Easy 4 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

This homemade Cranberry Sauce only has 4 ingredients and is easy to make. It’s WAY better than any store-bought version! Plus, it only takes 20 min to make and can be made ahead – perfect for a busy holiday season!

Pinterest collage of Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Easy 4 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

So if I’m being honest, cranberry sauce hasn’t typically been something I look forward to on Thanksgiving. I’d only ever had the store-bought kind and usually the jellied version, which simply has never appealed to me.

Well that changed completely after having this homemade version! It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart and I can’t wait to make it for Thanksgiving this year. It’s SO DARN EASY and QUICK to make, there’s really no reason not to make it homemade. You can even make it several days ahead! It will totally wow your guests and you’ll be the only one who knows that it was the easiest thing sitting on your table to make.

4 Ingredient Cranberry SauceEasy Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe

How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce

So when it comes to cranberry sauce, you need:

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Cranberries (fresh or frozen is fine)
  • Salt – just a touch, for flavor

Add everything to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar melts. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. The cranberries will start to pop and eventually the sauce will begin to thicken. Once the berries are mostly popped and it’s thickening a bit, remove it from the heat.

You can serve the sauce warm, or let it cool and then serve it. Just keep in mind that it’ll thicken as it cools, so you don’t need to keep cooking it until it’s thicker.

How long does cranberry sauce last? Can I freeze cranberry sauce?

Cranberry sauce is a wonderful dish to make ahead because it keeps well in the fridge for up to two weeks. Yay for holiday meal prep!!

If you want to hold onto it for even longer, it can be frozen for two months (for best flavor) or even up to a year.

Cranberry Sauce on spoonEasy 4 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

More Great Side Dishes:

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
Chunky Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
Classic Green Bean Casserole
Classic Homemade Stuffing Recipe
Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash and Cranberries
Mom’s Amazing Baked Beans

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Image of Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings, 2 3/4 cups
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American


This homemade Cranberry Sauce only has 4 ingredients and is easy to make. It’s WAY better than any store-bought version! Plus, it only takes 20 min to make and can be made ahead – perfect for a busy holiday season!


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Pinch of salt


1. Combine the water, sugar, cranberries and salt in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat.
2. Allow the sugar to melt, stirring occasionally.
3. Let the mixture come to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until most or all of the cranberries have burst and the sauce is beginning to thicken.
4. Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
5. Serve sauce warm or cool. Store sauce well covered in the fridge.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 228
  • Sugar: 55.8 g
  • Sodium: 294.2 mg
  • Fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60.2 g
  • Protein: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: cranberry sauce, homemade cranberry sauce, easy cranberry sauce, how to make cranberry, fresh cranberry sauce

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Recipe rating

  1. M Nydell

    This is pretty much how I do cranberries! The only difference…replace orange juice for the water…you won’t regret it!

  2. Scarlet

    My sister loves the cranberry jelly but I love the cranberry sauce. I’m hosting this year so thanks for the recipe!

  3. Edward Kowalski

    I make mine similarly but use orange juice instead of the water and I cut back on the sugar. I also add a splash of lemon juice at the end.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29