Homemade cranberry sauce with turkey and mashed potatoes

Cranberry Sauce

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Turkey. Sometimes it needs a little help sliding down. I’m convinced that unbrined birds necessitated the invention of cranberry sauce. Growing up, I never much fancied the stuff, then again, we ate the canned variation which was… well, it was something.

This particular cranberry sauce is sans refined sugar, yet so laden with flavor you might even convert someone to the sauce.

“I don’t even like cranberry sauce, but this is amazing!” -Actual Person

Well, one can hope.

Homemade cranberry sauce with lemon and cranberries



  • fresh cranberries
  • maple syrup
  • orange zest 
  • lemon juice
  • cinnamon 
  • ground ginger
  • lemon zest


Measure out your cranberries and water, cover, and set on medium low heat. Let simmer for 5-10-minutes or until soft.

Top Tip: Check them by scooping one out with a spoon, setting on a plate or bowl until cool, then SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER! Kidding! Squish it with your fingers! Does it squish? Awesome. It’s done.

Squish them with a potato masher, OR, blitz them in a food processor for a few seconds.

While you wait for your cranberries to soften, you can zest your lemon and orange (if you’re using a fresh one). And always find any cuts or nicks on your hand when you squeeze your lemons.

Top Tip: as long as it isn’t 15-years-old, you can use dried orange zest in this. Just remember that spices, like everything [save canned peas], have expiration dates. Don’t nurse your spices along. Use them within a year and move on.

When your cranberries are soft and smashed into submission, it’s time to add in the rest of your ingredients. Give that a quick stir and then reduce heat to low and stir occasionally. Keep on low for an additional 2-minutes. This will let those flavors start to saturate your cranberry sauce.

Transfer to your official cranberry sauce serving bowl... and, you’re done.



Will this freeze?

It does, actually.

Can I make it sweeter?

Absolutely. Honey adds a complex flavor to it that SLIGHTLY takes away from the pure cranberry zing, so I’d double down on the maple syrup.


Moist Holiday Turkey


Green Chile Mashed Potatoes

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Homemade cranberry sauce with lemon and cranberries

Cranberry Sauce

  • Author: Benjamen
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 2.5 cups of pure goodness 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Simple. Flavorful. Fast. This is where you make your turkey shine.


  • 3 C (720 ml) fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 C (120 ml) water
  • 1/4 C (60 ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) dried orange zest or 1 TBS (15 ml) fresh 
  • juice of a lemon [that’s 1 oz for you type-A chefs]
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) lemon zest


  1. Measure out your cranberries and water. Set those in a saucepan, cover, and place on medium low heat. 
  2. Cook until soft (this’ll take about 5-10-minutes).
  3. When soft, blitz once or twice in a food processor, or smash them with a potato masher. 
  4. [if using food processor] Return mashed cranberries to saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Place back on heat, this time LOW heat.
  5. Stir occasionally. Cook for an additional 5-minutes. 
  6. Remove from heat. Transfer to official cranberry sauce serving dish.


  • Prep Time: 3
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cranberry sauce, turkey, cranberry dressing, thanksgiving, Christmas, ginger

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