Honey’s Cranberry Sauce

It’s that time of year again: “The Holidays”

In the spirit of giving and sharing, I would like to share my recipe for cranberry sauce. This sauce is easy to make, and is WAY better than that canned “Jellied Cranberry” stuff you see in stores.

It’s based on my grandmother’s recipe, but I’ve made a couple of minor adjustments in the last couple of years. Most cranberry sauce recipes you’ll find use water and sugar to sweeten the berries. My grandmother used apple juice in place of the water and sugar. What you end up with has a much more complex flavor, and is healthier, too.

Honey’s Cranberry Sauce

Yield: about 1 and 3/4 cup of sauce.
(If you figure 2 tablespoons per serving, this will give you about 14 servings. If you want or need more, double the amounts listed below.)

What you need:

  • 1 12oz can frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1 12oz package of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • The zest and juice from one orange (lemon might work too)
  • A hint of nutmeg

optional: About 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (used to adjust sweetness at end – if needed)

What you do:

Rinse the cranberries in a large bowl of cold water. They float, so any impurites will sink to the bottom. You should also inspect your berries at this point and discard any that are mushy

Add the apple-juice concentrate (no water, please) cranberries, cinnamon stick, orange zest and juice, and nutmeg to a medium sauce pan. You’ll want to use a pan large enough to prevent boil-over. (I like to have the initial mixture come to about 2/3 of the way up the side of the pan)

Slowly bring the apple juice to a boil. Keep an eye on it and let it continue to boil until the cranberries begin to burst. Then reduce the heat and simmer until all the berries have burst, and the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. BE CAREFUL the sauce has a tendency to splatter when you agitate it.

As the sauce reduces and thickens, you may find some berries that are still intact, just help them along by smushing them against the side of the pan with your spoon as you stir.

Once the sauce has reduced, (you’re looking for a texture like a loose jelly – it will thicken more as it cools.) pull a small amount out with a spoon and let it cool so you can taste it. You want the sauce to be a bit tart, but if it is too tart for your tastes, adjust the flavor with some of the sugar and simmer for a few more minutes.

Now let the sauce cool, remove the cinnamon stick, and serve. If you are making the sauce ahead of time, you can store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a few days.

I like to serve my cranberry sauce warm, like gravy, but you may serve it chilled it if you so desire.

Published by


Robert Belknap has been writing online sporadically since 2001. See the colophon for more details.

One thought on “Honey’s Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Something new I tried this year: immersion blending the sauce and then running through a fine mesh strainer removes the seeds and makes a smooth sauce perfect for drizzling or dipping, or I don’t know, turkey and stuffing meatballs, or something.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *