Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

This whole berry cranberry sauce, made with fresh cranberries and cranberry juice, is slightly tart and pairs beautifully with many turkey, chicken, or pork dishes. Easy to make ahead of time, too.

You may never buy canned sauce again after preparing a batch of this homemade cranberry sauce, which takes just 30 minutes to make. Perfect with roast turkey, the tangy topping also pairs nicely with pork chops, steaks, and fish.–Eliza Cross

Which cranberry juice should I use?

Depends on how tart or sweet you’d like the resulting cranberry sauce to be! For those who prefer a bracing tartness in contrast to a rich meal, opt for unsweetened cranberry juice with no added sugar. If you care for a touch more sweetness, go ahead and make it with cranberry cocktail…perhaps while lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams or even singing along to it.

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

A white bowl filled with whole berry cranberry sauce with a silver spoon resting in it.
This whole berry cranberry sauce, made with fresh cranberries and cranberry juice, is slightly tart and pairs beautifully with many turkey, chicken, or pork dishes. Easy to make ahead of time, too.
Eliza Cross

Prep 25 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Total 2 hrs 25 mins
5 from 1 vote
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  • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice (preferably not cranberry cocktail or cranberry juice with added sugar)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest from 1 medium lemon preferably organic
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 package (12 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries


  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the juice, sugar, honey, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Add the cranberries to the saucepan and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the cranberries begin to split and break down but still retain some shape, about 10 minutes.

    TESTER TIP: Don’t be concerned if the sauce looks thinner than expected after boiling. It will become thick and jammy as it cools. Guaranteed.

  • Remove from the heat and serve warm, cool to room temperature, or cover and stash it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Print RecipeBuy the Berries cookbook

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Sweet, tart, bright, and refreshing—this recipe makes cranberry sauce at its finest. It comes together quickly and easily with minimal fussing. And there truly is nothing like ruby red cranberry sauce to bring color to the plate and provide a contrast to roasted meat. The honey was wonderfully aromatic while the mixture was cooking. There wasn’t much honey flavor in the finished cranberry sauce.

I used frozen cranberries. I didn’t thaw them before adding them to the boiling liquid. After 10 minutes at a simmer, most of the berries were completely broken down and the sauce was thin, but syrupy. )I cooled the sauce on the counter, which took quite a while. It could be served warm, which would shorten the total prep time. When the sauce was room temperature it was pretty much solid. I could turn the jar upside down and the sauce didn’t pour out. (This is not a bad thing, I love thick cranberry sauce.

So far, I’ve only used the cranberry sauce as an accompaniment to roast chicken, but I am looking forward to slathering some on a turkey and Swiss sandwich. And I’m dreaming about dolloping some on buttered toast for a twist on ordinary jam and toast at breakfast.

A vibrant ruby red cranberry sauce that is as delicious as it looks. Mixing honey and sugar gave it a subtle sweet flavor that was just enough for the tart cranberries and the lemon zest added a lovely citrus punch adding depth of flavor. This would be wonderful with roast turkey or chicken or pork chops. But why wait for your meat to cook when you could slather it on crackers with a creamy Brie or tangy goat cheese. Possibilities are endless.

A great whole berry cranberry sauce, easy to make and tasty. I made it with frozen cranberries and it elevated our turkey sandwiches. We’ve earmarked this recipe for our Thanksgiving table. (Next to the obligatory canned shaped stuff).

This is an easy and delicious way to make cranberry sauce. I have never made it with cranberry juice before and I have been missing out! This would be incredibly easy to make and save for any holiday gathering.

I followed the instructions exactly and everything was perfect. After the final 10 minutes the cranberries had popped and the sauce was a chunky thick consistency. I had a little under 2 1/4 cups and I made a mock Thanksgiving dinner with just turkey and some green veg to accompany this.

This was an easy recipe that produced an acceptable cranberry sauce, but one that was more tart than most. If I had to choose, I would pick a sauce that errs on the side of tartness than on the side of sweetness, but I believe I may well be in the minority on that.

The mistake I apparently made with the recipe was following it too closely. My grocery store carried a number of varieties of 100% juice cranberry juice; only one was pure unsweetened cranberry juice and that is the one I chose. Further research after I tasted my finished product indicated that most of the juices had a sugar content of 28 grams while the pure cranberry had only 18 grams. I think this difference was enough to skew the taste of the sauce.

The original sauce was used as a side dish with a pork roast. The remainder, with a small amount of sugar added, was a spread on cold pork sandwiches.

I would make it again, but probably using the regular blend known as cranberry juice.

Originally published November 06, 2020


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    1. Thanks, Monique. So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

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