Homemade Spiced Cranberry Sauce

5 from 4 votes

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Traditional cranberry sauce gets a spicy makeover to keep Thanksgiving interesting! Infused with cinnamon and cloves, this spiced cranberry sauce will add a little flair to your holiday spread.

aerial photo of spiced cranberry sauce in a bowl with cinnamon sticks

I am in complete disbelief that Thanksgiving day is so soon. Complete and utter shock. I swear, the older the kids get, the quicker time goes– weren’t we just vacuuming Christmas tree needles off of the carpet every hour?

Christmas will be here before we know it (yay for 12 Days of Christmas Cookies!), but today, we’re focusing on Thanksgiving, because it is by far the best holiday there is.

Yes, of course, there are some notsogreat feelings around Thanksgiving in recent times, but let’s focus on all of the great food the day has to offer and being so full of merriment.

spiced cranberry sauce in a bowl with cinnamon sticks

Giving thanks for things we have? Heck yeah! Sign me up for celebrating that! Especially if it comes with a side of pumpkin pie and whole berry cranberry sauce (and a can of it!!) and mashed potatoes.

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Oh, and bread stuffing. Holla at your girl.

So before we get to the recipe, are you a cranberry sauce purist or no? Personally, I do not discriminate against any cranberry sauce.

In fact, despite the fact that I will always have homemade cranberry sauce and homemade spiced cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving spread at our house, I will also always have the canned stuff, because I feel like it’s sacrilegious not to (yeah, we like cranberry sauce).

Load my plate up with a little bit of turkey, a ton of garlic mashed potatoes, a hefty serving of traditional bread stuffing, a slice of cornbread as well as a dinner roll, some veggies, a nice big spoonful of homemade cranberry sauce, and definitely an even bigger spoonful of the canned stuff.

spiced cranberry sauce in a bowl with cinnamon sticks

I just can’t resist! I have to have some bites of that canned tart cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving, and then I’m good. My holiday is complete and we can start the Christmas music.

I started making this homemade cranberry sauce when I first made my winter sangria many years ago.


The ingredient list for my spiced cranberry sauce is super simple. You’ll need fresh cranberries, white sugar, water (hardly an ingredient), ground cinnamon, and cloves.

That’s it. So simple. We won’t overcomplicate this recipe with vanilla extract, or fresh orange juice, lemon juice, honey, or apple cider.

While those are all great additions to homemade cranberry sauce, we’re keeping this recipe super easy with basic festive flavors to add to your holiday table.


Of course, I’ve seen orange cranberry sauce over and over, but I like to spice things up (literally) with the byproduct of that mulled cranberry simple syrup.

That byproduct is, essentially, cranberry sauce/chutney, so I’ve just been whipping that cranberry base up for years x 2, making a batch of that sangria, and then having extra of this spicy cranberry chutney that I always serve with and extra cinnamon stick or two.

This fresh cranberry sauce recipe is really and truly very simple. It’s actually adapted from the sweet cranberry sauce recipe on the bag from Ocean Spray. I just add my own spices, which are cinnamon and cloves.


You can also make this cranberry sauce with spices like ginger or nutmeg. Whatever you want to take your cranberry sauce to the next level, I welcome it. Seriously– all about that spicy cranberry sauce business at the Thanksgiving table!

cranberries, sugar, and spices in a saucepan for spiced cranberry sauce

A quick boil and then 10-15 minute simmer will give you this fabulously flavored side dish that you’re sure to want to adopt as a staple at your Thanksgiving meal.

What I really love most about this cranberry sauce without orange flavoring is that it can be made WAY ahead of time. In fact, I typically whip this up a few weeks ahead of time (or as soon as I can find raw cranberries in the grocery store!) so it’s done.


Yes, this cranberry sauce goes from start to finish fast, but that’s ONE LESS THING we have to do the day before or even day of Thanksgiving. We’ll just take it out of the freezer the night before Thanksgiving and it should be good and ready by the time we’re sitting down in the later afternoon.

aerial photo of spiced cranberry sauce in a bowl with cinnamon sticks

And if not? Nuke it in the microwave. Because that won’t harm it one bit.

Plus, with all those warm fall spices, you can turn this into Christmas cranberry sauce, too! It doubles for both holidays, and that’s totally cool in my book (as in, make a double batch for Thanksgiving and freeze half of it for Christmas). The more spiced cranberry chutney I can have in my life, the better.

There’s also the option of letting it sit in the fridge for up to a week in advance. Like… You just can’t ask for easier than that (it’s the easiest, aside from the canned stuff).

spiced cranberry sauce on a plate with thanksgiving sides

I truly hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving (especially Thanksgiving dinner or lunch or snack or whatever), and please, enjoy the time you get to spend with your loved ones this holiday season. I hope this easy cranberry sauce will help simplify the day for you and add some pizzaz to your traditional spread.

Find more fresh whole cranberry recipes here– cranberry gingerbread and winter sangria!

And don’t forget to make some turkey and cheese sliders with your leftover turkey!

turkey slider on a plate with a bite taken out of it
aerial photo of spiced cranberry sauce in a bowl with cinnamon sticks
5 from 4 votes
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Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Traditional cranberry sauce gets a spicy makeover to keep Thanksgiving interesting! Infused with cinnamon and cloves, this spiced cranberry sauce will add a little flair to your holiday spread.
Prep Time2 minutes
Bake Time15 minutes
Total Time17 minutes
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 10 servings


  • 12 oz (340g) package of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240mL) water
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves


  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberries, sugar, water, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Bring mixture to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently and being careful not to let mixture boil over sides of saucepan. After simmering, cranberries will be macerated (if some are still whole, that’s fine) and mixture will have thickened. Allow to cool, then refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, up to 2 weeks.
  • Make ahead: this cranberry sauce can be made up to 1 week in advance. Store in the refrigerator, covered tightly, until ready to use. It also freezes well, up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 22IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.1mg
5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing. We love having this alongside our canned jellied sauce. It’s such a unique flavor profile and we will definitely be using it again and again! Thank you!