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Roast Dinner/ Simple Sauces/ Spice

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

December 5, 2018 (Last Updated: December 10, 2019) by Chris Collins

It’s time to make your homemade cranberry sauce the centrepiece of your roast dinner! Adding just a few spices will really take your cranberry sauce to the next level.

overhead shot of cranberry sauce with orange juice in a white bowl

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

The first thing you’ve gotta make sure when serving up cranberry sauce is that it’s homemade. It’s SO easy to make cranberry sauce and the difference between homemade and store bought is crazy.

To make a really basic cranberry sauce, you only need 3 ingredients:

  • Cranberries
  • Sugar
  • Juice

And that’s it! Of course it’s best to add a few more goodies, which we’ll talk about in a sec, but for a basic cranberry it’s just that trio of ingredients. Plus, it’s a super easy process that takes 10mins

How to make Cranberry Sauce (quick summary)

  1. Add all ingredients into a suitably sized saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir to combine.
  3. Reduce to a simmer until cranberries pop and the sauce thickens.
  4. Grab a spoon and tuck in!

How to make spiced cranberry sauce - step by step photos

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

There’s quite a few spices that work nicely with cranberry sauce, but here’s my spices of choice:

  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cayenne Pepper

Cinnamon works so perfectly with the sweetness of the sauce, nutmeg adds a nice bit of festivity and cayenne pepper injects a good bit of heat. Other spices that work great with cranberry sauce are cloves, allspice and ginger.

How do I thicken cranberry sauce?

Cranberries have a lot of natural pectin, so when they burst and mould with the sugar, the sauce will naturally thicken. No need whatsoever for cornflour, gelatin or things like that. 

Can I use frozen cranberries?

Yup, it may just take a little while longer for them to burst and form a sauce.

What juice to use in cranberry sauce?

The classic option is orange juice. I tend to use a 50/50 ratio of orange juice and either water or another juice such as pomegranate or cranberry. I find that using full orange juice turns it too ‘orangey’. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just not to my taste buds. Each to their own! 

overhead shot of crdnberry sauce with ingredients blurred in backgroung

How long does cranberry sauce keep?

As always I’m not the best person to ask this question, because for me it’s good until it grows legs and stalking walking out the fridge. But it’ll definitely keep for a week if covered and left in the fridge.

What to serve cranberry sauce with?

What to do with leftover cranberry sauce?

Brie, Bacon and Cranberry Grilled Cheese anyone?

And breathe.. We made it. That’s all the extra top tips from me, now it’s all down to you! Let’s tuck into the full spiced cranberry sauce recipe shall we?!

Cranberry Bacon Brie Grilled Cheese stacked on top of each other on wooden block

How to make Spiced Cranberry Sauce (Full Recipe & Video)

Homemade Spiced Cranberry Sauce with orange and lime

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

It's time to make your homemade cranberry sauce the centrepiece of your roast dinner. Adding just a few spices will really take your cranberry sauce to the next level!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings (click & slide): 1 heaped cup
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Christmas / Roast Dinner / Thanksgiving
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Calories per serving: 80kcal
Cost per serving: 50p / 50c


  • 1 Medium/Large Pot
  • Wooden Spoon

Ingredients (check list):

  • 12oz / 350g Fresh Cranberries (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup / 100g Brown Sugar (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml Water or more juice (see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper, or to taste (see notes)
  • squeeze of Lime Juice
  • Salt, to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer over medium heat until the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens. Taste for seasoning/sweetness/spice and adjust accordingly.

Quick 1 min demo!


a) Can I use frozen cranberries? - You absolutely can, it may just take a few more minutes for them to pop and form a sauce.
b) How sweet should a cranberry sauce be? - It's completely down to preference. Using 1/2 a cup in the recipe will actually give you quite a tart cranberry sauce, which I prefer. But feel free to adjust to your sweet tooth as necessary.
c) What juice can I use? - I find using all orange juice results in it being a little overpowering, so I tend to use half orange juice and half either water, cranberry juice or pomegranate juice.
d) How spicy will this be? - I love spice, and especially in cranberry sauce. So I actually add a little more than 1/4 tsp. 1/4 tsp will give a good amount of heat, which actually will reduce as the sauce cools down. But if you are at all hesitant please only start with a pinch and work your way up. It's MUCH easier to increase the spice than take it out.
e) How long will this keep? - First of all, definitely make this ahead of time. No need to take up space when trying to juggle the rest of your roast dinner festivities. I'm quite liberal when it comes to leaving this in the fridge, so unless it grows legs and walks out the fridge, I'm gonna eat it. But it will definitely keep for a week if covered up.
f) Calories - Based on a division of 8 people and using 1/2 orange juice and 1/2 water.

Your Private Notes:


Nutrition Facts
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 80 Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.11g0%
Saturated Fat 0.029g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.034g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.016g
Sodium 5mg0%
Potassium 84mg2%
Carbohydrates 20.67g7%
Fiber 2.1g8%
Sugar 16.36g18%
Protein 0.31g1%
Vitamin A 150IU3%
Vitamin C 12.4mg15%
Calcium 20mg2%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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Recipe Rating


  • Reply
    November 24, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    5 stars
    Amazing! Make it every holiday minus the cayenne which I know is the point here but all the other ingredients work and it’s soooo good!!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 24, 2021 at 2:49 pm

      Great to hear it goes down well, Liz! Thanks so much for the review 🙂

  • Reply
    November 28, 2019 at 11:55 am

    5 stars
    Wow this cranberry sauce is so good. I added a pinch of cloves

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 28, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      Oooo I can imagine cloves went down lovely!

  • Reply
    December 7, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    5 stars
    Great recipe and love that this is easy and simple to make! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2018 at 11:25 am

      Thank you, you’re very welcome 🙂

  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    5 stars
    I used to think I didn’t like cranberry sauce, because all I had were those store-bought varieties that aren’t very good and look very unappetizing. However, you are so right, it is totally easy to make your own cranberry sauce and I love how you have added a spicy kick to yours.

    • Reply
      December 10, 2018 at 11:25 am

      It’s so so good with a spicy kick! Really takes it to the next level 🙂

  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Yes, I love a simple recipe, and I’ve been looking for a cranberry sauce one!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2018 at 11:22 am

      It’s yours for the taking 🙂

  • Reply
    Jacqueline Meldrum
    December 6, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    5 stars
    Just what I was needing a nice simple recipe and it looks lovely and thick.

    • Reply
      December 10, 2018 at 11:22 am

      So simple! Always a winner! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    5 stars
    What a beautiful sauce and thanks for the extra tips!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Thank you, you’re so welcome! 🙂