Sink your spoon deep into this bowl of Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Honey, because it’s time for some Thanksgiving straight talk life-advice.

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe
I’m saying this because I care deeply about you and your holiday spread: Do not, I repeat, do not buy canned cranberry sauce or cranberry jelly. Cranberry sauce is the easiest Thanksgiving side dish to make from scratch, and the holiday meal you spend hours preparing deserves the real deal.

To make today’s homemade cranberry sauce recipe, you simply dump all the ingredients into a saucepan, stir, and BOOM. Bright, blissful cranberry sauce that’s the perfect tart bite against juicy turkey, whiskey glazed sweet potatoes, and balsamic Brussels sprouts.

Cranberry Sauce from scratch! Ready in only 15 minutes. Once you try this recipe, you'll never use the can again!

Easy Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce
Eradicating canned cranberry sauce is my meal mission this Thanksgiving. My stepdad makes the absolute best, juiciest Thanksgiving turkey. It’s a product of overnight brining, a secret rub, and what I suspect is a special turkey dance performed before the Thanksgiving gods, because how can it be this juicy?

Last year, he carved the beautiful bird…and then my family served it with canned cranberry sauce. Never again.

How to Make Cranberry Sauce from Scratch

I’m volunteering for cranberry sauce duty, and if you need something simple to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck, you should too!

Here’s what makes this easy, magical sauce so great:

  • Naturally-sweetened with honey (save the sugar for the pecan pie)
  • A touch of cinnamon and cloves for warmth
  • Orange juice and orange zest for a fresh, festive pop

I can’t wait to serve this homemade cranberry sauce with my step dad’s turkey—jeweled sauce for a golden bird.

Homemade Honey Cranberry Orange Sauce

More Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes

What I Learned at ALDI

I picked up the fresh cranberries for this recipe last week at ALDI, while visiting their headquarters outside of Chicago. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have caught a few photos from the trip.

In addition to visiting the test kitchens where ALDI develops its store brand products, we also learned about how to pair wine with food, far beyond the staple “red with meat, white with fish.” One tip I learned is to select a wine whose back-of-the-bottle flavor descriptors (ex: citrus, pepper) match the flavors in the dish you are serving.

I also shocked myself by finding a Riesling that I loved (did you know not all Rieslings are sweet?), and I think it would be lovely for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll take an extra glass for the homemade cranberry sauce.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Honey
Let this be the year of homemade cranberry sauce with honey and orange. Instead of the “plop” of the canned stuff, you’ll hear only a spoon clinking against the bottom of an empty serving bowl.

That’s beautiful Turkey Day music, my friends. I’m glad we had this talk.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Honey

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Honey

4.75 from 4 votes
An easy homemade cranberry sauce that's ready in 15 minutes. Sweetened with honey and orange, you'll never want to go back to the canned stuff again!

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins

Servings: 2 cups, approx.


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries thawed if frozen
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey plus 2 tablespoons (plus additional 1 to 2 tablespoons to taste)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Bring cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey, water, cinnamon, cloves, and salt to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Continue cooking, stirring often, until the cranberries break down and the sauce thickens. Taste (careful, it will be hot!) and add additional 1 to 2 tablespoons honey as desired. If sauce becomes to thick, add a little extra water to reach the desired consistency. Let cool, then serve.

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I created this post in partnership with ALDI as a holiday brand ambassador. As always, all opinions are my own, and thanks for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to continue providing quality content for you!

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. This is amazing! We just made some standard cran sauce from fresh cranberries, but I love the orange addition here. We will have many more shipments of cranberries to come, so having this recipe ready is key! Thanks!

    1. Yay Lia! I hope you love this orange honey version. PS. I’m totally jealous of your cranberry shipments. Send some my way?

  2. So glad you posted this! I’ve never had the real deal, because my mom was never a fan, so she just put out the canned stuff for everyone else, ha!

    1. Jennifer, you HAVE to try homemade. I always thought cranberry sauce was nasty, and that’s because I’d been eating it out of the can. Homemade cranberry sauce is a totally different, wonderful thing.

  3. “jeweled sauce for a golden bird” Love it! I never liked cranberry sauce growing up, and only within the past few years I’ve actually tried homemade and wow is it delicious! So many fall flavors that perfectly compliment Thanksgiving dinner. This one is very pretty!

  4. OK, I’m not going to lie, I have a shameful addiction to the canned jelly. However, I am considering trying this for the Christmas turkey, I find the orange and honey thing really appealing. Another awesome post!
    PS. Can we know what’s in the turkey rub you mentioned?

    1. I WISH Andria! I ask every year, but the goods are on lockdown I’m afraid. Thanks for your kind comment, and if you try the sauce, I hope you love it!

  5. What?! Not all rieslings are sweet? This is news to me, as I’ve shouted from the rooftops how much I despise riesling. I was never one to love cranberry sauce, UNTIL I tried it made from scratch – infinitely better. Looks perfect Erin!

  6. My personal philosophy – you haven’t had cranberry sauce until you’ve had the homemade goods. I love that yours has a touch of honey!

  7. No joke, had not had anything but the canned, ribbed-side stuff until I experienced my first Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, and I was SO impressed… until I found out how easy it is ;)

    This version looks super tasty – love cranberry and orange anything!

  8. My-mother-in-law inspired me to make my own cranberry sauce and I’ve never turned back. The addition of honey and spices sounds divine! I may change the favorite family recipe after reading your stellar recipe!

  9. I agree, we need to lose the ‘plop’ and the one thing on the table with indented can rings. Your cranberry sauce looks so delicious and approachable.

  10. I’m the first to admit it – I love the canned jelly. But ohhhh man cranberry this easy?! I might kick the can to the curb for this beauty!

  11. this will be on my table :) do you mind if i share this on my blog today as I am doing a recipe roundup for thanksgiving?

  12. I so adore the combination of cranberries and oranges – and love that you didn’t weigh this down with tons of refined sugar – this is a sure hit!

  13. Can opener officially down, and cranberries added to the shopping list. Gorgeous recipe lady! Cant wait to wow the family with this one.

  14. Love the presentation and that is does not have any sugar! I always make my own cranberry sauce with chunks of apple and walnuts and stuff it in a baked acorn squash! Have a happy holiday!

  15. Hi Erin! Found your recipe via Pinterest and am going to attempt for Thanksgiving this year! I was wondering if you used whole or ground cloves? Also, would this be ok to make the day before? Thank you so much and can’t wait to try!

    1. Hi Rebekah! I’m so happy that you found this recipe and honored that it will be a part of your Thanksgiving. Use ground cloves, and you can absolutely make it the day before. Just store in the fridge. Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

  16. Erin! I made this recipe for Thanksgiving this year, and it was a hit. I had recipe requests, and family members who don’t even like cranberry sauce told me how much they enjoyed it. Thanks a million! I hope you’re having a fantastic trip in Thailand :)5 stars

  17. This recipe was great! Not going back to canned!! Highly recommend adding a little bit of sugar as mine was a little tart.4 stars

  18. This sauce couldn’t be easier to make. I don’t think I will ever go back to the slab of canned sauce everyone else sticks on the table. Tangy, tart, but semi-sweet, the citrus perks up the underlying tones of the cranberries. I fudged a little bit and used a 1/4 cup of dry red wine with the orange juice, just for the deliberate tannin addition.
    At this time of year, I stock up on bags of fresh cranberries, mix up a big batch and freeze meal-sized batches I can use throughout the year. The berries manage freezing very well if carefully packaged. The frozen bags thaw out beautifully, and add a great touch to chicken, fish, or even basic muffins/bread-type loaves. This is now my go-to for dressing up simple meals.5 stars