Thanksgiving meal plan! Thank you!