Homemade Cranberry Sauce

by Irvin on November 25, 2013 · 15 comments

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A quick, easy and sophisticated recipe on how to make homemade cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries and white wine.

Homemade cranberry sauce. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

Even though no one, other than my mom, ate it, the canned cranberry sauce always had a place on our Thanksgiving table. In truth, I didn’t even know that cranberry sauce came in any other way (solid, with ridges from the can, sliced into burgundy discs, and completely untouched by everyone but my mom). It sat in a special crystal cut dish, one that only came out for Thanksgiving, one seemingly designed specifically for sliced canned jellied cranberries. Nestled between the Turkey, the Stove Top stuffing (which I always made my mom make for the occasion since I loved it) and the Asian sticky rice casserole that my mom always made for Thanksgiving, it laid pristine and untouched except for the one slice taken by mom. It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I learned how to make my own homemade cranberry sauce. (Jump directly to the recipe.)

How to make cranberry sauce. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

I pulled out my beat up manila file with the ancient food stains on them and found the orange booklet with the title William-Sonoma Thanksgiving. I don’t know if they still give them out, but for awhile, William Sonoma had an annual guide for Thanksgiving that included recipes. My co-worker Deb Godwin, handed me one way back in about 15 years ago, at my first “grownup job” post college, a non-profit art gallery right after I graduated from college. Deb knew I liked to bake and handed me the booklet with a casual “You’re a food person Irvin! You need this.” I opened it up and looked at all the various recipes, things I didn’t realize you could make from scratch and I was amazed at the possibilities. Mashed potatoes from real potatoes and not flakes from a box? Green beans made from fresh green beans not cans? Real stuffing with torn crusty bread not the stuff that came in a box or a plastic bag? To this day, I’ve held onto that guide, as it taught me so many things, including how to make homemade cranberry sauce.

This is real homemade cranberry sauce. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eathelove.com

When I finally started to host our own Thanksgiving, a vow that AJ and I have stuck to since we were once robbed of a Thanksgiving dinner due to a misunderstanding, I knew where to turn to for recipes. I’ve since moved on from that little orange booklet, but I still pull it out for the cranberry sauce. I’ve certainly tried other cranberry recipes since but that is the one that I’ve turned back to as solid. Of course, I’ve adapted, it a lot, adding orange and orange zest and most importantly white wine, but at it’s essence it’s the same as the one I got 15 years ago. Some classics never get old. And my mom? She can’t get enough of the fresh stuff. I don’t think she’s bought a can of the jellied stuff in years.

Homemade cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. www.eatthelove.com

If you like this cranberry sauce, check out these other cranberry sauce recipes from around the web!
Gimme Some Oven’s Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce
Cookin’ Canuck’s Boozy Cranberry Sauce with Port Wine and Cloves
Love and Olive Oil’s Hibiscus Cranberry Sauce
Texanerin Baking’s Honey Sweetened Orange Cranberry Sauce
Buns in my Oven’s Homemade Maple Cranberry Sauce

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

[email protected] November 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm

This sounds really, really good!! My mom makes it with red wine and she adds dried apricots to it, as well. 🙂 Believe it or not, I have never tried the canned stuff.


[email protected] pineapple and coconut November 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I am cracking up about the canned cranberry sauce and your mom in your post because I made my mom’s cranberry chutney for my blog this month and I talked about how my dad was the only one that liked the canned stuff and how we would slice it using the ridge lines as a guide. I wouldn’t touch the canned stuff, it creeped me out. But any other type of cranberry sauce or chutney I am a sucker for it and I will eat a huge bowl of just that on Thanksgiving.


Annie November 25, 2013 at 6:38 pm

I actually LOVE the canned jellied kind. Food In Jars has a brilliant homemade version that I have not yet tried. http://foodinjars.com/2011/11/home-canned-cranberry-sauce-made-in-a-tin-can-mold/

I make my own fresh cranberry sauce every year, but I also buy a can of the jellied stuff. I guess the memories of so many family dinners with it on the table makes it taste better. Maybe because I no longer have my extended family around, sadly.

Intrigued by the sticky rice casserole you mention….


Miss Kim @ behgopa November 25, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Looks delish! The canned cranberry still and probably always will hold a special place at our Thanksgiving table. But I’ll be making my own as well. Can’t get enough!


Belinda @zomppa November 26, 2013 at 3:18 am

Under 20 minutes you say…this is wonderful!


Cookin Canuck November 26, 2013 at 9:06 am

It sounds as though that little orange booklet opened up a whole new world of Thanksgiving food for you! This cranberry sauce looks wonderful…there is nothing better than a really good, homemade version.


Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living November 26, 2013 at 9:34 am

I’m the same way, the only cranberry sauce I’ve ever had is from a can, which is probably why I’ve never liked it. But I have a feeling I will if I try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!


Kevin November 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm

You crack me up! The descriptions you wrote were a perfect match to my own experiences and your writing puts a smile on my face. Thanks for the laughs and great recipes here and have a great Thanksgiving!


Kim Beaulieu November 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm

My dad always insisted on canned cranberry sauce. I cringe when I see it but also get the warm and fuzzies since it reminds me of my dad. I love your sauce, it’s so bright and vibrant. I need to try this.


merri November 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm

My whole family and pretty much everyone ive known has loved the canned cranberry sauce. it wasn’t til my early 20s that i knew about homemade, and even then i used can still a couple years ago. now i tend to make it pretty simple, without a recipe, but cranberries any way at all are yum to me!


Janice November 27, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Wow made this tonight a great hit at my house already. My boys had to be told to stay out of it.


Miss Kim @ behgopa December 2, 2013 at 12:10 am

What kind of white white do you like to use for this? I made a cranberry sauce inspired by yours and Williams Sonoma’s (credits to you both) recipe. And I didn’t have white wine in the house, so I used Pinot Noir. It was the only wine I had at the moment. It was just as yummy! http://instagram.com/p/hSnDQ8E1Z5/


CatherineN January 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm

I’ve been making this since 1994 when I got the hardcover book ‘Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving & Christmas’. I make sauce 3-4 times a year exactly as written, the next time I make sauce I’ll not boil the orange & will add white wine. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ve been too tied to the recipe because… well just because. BTW it’s the only sauce my 21 year old has ever had & he’s the reason I make sauce all year.


Jennifer January 11, 2014 at 6:55 pm

I replaced the Wine with Champagne. Awesome!


Liz @ Downtown Demure November 26, 2015 at 12:34 am

This cranberry sauce looks borderline divine! I almost made it for Thanksgiving tomorrow, but I couldn’t figure out what type of white wine to use. Any recommendations?!


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