Tried-and-True Cranberry Sauce

Trying to make some healthy swaps for the upcoming holidays? Would you like to prepare more dishes at home and consume less preservatives from canned side dishes? Looking to reap the benefits from a superfood?  This recipe is for you!

This delicious cranberry sauce recipe is three things: 1) Simple, 2) Light, and 3) Rave-worthy from your holiday guests.

To be fair, I’ve never had store bought cranberry sauce, but I’ve seen it and it doesn’t look appetizing (and I never go backwards). We’ve always crafted the sauce homemade in our kitchen for holidays. These types of traditions are important to me.

Cranberries are considered a superfood. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “superfood” as “a food… rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids), considered beneficial to a person’s health.” Point blank, a superfood is thought to provide ample amounts of desirable nutrients to potentially aid in the fight against illness and/or disease.

Below are just a few facts identifying the positive benefits and ties between cranberries and health conditions you or someone at your holiday table may experience.

“Growing evidence suggests an important role of cranberries in maintaining digestive health.”*

“Folklore regarding cranberries’ beneficial effects on urinary tract health date back to 1683, when the fruit was used in recipes.”*

“In the past 25 years the focus of cranberry research on human health has evolved from urinary tract health and cancer to cardio metabolic diseases.”*

I hope this motivates you to make fresh cranberry sauce this year!

Recipe is as follows:


1 – 12 oz bag Oceanspray fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar substitute (or regular white sugar if you prefer)

1 cup water


Place all in 2 quart stovetop pot and turn heat on low.

Stir regularly.

Once about a third of the cranberries pop or start popping, remove from heat.

I like to pour in a glass dish and let cool until sealing tight in refrigerator.

[This is a side dish I always make in advance of a holiday.]

Optional add-ins: 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest or ginger. Both have beneficial properties and add a hint of unique flavor.

Lasts really nicely for about 1 week when stored properly.

There are endless options for this cranberry sauce:

Use as a side dish on your holiday meal table.

Make turkey cranberry sandwiches, spreading a thin layer of sauce on the turkey.

Spread on your morning toast or on sliced apples for a mid-day snack.

After Thanksgiving I like slicing leftover fresh turkey breast, placing a spoonful of cranberry sauce within and rolling up (a perfect lunch with a side salad).

I hope you enjoy one of my staple recipes for the Fall. Here’s to the start of a wonderful holiday season!

*Zhao S, Liu H, Gu L. American cranberries and health benefits – an evolving story of 25 years. J Sci Food Agric. 2020 Nov;100(14):5111-5116. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.8882. Epub 2018 Feb 20. PMID: 29315597.

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