Cranberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment to any roast dinner. Whether it be a Christmas dinner or a Thanksgiving meal, or even just a special Sunday, this easy recipe for delicious homemade cranberry jam with dried cranberries is simple to make with easy to find ingredients so you can make it any time of the year and not just for Cranberry season.
What Makes This Recipe Great!
- A Few Simple Ingredients – With basic ingredients that are easy to find any time of the year, you can have a lovely addition to your roast or thanksgiving dinner that tastes better than shop-bought versions.
- Great for Storage – The great thing about is easy cranberry sauce recipe is that it stores well. You can keep it for at least a year.
- Give It As a Gift – Fresh homemade cranberry sauce that has been canned in a decorative mason jar, makes a great edible gift to give to your friends and family alone or as part of a Christmas hamper.
About This Recipe – In More Detail
Depending on the time of year, fresh cranberries aren’t always easy to come by. Meaning, if you want to make your own cranberry sauce, you have to batch cook and plan ahead, storing cranberry sauce for the year ahead.
An great way to avoid this is to use dried cranberries, like we have here. All we have to do is rehydrate the cranberries in boiling water first and then then heat them with a mixture of fresh orange juice and sugar, to offset the tartness of the cranberries. I flavour this homemade cranberry sauce with a hint of cinnamon spice and orange zest. You then have a delicious helping of Cranberry jam that’s made with simple ingredients, and can be incorporated into your holiday meal or Sunday roast with ease.
I especially love this cranberry relish when making leftover Turkey sandwiches on Boxing day after Christmas or to accompany our Turkey en Croute with a side of Cornflour Roast Potatoes. You can even go for a vegetarian option and serve it with this Nut Roast Recipe too!
- Medium Saucepan: You’ll need a Medium/Large saucepan to cook the cranberries and sugar mixture. Ensure it’s big enough to accommodate all the ingredients without overflowing.
- Heatproof Bowl: This is used for rehydrating the dried cranberries. It should be heatproof to withstand the boiling water.
- Clingfilm: Use clingfilm to cover the heatproof bowl while rehydrating the cranberries. This traps the steam and helps plump up the cranberries.
- Jam Thermometer: A jam thermometer is useful to check the temperature of the cranberry mixture. It ensures the jam sets properly. If you don’t have one, you can visually check for setting, but a thermometer provides precision.
- Serving Dish: If you plan to serve the cranberry jam straight away, you’ll need a decorative serving dish or a small bowl.
- Sterilised Jars: You’ll need clean, sterilised jars for storing the cranberry sauce. Sterilising jars ensures the sauce remains safe for consumption over time.
- Food Processor/Hand Blender: If you prefer a smooth sauce you can use a food processor to blend it once it has cooled a little.
- Dried Cranberries: The main ingredient, these dried berries provide the fruity and slightly tart base for the cranberry sauce.
- Golden Caster Sugar: Used to sweeten the cranberries and create the syrup-like consistency of the sauce. You can use white sugar or brown sugar for a deeper flavour if you’d prefer.
- Cinnamon Stick: Cinnamon sticks add a warm, fragrant, and slightly spicy flavour to the cranberry sauce.
- Large Orange (Zest and Juice): The zest and juice of the orange contribute citrusy notes, aroma, and a fresh, bright flavour to the sauce.
To Make Cranberry Jam From Fresh Cranberries
If you are making this cranberry during the fall season or festive season for a holiday meal, fresh cranberries can be a lot easier to find in the supermarket or grocery store. You can therefore, use fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe if you wish.
All you need to do is use more cranberries! Up the amount of fresh cranberries to 300g and omit the soaking time in boiling water and don’t add in the extra cup of boiling water as the cranberries will be juicy enough. Follow these steps and you’re good to go!
You can use fresh cranberries straight from frozen too, there’s no need to defrost first.
Step-By-Step Guide – How To Make Cranberry Sauce With Dried Cranberries
Step 1: Rehydrate Cranberries
- Begin by rehydrating the cranberries. Place them into a heatproof bowl.
- Cover the cranberries with boiling water, then cover the bowl with clingfilm to trap the steam.
- Leave them to stand for about 30 minutes. This will plump up the cranberries and make them ready to use.
Step 2: Drain Cranberries
- After 30 minutes, scoop away any floating or loose seeds and discard. Drain the cranberries and set them aside.
Step 3: Preparing Sugar and Orange Juice
- In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and fresh orange juice.
- Heat it gently until the added sugar starts to dissolve.
Step 4: Adding Cranberries, Cinnamon Stick, and Orange Zest
- Add the rehydrated cranberries, the cinnamon stick, and the orange zest to the saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Add a cup of boiling water.
Step 5: Simmering
- Once the mixture is bubbling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
- Stir occasionally to prevent the jam from sticking.
Step 6: Checking Doneness
- To ensure the jam sets properly once cooled, you can check for doneness using a jam thermometer.
- The mixture should reach a temperature of 105°C (220°F).
Step 7: Removing Cinnamon Stick and Cooling
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and take out the cinnamon stick.
- Place the cranberry sauce into a food processor or use a hand blender to blend the sauce until it reaches your preferred consistency.
- Serve once the sauce cools completely.
Step 8: Storing
- To store the cranberry sauce, place it into sterilized jars.
These organized steps should make preparing cranberry sauce a straightforward and enjoyable process. Enjoy your homemade cranberry sauce!
Yes, you can use powdered cinnamon, but adjust the amount to taste. A cinnamon stick provides a milder and more subtle flavour.
While lemon zest can be used, it will impart a different citrus flavour to the sauce. Orange zest provides a brighter and more complimentary taste.
You can adjust the sweetness by adding less sugar at the beginning or by using alternative sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup, to taste.
Pro Tips and Guidance
- Zest First: Zest the orange before juicing it. This ensures you capture all the fragrant citrus oils from the skin.
- Watch the Sugar: It’s important to keep a close eye on your jam and not to rush it, you don’t want the ingredients on the bottom to stick and burn, otherwise it will ruin your whole batch. I recommend using a silicone spatula to stir it as this will help to scrape the bottom of the pan fully and mix the jam up before things begin to stick.
- Doneness Test: Be aware that cranberry sauce like other fruit jams, will thicken as it cools. You want to avoid overcooking it as you will end up with a jam that is too thick and rubbery in texture. If you want to be really precise, I recommend using a jam thermometer and allowing the mixture to reach 105°C (220°F), you can be sure it will set if this temperature is achieved. If you prefer a more runny consistency, aim for a slightly lower temperature upon completion.
- Cool Before Serving: Allowing the sauce to cool completely before serving gives it time to thicken and intensify its flavours.
Storage: Store the cranberry sauce in sealed and sterilised jars for up to a year. Alternatively, you can store leftover cranberry sauce in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks to maintain freshness.
Freezing: Cranberry sauce can be frozen for longer storage. Transfer it to an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag, leaving some room for expansion. Label with the date, and it can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Defrosting: For thawing, move the cranberry sauce from the freezer to the fridge. Allow it to defrost slowly overnight or for at least 8 hours. Once thawed, consume within 2 weeks for the best flavour and texture.
Note: Dried cranberry sauce can be safely frozen, but it may change in texture slightly upon thawing. Stir well to regain its original consistency.
Check Out These Roast Dinner Recipes
A delicious and impressive centrepiece for the festive season. A puff pastry parcel filled with Turkey, streaky bacon and stuffing.
In this step by step guide we walk you through making the crispiest roast potatoes with a soft, fluffy inside.
A vegetarian alternative to serve for a roast dinner, which goes perfectly with cranberry sauce.
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce With Dried Cranberries
- 225 g Dried Cranberries
- 115 g Golden Caster Sugar
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1 Large Orange, Zest and Juice
- 1 Cup Boiling Water
- Begin by rehydrating the cranberries. Place them into a heatproof bowl and cover them with boiling water.
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm to trap the steam and leave it to stand for about 30 minutes. This will plump up the cranberries and make them ready to use.
- Scoop out any loose and floating seeds and discard them, then drain the cranberries and set them aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and fresh orange juice. Heat it gently until the sugar starts to dissolve. Add in the cup of boiling water.
- Add the rehydrated cranberries, the cinnamon stick, and the orange zest to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once the mixture is bubbling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the jam from sticking.
- To ensure the jam sets properly once cooled, you can check for doneness using a jam thermometer. The mixture should reach a temperature of 105°C (220°F).
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and take out the cinnamon stick.
- Allow the cranberry sauce to cool completely before serving.
- To store, place the cranberry sauce into sterilised jars.
- Zest First: Capture the full citrus aroma by zesting the orange before juicing.
- Watch the Sugar: Avoid burning by stirring frequently; use a silicone spatula to scrape the pan.
- Doneness Test: To achieve the right texture, cool slightly; for precision, use a jam thermometer.
- Cool Before Serving: Letting the sauce cool enhances flavours and thickens it perfectly.