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Ina Garten’s Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apples, cranberries, cranberry sauce, gluten free, low fat, low sodium, make ahead, Thanksgiving
Servings: 16


  • microplane zester


  • 12- ounce bag fresh cranberries rinsed and picked through, discarding any that are bruised, shriveled or soft
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored and chopped
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon


  • Add cranberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 - 10 minutes, or until the skins pop open.
  • Add apple, zests, and juices and cook for 15 - 20 more minutes until thickened and apples are soft.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool completely. It will continue to thicken as it cools from the pectin in the apple.
  • Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve.


This will make about 4 cups of cranberry sauce. Plan on 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce per person. If your family and guests are cranberry sauce enthusiasts and want leftovers you may want to double the recipe!
May be made ahead up to 1 week in advance.
May substitute frozen cranberries for fresh, no need to thaw. 
Enjoy leftover cranberry sauce in Brie with Puff Pastry for easy holiday entertaining.