Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Use fresh or frozen cranberries to make this homemade jellied cranberry sauce. It is amazing how a simple mixture of cranberries, sugar, and water can be easily transformed into delicious, lovely jellied cranberry sauce. The natural pectin in the cranberries is all you need to make this jellied sauce. It’s surprisingly easy, too—it takes just a few minutes to measure the ingredients and then strain the thickened, jammy sauce mixture. 

Depending on the sieve you use to strain the sauce mixture, it may include some tiny cranberry seeds. If you prefer a clearer jellied cranberry sauce, use a finer mesh sieve or try straining it with a chinois or food mill.

Cranberry sauce isn’t just for holidays and Thanksgiving. It’s wonderful served with a Sunday chicken dinner or pork roast, and it goes well with pork chops and fried chicken. Or warm some up with a bit of golden syrup or maple syrup and drizzle it over pancakes or waffles. Add cranberry sauce to your apple pie or use it to fill homemade pop tarts or turnovers.

“Fresh cranberry sauce is far superior to store-bought, and it is so, so easy! If you prefer the jellied consistency, this recipe will be your go-to. Using a fine mesh strainer allows you to have a cranberry jelly perfect for your turkey dinner.” —Tracy Wilk

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries (or 16 ounces frozen)

  • 1 cup sugar (or 1 1/3 cups for 16 ounces frozen cranberries)

  • 1/4 cup water (or 1/3 cup for 16 ounces frozen cranberries)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for homemade cranberry sauce, jellied

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  2. Combine the cranberries, sugar, and water in a heavy saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.

    cranberries, sugar, and water are combined in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 

    saucepan with homemade cranberry sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  4. Pour the cranberry sauce mixture through a mesh sieve into a bowl.

    straining the cranberry sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  5. Pour the strained cranberry sauce mixture into jars.

    pour the homemade cranberry sauce into jars

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  6. Let the cranberry sauce cool and then refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 2 hours. Unmold and slice for serving.

    unmold the jellied cranberry sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray


  • To make unmolding easier, run some hot tap water over the jar and run a thin, flexible metal spatula around the inside of the jar.
  • When fresh cranberries are in season, pop a few bags in the freezer to use throughout the year. There’s no need to prep or blanch them!
  • Double or triple the ingredients to make a larger amount for a Thanksgiving or holiday dinner.
  • To can a larger amount for shelf-safe storage, use sterile canning jars, lids, and rings. Fill the jars with the hot cranberry sauce, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, place the lids and rings on the jars, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Let the jars cool on a rack, label with the name and date, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months.

Cranberry Sauce Variation

For orange flavor, replace all or part of the water with fresh-squeezed orange juice and add about 2 teaspoons of finely grated orange zest.

How to Store Jellied Cranberry Sauce

  • Keep jellied cranberry sauce in the fridge in an airtight container or jar for up to 10 days.
  • Homemade jellied cranberry sauce keeps its shape surprisingly well when frozen. Transfer the sauce to an airtight freezer container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost jellied cranberry sauce in the refrigerator.

Does jellied cranberry sauce melt?

Jellied cranberry sauce will stay quite firm, but may be heated to a thick, saucy consistency.


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