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Making and Canning Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.

Make your own cranberry sauce at home.

Make your own cranberry sauce at home.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Most people are used to the canned cranberry sauce, which usually consists of the can-shaped red jelly we are all familiar with. It's nice and sweet, and nearly everyone is a fan. But what you don't know is how much better tasting it is when it is homemade, not to mention all of the toxic ingredients those little cans contain.

Homemade cranberry sauce has a punch and a crispness with which canned simply cannot compete. You can always blend it down to a smooth jelly-like consistency if you don't like the taste of the whole berries in your sauce—but I, for one, love them! What's different about my homemade cranberry sauce, though, is that I don't use any processed ingredients.

Like all other jams and jellies at the grocery store, and like most of the ones made at home, cranberry sauce normally uses a great deal of refined white sugar to make it sweet and help the ingredients jell together. I use 100% organic raw honey without any additives. Unfortunately, most store-bought honey isn't even honey as advertised but is water and corn syrup. You have to go through a local apiary, or a local honey store, to get the real thing straight from the hives. There's a big difference!

I use a tad bit of water, and I really like adding in cinnamon, but some people prefer it without the cinnamon. Instead of using water, you could even add in a bit of orange juice, but realize that unless you juice the oranges yourself, store-bought orange juice also has tons of white sugar and other ingredients you likely wouldn't want to have added to your juice. I promise, after making this homemade cranberry sauce, you'll never want to go back to the red jelly canned variety again. Let me show you how easy it was!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

3 hours

20 min

3 hours 20 min

3.5 pints of cranberry sauce


  • 36 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon (optional)


  1. Start by loading your fresh cranberries into a small crockpot. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom to keep them from burning.
  2. Cover your crockpot and allow the cranberries to cook on high, covered, for about 2 hours at least.
  3. When cranberries are cooked through and wilted, add in your raw honey and stir until it's melted. This would be the time to also add your cinnamon if you're using it.
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend up the cranberry sauce to your desired consistency.
  5. Now, leave the top off of the crockpot and continue cooking on high for at least another hour to thicken your sauce.
  6. When you are happy with the outcome, either store it in freezer-safe containers in the freezer until needed or you can preserve them for the long run.
  7. In order to can your cranberry sauce easily, you'll need a water bath canner, at least 3–4 pint jars and a possible half-pint jar (with lids and rings), canning supplies, a washcloth, and a ladle.
  8. Ladle your cranberry sauce into your clean jars up to the neck of each jar. Clean the rims with a damp washcloth to remove any debris.
  9. Add a lid and a ring to each jar, only twisting the rings until you feel the slightest resistance. And transfer them to your water bath canner.
  10. You'll want to cover your jars with clean, fresh water, at least 2 inches over the top of your jars. Cover and turn your heat to high.
  11. When your water starts to boil, tilt the lid to release steam and lower your temperature just a tad. You want to keep the rolling boil but at the lowest temperature possible.
  12. Set your timer to 20 minutes and leave it until the timer goes off. At this time, you can remove your jars with your jar lifter and set them on a towel to the side to cool for 24 hours.
  13. When cool, check that they are all sealed by tapping on the top. They should all ping to signal they are sealed, and the middle of each lid should be compressed down. If, instead, they thud or any of the lids aren't compressed, they will either need to be stored in the refrigerator for no more than a week or will need to be reprocessed.
  14. Store in a cool, dry location until needed. They should last you at least a year or more once canned.
Finished cranberry sauce

Finished cranberry sauce

Use a Good Immersion Blender

For this recipe, you'll need a good immersion blender. You could just use a regular blender, but it sure does make a huge mess! An immersion blender allows you to simply plug it in and blend your jam, sauce, or whatever, right in the pot where it's cooking. Quick, efficient, and very little mess. I use mine for just about everything, like my homemade applesauce, all of my delicious jam recipes, my homemade salsa, and even my pasta sauce.

Then I like to can all of my creations, so they don't take up a whole bunch of room in my freezer unnecessarily, and because then there's no rush to eat them. I can store it safely in the basement with my other canned products and get to it in my own time over the next year or so. And water bath canning is so incredibly easy!

Make sure and grab just the right water bath canner for your needs and a canning kit. I have a 16-quart to make sure the water covers all of my quart jars. Then you can easily preserve all of your tomato and other fruit products. I make tomato paste, tomato juice, tomato sauce, pasta sauce, salsa, "Rotel," and even diced tomatoes, along with the variety of fruit products I preserve. The water bath canner makes canning fun.

I should also tell you that when I can my cranberry sauce, I can't make it quite as thick as I can when I use it fresh or freeze it. It simply would be too thick for air to move through the jar during the canning process. If you choose to can your cranberry sauce and would still like it a bit thicker before eating, you can always heat it on the stove over medium heat in a small pot until it is as thick as you'd like.

We really enjoyed this cranberry sauce this last month! We used it for our big meal and for all of our leftovers. I can't wait to have it again for our Christmas meal. Yum!

© 2018 Victoria Van Ness