Canned Cranberry Sauce Recipe


This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See my disclosure policy for details.

Make the best canned cranberry sauce that tastes homemade quickly and easily! This is the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas. 

Canned Cranberry Sauce

You would never know that this cranberry sauce isn’t homemade! This recipe is the best way to doctor up canned cranberry sauce quickly and easily.

Using both whole berry cranberry sauce and jellied cranberry sauce is one of my favorite ways to make the best canned cranberry sauce. The combination of textures creates a deliciously thick sauce that still has whole berries in it and isn’t solid. It’s the absolute perfect texture.

The brown sugar adds just the perfect hint of molasses flavor that balances with the tartness of the cranberries so well.

I think cinnamon is an absolute must in this dish. It adds that warm holiday flavor that I love so much. It’s noticeable in this recipe, but it’s not overpowering.

Oranges and cranberries are one of my favorite flavor combinations, so I love including some orange juice in this sauce. The sweet citrus juice really does balance the tartness of the cranberries so well. It adds a delicious fresh flavor, too.

This recipe makes enough to fill two serving dishes. I think that’s perfect because then you’ll have one for each end of the table!

The best part may just be the leftovers – is there anything better than smearing cranberry sauce on bread, then loading it up with leftover turkey to make a Thanksgiving turkey sandwich?

I love that this recipe is so easy because that means you don’t have to reserve it for holidays. Just a few minutes in the kitchen making this can dress up your favorite pork recipes or chicken dinners with a cranberry glaze throughout the year.


Cranberry Sauce: I like to use one can of whole berry cranberry sauce and one can of jellied cranberry sauce. The combination of the two textures is incredible. Ocean Spray cranberry sauce is my favorite brand because I think it has the best sweet tart flavor balance.

Orange Juice: Adding a little freshly squeezed orange juice goes a long way in flavoring this classic Thanksgiving condiment. The combination of the sweet citrus with the tart cranberries is a classic holiday flavor combination. If you’re squeezing your own orange juice, I recommend zesting the orange first. You can either use the orange zest as another ingredient to doctor up canned cranberry sauce, or you can use it as a beautiful garnish.

Sugar: When I make cranberry sauce from scratch I like to use a combination of granulated sugar and light brown sugar. Since canned cranberry sauce is already sweetened, you can skip the granulated sugar and just use light brown sugar to add a bit of that delicious molasses flavor.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a warming aromatic spice that really adds the classic fall flavor to this recipe. I personally love adding cinnamon to my cranberry sauce, but I know some people prefer their cranberry sauce to taste mostly like fruit. You can use it, omit it, or even double it if you really love cinnamon.

The labeled ingredients for canned cranberry sauce.

How To Make Canned Cranberry Sauce Taste Homemade

Add all of the ingredients to a medium saucepan. Mix everything together and bring to a gentle boil (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)

Simmering cranberry sauce ingredients in a saucepan.

As soon as the sauce begins boiling, turn the heat down to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. While you’re stirring the sauce, use a wooden spoon to press the larger pieces of jellied cranberry sauce against the side of the saucepan to help it break down. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.

Before and after cooling cooked cranberry sauce.

What Aisle Is Cranberry Sauce In?

During the holidays, canned cranberry sauce can normally be found on the displays in the front of the store or on the endcaps. It’s also common for it to be located in the holiday aisle. If you can’t find it there, it’s probably in the canned vegetable aisle or the baking aisle.

Is Jellied Cranberry The Same As Cranberry Sauce?

Jellied cranberry sauce and whole berry cranberry sauce have different textures. The only difference in the preparation is that jellied cranberry sauce is cooked until all of the cranberries have burst. That releases more pectin, which is why it’s more set than whole berry cranberry sauce.

A dinner scene of a bowl of cranberry sauce next to a serving of glazed carrots and sliced turkey on a colorful napkin.

Do You Heat Up Canned Cranberry Sauce?

You can, but you don’t have to. Most people prefer to serve cranberry sauce either cold or at room temperature.

How Do I Make Canned Cranberry Sauce Better?

It all comes down to the add-ins. My favorite add ins are cinnamon, orange juice, and brown sugar. Orange zest, maple syrup, frozen mixed berries, and simmering the sauce with a cinnamon stick in it are all popular additions, too.

A close up shot of cranberry sauce on top of sliced turkey and glazed carrots.

How Much Cranberry Sauce Do You Need Per Person?

You’ll need at least 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce per person (up to 1/3 cup per person if you’re serving a group that really loves cranberry sauce).

An image of a serving spoon inside a small bowl of cranberry sauce.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

Pin this recipe for later!

A Pinterest pin image with a picture of canned cranberry sauce, with title text at the top.

Thanksgiving Recipes

If you’re looking for more inspiration for the holiday, be sure to check out all of our Thanksgiving recipes! Our side dishes are especially popular. Some reader favorites are:

Yield: 12 servings

BEST Canned Cranberry Sauce (Tastes Homemade!)

The best canned cranberry sauce recipe.

Make the best canned cranberry sauce that tastes homemade quickly and easily! This is the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 (14 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 3 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (amount depending on taste preference, optional, see notes)*


  1. Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan and mix everything together.
  2. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Immediately after it reaches a gentle boil turn the temperature down to low. Simmer for 10-12 minutes (or until the sauce has thickened a bit), stirring occasionally. While the cranberry sauce is simmering, gently break apart the larger jelly pieces (I find the easiest way to do this is by squishing the larger pieces against the side of the saucepan while I’m stirring it).
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let the sauce cool for 15 minutes before serving.
  4. Transfer cooled cranberry sauce to a serving dish, and enjoy!


*I love adding aromatic spices, like cinnamon, to my cranberry sauce. If you love cinnamon, you can use up to 1 teaspoon. If you normally prefer your cranberry sauce without aromatic spices in it, feel free to leave it out.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: 0.1gCarbohydrates: 30.7gFiber: 0.8gSugar: 24.6gProtein: 0.6g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


Tag @KeyToMyLime on Instagram so we can see your delicious meal!

Wondering what to add to canned cranberry sauce to make it better? This easy canned cranberry sauce recipe is for you! It’s the best canned cranberry sauce and it tastes homemade.

The best canned cranberry sauce recipe.

2 thoughts on “Canned Cranberry Sauce Recipe”

    • Hi Mindy, I can’t say for sure, but as long as it’s cooled completely first and stored in a clean airtight container, I think you could probably make this recipe 2 or 3 days in advance. Hope that helps! -Alexa


Leave a Comment

Skip to Recipe