How to Cook Fresh Cranberries

Fresh Cranberries

Fresh Cranberries

Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants – five times as much a broccoli! They can help prevent urinary tract infections, boost your immune system, improve circulation, and their flavonoids can help lower bad cholesterol. And recipes don't get any easier than this. - Jenny Jones

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 1 1/2 cups

Fresh Cranberries


  • 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  1. Sort the berries and discard any that are soft or spoiled.
  2. Wash the berries.
  3. Place in a saucepan and stir in water and sugar.
  4. Bring to a boil & cook uncovered for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture is foamy and popping stops. It will thicken when cooled.
  5. Cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate.

Fresh Cranberries

58 Comments on "Fresh Cranberries"

  1. Jenny of the North

    I enjoyed this video. I’m making it to go with venison tenderloins.

  2. Mike

    Since I’m an older divorcee, that lives alone. There’s been a box of white cake in my pantry for a while. Any time I thought to make it I had no icing. I grew tired of forgetting to get icing, so I made the cake anyway. I was able to top it with this recipe and it was delicious. Using another item in my kitchen I was struggling to find use for. Unused fresh cranberries from Thanksgiving

    • Si

      Nice Mike! That was a great idea

    • Jenny of the North

      What a great idea. You made a white cake healthy, pretty and delicious.
      Well played!

  3. John Dotts

    Thank you for the easy, delicious recipe. I’m going to use my cooked cranberries, in a strawberry jello package. First time trying. With food prices, going so high. I will be making way more of my food. It seems to be easier and very healthy. Thanks again. Happy Holidays!

  4. Kellie Dunn

    I had some leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving, I looked up how I could make craisins, I found this recipe among others and decided to try it! Thank you for a quick and easy cranberry sauce!!!

  5. Barb

    Can you add crushed pineapple to the berries as they cook?

    • Reven

      Why not, .. consider the juices from the pineapple as some part of your total water liquid, .. you might also want to tweak the sugar amount according to your taste. goes well too , same thing as pineapple, ..and added orange zest. When cold I’ve added a little whole grain mustard to end up with a sort of cran orange mustard relish.. great with fresh ham, pork, duck, turkey..

  6. Jim L

    My first time with these berries so I got online and you were the first to bring a simple and taste recipe. Thank you!

  7. Tina Costello

    Thank you for the receipt to make cranberry’s! It’s my first time. Y would add some fresh orange juice as y was told by my daughter . Thank you again. Merry Christmas.

  8. Patsy

    I had to laugh when I saw the cranberry sauce from the can! That was my mother’s version! : ) I now make mine just like yours. It’s so easy to make fresh cranberries! I haven’t thought about the can sauce in years! Sometimes I add orange zest but either way I always use fresh berries! Ma did her best But some things I don’t want to remember! : )

  9. Janny

    OMY LORDY LORD!!!! I tried your recipe and it is ICONIC! PERIOD! Instead of water I used green bean juice from the can. SO YUMMY!!! You should try it! love from Janny! Hope you had a great break my love! <3

    YOUR MY IDOL! I LOVE YOU!!! <<<<<<3333333333333333

  10. Karen Zalewski

    So…I read the comments and took it my way and yes this is a first timer! I used grape 🍇 juice and brown sugar and mandarins. It was cool hearing them pop as they cooked. I did take more time cooking them. I brought it up to a boil and then I used it for the hot water part of a jello I am making for my residents at work. Cherry 🍒 jello first layer not sure what to do with the lime and the orange layers 🤔

  11. Charles

    I enjoyed reading about recipes and try a few different ones I’m 79 now I’m 80 here in about another 2 months I enjoy cooking yesterday I made a cherry pie and looks great I got a few more pines to make today it’s going to make a pumpkin and banana cream which I really love and I’m going to make a pecan pie too I like to cook always have a Happy Thanksgiving to everybody bye.

    • Gina

      Wishing You a Blessed and Wonderful Thanksgiving, I bet your Pie’s will be a delightful joy to all. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

  12. Gloria

    So delicous and simple. I will alway be using your receipe🥰 I love alot of your receipes.


    I can’t help myself. I cheat. Rather than use water, I toss in some white wine, and some fresh OJ. Dark brown sugar is better than white. And if I really want to overdo my add in stuff, I add just a touch of honey.
    Fresh zest lemon at the end brightens the flavor and helps lighten that too-tart zing.

    • kathleen v

      So busted, I had to add something to my post. I make this sauce in batches and freeze them so I have them more often. Every shop trip during the season I buy at least 4 bags. The fresh berries will freeze nicely too. Just sayin’

  14. Tammy

    Hi Jenny, You look so adorable with your hair in pigtails! I made this cranberry sauce today and added some orange zest and a hint of cinnamon. Delicious!

    BTW, Im having a heck of a time finding your Easy Glazed Walnuts recipe. Ive done a search on glazed, candied and walnuts and didnt find it. Where have you hidden it?

    • Jenny Can Cook

      Sorry, there is no recipe, just the video.

  15. Susan

    Best and easiest recipe. We’ve used this four years in a row. Delicious and easy! A beautiful and festive crowd pleaser.

  16. Wilma

    First time using fresh cranberries for the holidays, will be trying your simple recipe!!

    Wish me Luck??

  17. Donna Durazzo

    I’ve never cooked cranberries in my life but this is a simple recipe so I’m going to do it this year I have some fresh cranberries and here goes

  18. Pixie

    Would this fresh cranberry recipe transfer well into an apple cranberry pie?

  19. Kathleen

    I grew up in central WI where there were cranberry bogs all over the place. One reason that you want to sort out the cranberries, is because the whitetail deer like cranberries and frequent the bogs. Guess what deer do while eating? Yep. they poop. I’m not sure if this is true today, as I haven’t seen any recently, but the machines that sorted the cranberries from the ‘debris’ couldn’t tell the difference between the cranberries and the poop. (Hence, sorting the cranberries…)

    • STAN

      Yew! (I was going to leave it just at that.)

      I just bought some packaged cranberries from the produce department of a supermarket here in Belarus, and the berries were pretty uniform, with only a few stems. I imagine that would be the case back in the States.

      But earlier, a friend gave me a bucket of cranberries, and I don’t know where she got them. She said to be sure to wash them. Now I know why.

      Not very uniform in size or color, I was looking for stems and bad berries and sampling some to see how they varied in taste, not knowing about potential deer poop. But, thanks to Kathleen, no more uncooked cranberries for me!

  20. Zoe

    I use fresh cranberries and flavor the cranberries even more by using low calorie cranberry juice cocktail to cook the cranberries along with the sugar. I also put fresh, minced, peeled ginger (1 tablespoon) in them and 1/2 cup dried apricot halves cut into 1/4 inch strips and soaked in the cranberry juice cocktail for 10 minutes before cooking to soften. After they are cooked I add a little cinnamon. Delicious!

  21. Elliott

    Hi Jenny; I have been using a lot of your recipes. Many are like I have been doing for over sixty years since I was 13! Your Cranberry Sauce is the same as mine, except I use Orange Juice in place of Water!!! Takes it up a notch or two!!!

    • David Griggs

      Orange juice! Haha, we’re on the same page. I added a touch of Cointreau. ????

      • Libby A.

        When you added the cointreau, how much did you add and what did it taste like?

  22. Randi Bagley-Goodwin

    Great recipe! My first time doing anything with fresh cranberries and it was a smash! Will be making anytime I find fresh 9nes!

  23. Lynnae

    This is a wonderful a wonderful recipe! Thank you and God bless!!

  24. Sparkle

    Thank you glad I stopped by, it was a pleasant surprise to see you, used to watch your talk show all the time. Your recipe is very simple. Thank you.

  25. Mary

    Who knew it was so easy! I added a cinnamon stick when boiling, a few drops vanilla and a squeeze of a fresh picked sweet lemon. Yum

    • Lourdes

      Never thought of cinnamon, but combined with vanilla & lemon, I imagine it would be delicious! Going to try soon. Ty!

  26. John

    Thanks Jenny! As a single dad this was so easy to make and the kids loved it.

  27. Karen

    I add grated orange peel to this to give it that Cranberry Orange taste. So good! Jenny I make your wedding cookies for Christmas every year! Trust me they don’t last lol

    I used to watch your show and still love you.

    Thank you

  28. Jess

    Can this be recipe be done with other berries? Blackberries? How long is the storage time – refrigerated?

    • Jenny

      Other berries may not thicken like cranberries unless you add a thickener like pectin. And then you would essentially be making jam. The cranberries keep nicely for a week.

      • Jess

        Thanks Jenny

        • Lois B in So. California

          This is already close to whole berry cranberry sauce in the can, except the cranberries will taste more like fresh fruit. If you want the liquid part to thicken more, mix a little corn starch in a little water to make a thin paste, mix in a little of the liquid from the pan, then mix it into the berries and juice, stirring until it simmers a bit and thickens. Trial and error will tell you how much to use to get the result you want. Less is better than more at the start. If you cook it too long, however, the berries will lose their “fresh fruit” texture, and yes, that makes it jam. You might want to remove most of the juice to a separate small saucepan and thicken it separately from the berries.”

          I have done this with other berries as well, but they are much more likely to end up as jam. You will probably want much less sugar with any other berry other than cranberries. I usually cook only part of my berries to get the juices flowing, thicken the sauce, then add the rest of the berries, stir a little, and turn off the heat. The hot sauce usually cooks the berries just enough. Strawberries might need a little more simmering if they are firm, not gushy ripe.

          In this “fruit compote” (that’s what my grandmother called it in her recipe from almost 100 years ago) regardless of what kind of fruit I use, I add a very, very, tiny pinch of cinnamon, (that would be less than 1/32 of one teaspoon, if anyone had a measuring spoon that small). The cinnamon seems to intensify the flavor of the fruit without adding noticeable flavor of its own.

          Worst case scenario, if you thicken too much, and/or cook it too long, you will end up with jam. Use as topping for ice cream, milk shakes or smoothies, pancake, waffle, French toast topping, or throw it in a blender or food processor, adding a little water if needed, and turn it into syrup for pancakes.

          Or, turn the heat back on, add more corn starch mixture, cook a little more, and get really tasty thick jam for toast or really tasty peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

  29. Susanne Jones

    Can I use sweetener instead of granulated sugar? If so, how much should I use? Thanks.

    • Jenny

      I have only made this recipe with sugar so I can’t advise. It’s better if you look for a recipe that’s already proven using sweetener.

      • Cathy

        Yes you can use Splenda or any other sweetener, use it the same as you would sugar

  30. Alissa

    This is a Thanksgiving staple now; I tell everyone I know to watch this video for the healthiest, easiest cranberry side recipe that exists. Thank you once again.

  31. Sophia

    Jenny,Could I make the cranberries with frozen cranberries instead of fresh cranberries?

    • Jenny

      Yes, you can. My recipe should work but it’s best to check the cooking directions on the package.

    • Joseph Robbins

      Yes you can use frozen I just did it this morning and it turned out awesome. Same cook time as fresh.

  32. Gloria Cabeen

    Hi Jenny,

    I recently discovered Dole frozen cranberries at the grocery store. Tonight I made your fresh cranberries and they were delicious. I had some leftover turkey cutlets, so…I used the cranberries frozen, weighing out 12 oz. from a 16 oz. package. It took a little longer to come to a boil, but came out great. I’m happy to have a recipe for homemade cranberry sauce or relish without a lot of sugar, so thanks!

  33. Dorothy

    I make my cranberry sauce the same as your, but I take 1 part cranberry and 1part “no sugar” applesauce and mix together for those who aren’t crazy for cranberry sauce. Yummy!!


      Try adding some crushed pineapple to the left over cranberries,it is delicious.i use that on ham Just blend all together and spread over the ham, You dont need alot of pineapple as it goes a long way. Enjoy! Also love your site Jenny, keep up the great recipes,

  34. Lou

    Just made your recipe and it’s marvelous!

  35. Reeve

    I had just stumble your blog over net and this image looks awesome. I don’t get access to cranberries at my present location but your simple recipe pulls me out of the comfort zone to find cranberries. I guess a bit of lemon does add some great taste and is also good for health.

  36. Rhonda E.

    I’ve made this and it’s so delicious…

  37. Debbie M.

    I too never use canned cranberries. I tried your recipe as I make mine heavier on the sugar. Yours is more tart, but we like it better.

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