Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I have a treat for you guys today, just in time for Thanksgiving: an easy homemade cranberry sauce recipe!

This flavorful and unique cranberry sauce is free of refined sugar and as easy as it gets to make.

Sweet, tangy, and bright, it can also be made days in advance to save time.

cranberry sauce pic

Cranberry sauce is one of those things that can be really awesome or really gross.

You know what I’m talking about – cue the canned weirdly gelatinous cranberry sauce, made from a tiny bit of actual cranberries but mostly just corn syrup and who knows what else.

refined sugar free cranberry sauce recipe

If you normally use cranberry sauce out of a can, please try this recipe instead.

It’s super easy, much tastier, and way healthier, too, with actual real food ingredients and no refined sugar.

homemade cranberry sauce

All you need is: fresh cranberries, maple syrup, a fresh orange, and a little fresh thyme (this can be omitted to make the recipe even simpler, if you like).

cranberry ingredients

Once you have your ingredients, you simply toss everything into a pan, stir over heat, and it’s ready.

Easy as that!

maple cranberry sauce

cranberry sauce homemade

10 minutes later and you will have way better than store bought homemade cranberry sauce! Garnish with a little extra thyme to make it look super fancy.

no refined sugar cranberry sauce recipe

Make this ahead of time if you like and store in the fridge for a few days, to free up stovetop space on the big day.

Here’s the full recipe. Enjoy it!

Serves 1& 1/2 CUPS     adjust servings

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time 5 MINUTES Prep Time
Cook Time 10 MINUTES Cook Time
Total Time 15 mins Total Time


  • 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • zest and juice of one fresh orange
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and the sauce has thickened (about 7-10 minutes).


Looking for other Thanksgiving-worthy recipes? Here are few easy favorites already here on the blog:

spiced mashed sweet potatoes


  • Healthy Mashed PotatoesThese taste (and look) like normal mashed potatoes, but the nutrition is amped up with mashed cauliflower and cannellini beans. They’re vegan, too!



pumpkin bean dip 3

A couple extras:

What’s on your Thanksgiving menu this year?


  1. 1

    Love this suggestion for cramberry sauce! I have some Thanksgiving shopping to do this weekend. Happy Friday!

  2. 2

    I’ve always not been a fan of cranberry sauce. The one thing I wouldn’t eat as a child! But I need to re-try making my own! I did 2 years ago…it was okay…but there is mass room for improvement!

  3. 3

    I make a homemade cranberry sauce similar to this every year. It is so simple and so delicious! I will never go back to canned!

  4. 4

    I never used to like cranberry sauce, but once I discovered The Pioneer Woman’s recipe, I became obsessed! I will definitely try yours out this Christmas, since our Thanksgiving is long gone. :)

  5. 5

    I love cranberry sauce! super underrated.. I made lamb meatballs with cranberry sauce the other day… SO GOOD

  6. 7

    Ohh I love the idea of adding maple syrup. I just discovered a cranberry sauce I finally liked (at Whole Foods) so this opens up some exciting Thanksgiving food possibilities for me!

  7. 8

    I love the idea of adding thyme to the sauce! I have tons still growing in my garden. Also, your pictures of this recipe are so beautiful! The colors really pop.

  8. 10

    great idea to use pure maple syrup instead of sugar!

  9. 11
    Linda Berryman says

    I have been looking for a different way to cook cranberries ,I am so happy to try this recipe .
    So healthy for you and delicious at the same time, thank’s for the recipe.

  10. 12

    I’m making this right now!

  11. 14

    Loving the addition of thyme. I bet it adds a certain savoriness?

  12. 16

    I’m going to make this today and have 2 random questions: If I double the recipe should I also fully double the syrup? Worried it may be too much. Next question, any thoughts on whether sage could work in the recipe? Or is that too random?

    • 17

      Yes if you double it I’d double it all! You could add less syrup if you are nervous and taste it before adding the rest but that should work fine. Not sure about sage, but it would probably be good!

  13. 18

    Looks terrific, thanks!

  14. 19

    Thanks for the cranberry recipe. It looks fantastic and we’ll try it even though our (Canadian) Thanksgiving has already passed. And after seeing all your other great recipes (or rather pictures of these great recipes), I may need your help as a dietician!! (Seriously, I may need your help as a dietician especially with the way you seem to approach advice.)

  15. 21

    yum! all the recipes look wonderful! :)

  16. 22

    i;ve also added a splash of grand marnier before… excellent idea :)

  17. 23

    I just made this sauce for our Thanksgiving dinner tonight! I omitted the thyme and added cinnamon which made the whole kitchen smell delicious. I’m so excited to share it with everyone – I think this may be the best sauce yet! :)

  18. 25

    Anne, I just made your cranberry sauce – and I LOVE it!!!! It’s so delicious and at the same time super easy to make – I am going to serve it to duck tomorrow! Some of my friends were already intrigued as I was sending them some pictures during the making :).

    Thank you SO much for sharing!

    Best wishes form Germany :)

  19. 27

    My parents always buy the canned stuff. It creeps me out that it comes out in the same shape as the can, and I think was why I wouldn’t touch it for a number of years! This year I spent Thanksgiving away from them since I live in London now, but sent them this recipe as one to try since it was SO simple – they tried it and LOVED it, as did I for my expat Thanksgiving! So easy, so delicious, and not can-shaped :) Thanks Anne!

  20. 29

    So glad I found your site!

    It’s wonderful!


    Ps….I pick wild mountain berries in the Yukon Territory. They are tart and high in antioxidants. The maple syrup is delicious to add to them. I have a honey business as well and honey is equally as good!

  21. 30

    This sounds really good. I don’t eat any sugar so I was wondering if I could replace the maple syrup with 1/2 cup of juice from an orange? Should I add a splash of lemon as well?


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