The holidays are a hectic time of year, and sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend hours in the kitchen. If you have a can of cranberry sauce in your pantry and you don't know what to do then, never fear. This elevated canned cranberry sauce is here to save the day!
This post contains helpful tips and tricks! If you're in a rush, please use the "Jump to Recipe" below!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
If you need more convincing to give this canned cranberry sauce recipe a shot, consider the following:
- It's easy to make. This canned cranberry sauce recipe is quick and easy, which means you'll actually want to make it and eat it all over again.
- It was cheap. Homemade goods are frequently more pricey. Unlike this recipe! Canned cranberry sauce is one of the cheapest grocery store goods, so this recipe is inexpensive. Plus! It only requires five ingredients.
- It's versatile. Cranberry sauce isn't just for Thanksgiving anymore! This recipe can be used in all sorts of dishes, from savory pork chops to sweet desserts. You just have to be creative and see what you can come up with!
📋 Ingredients and notes
With just a few simple ingredients, you can turn that can of cranberry sauce into a delicious holiday side dish. To make this recipe, you'll need canned cranberry sauce (whole or jellied), sugar, orange juice, water, and orange zest.
Notes and Variations
- Canned Cranberry Sauce. You can use either either whole or jellied canned cranberry sauce. However, you shouldn't worry because there aren't many differences between the flavor and texture of these two varieties! You can also check out my homemade cranberry sauce recipe or cranberry sauce made with dried cranberries if you want something different!
- Adjusting the Sweetness. You can use white sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup to sweeten your canned cranberry sauce. Simply adjust it to your taste.
- Adding tartness to the recipe. You can add lemon juice to your canned cranberry sauce recipe to give it a tangier flavor. Just adjust the taste according to your preference.
📖 How to Make Best Canned Cranberry Sauce
If you're using canned whole cranberry sauce: pour it into a small pot and bring it to a low boil. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer. If using a jelled sauce, cut it up into large cubes or chunks and stir them with a wooden spoon to break down chunks.
Then, add to a small pot and bring it to a low boil, and then lower the heat and let it simmer. Add the orange juice and orange zest, and sugar to the saucepan.
Simmer for 4-5 more minutes until it reaches the desired consistency. Serve this elevated canned cranberry sauce chilled!
👩🏽🍳Top Tips for Elevating Canned Cranberry Sauce!
Whether you're short on time or just don't feel like dealing with the mess of making your own cranberry sauce from scratch, we've got you covered. Check out our following tips below.
- Look for brands that use real sugar. Many commercial cranberry sauces are loaded with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. Not only do these ingredients impact the flavor of the sauce, but they also affect its texture. Real sugar will give you a sauce that's thick and glossy, while HFCS will result in a thinner, more watery sauce.
- Avoid brands that add citrus fruits. You don't want your cranberry sauce to taste like oranges or lemons. The natural tartness of cranberries is part of what makes them so great.
- Make sure there aren't any chunks floating around in the can. You don't want to open up your can of cranberry sauce only to find that it's full of mysterious lumps and bumps. A quick shake should take care of rogue chunks!
- Don't be afraid to mix it up. Canned cranberry sauce is extremely versatile so don't be afraid to experiment with different flavors. Try adding a little orange zest, fresh ginger, or a splash of bourbon. The possibilities are endless!
It really depends on personal preference. Some people prefer the taste of cold cranberry sauce, while others find that it tastes better when it's warmed up. There are also those who don't really have a preference either way. Ultimately, it comes down to what you like best.
Canned cranberry sauce only has a shelf life of about 18 months. After that, the sauce can start to lose its flavor and become watery.
You don't have to worry about making the sauce thicker because it is already thick. The ingredients will help it thicken as it simmers on the stove.
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
This flavorful cranberry sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to five days, or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Also, if you have leftovers that you want to save for later, transfer them into a sizable zip-top bag and store them in the freezer for up to six months.
When serving this canned cranberry sauce, it will be entirely up to you whether you want to it cold or warm. If you want to serve this warm, you can reheat it for a minute on the stove or in a microwave.
Making this sauce prior to serving and storing it in the fridge for a few hours or even a day or two will allow it to be served cool. Just put it on the dining table after giving it a quick stir!
If you like this recipe, check out my other holiday recipes:
Elevate Canned Cranberry Sauce!
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup water
- 2 teaspoons orange zest, optional
- 14.5 oz canned cranberry sauce, whole or jellied
- If using canned whole cranberry sauce: pour it into a small pot and bring it to a low boil. Once it starts to boil, lower heat and let it simmer. If using jelled sauce: Cut it up into large cubes or chunks and stir them with a wooden spoon to break down chunks. Then, add to a small pot and bring it to a low boil, and then lower heat and let it simmer.
- Add ¾ cup of orange juice and 2 teaspoons of orange zest, and 1 cup of sugar to the sauce pan.
- Simmer for 4-5 more minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Look for brands that use real sugar. Many commercial cranberry sauces are loaded with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, which affect texture.
- Avoid brands that add citrus fruits. Since you're adding orange juice, you don't want to overwhelm the taste of the cranberries.
- Make sure there aren't any chunks floating around in the can. A quick shake should take care of rogue chunks!
- Don't be afraid to mix it up. Canned cranberry sauce is extremely versatile so don't be afraid to experiment with different flavors. Try adding a little orange zest, fresh ginger, or a splash of bourbon. The possibilities are endless