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 – Hungry now?  Jump to Recipe 

A roast dinner ain’t complete without a cranberry sauce – and that’s a fact. Having said that, I do feel as though sometimes it seeps into the background a little. Like, there’s so many powerful dishes at the table, little old cranberry sauce barely gets a look in. It’s kinda just there because it has to be. Well, today I took one step to change that.

Spicy Cranberry Sauce with orange juice

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 premade 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.

How to make Cranberry Sauce

  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

Easy right?

Okay, let’s talk spice. 

What spices to add to 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 is cloves 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. 

Spicy Cranberry Sauce with orange juice

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! 

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 do with leftover cranberry sauce?

Brie, Bacon and Cranberry Grilled Cheese anyone?

Cranberry Bacon Brie Grilled Cheese

And there we have it folks, a simple spiced cranberry sauce recipe ready for the taking!

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

5 from 4 votes
Homemade Spiced Cranberry Sauce with orange and lime
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins

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

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Christmas, Roast Dinner, Thanksgiving
Keyword: Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Servings: 1 heaped cup
Calories: 80 kcal
Author: Chris
  • 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
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

  2. Simmer over medium heat until the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens. Taste for seasoning/sweetness/spice and adjust accordingly.

Watch how to make it!

Recipe Notes

Tips for the perfect Spiced Cranberry Sauce


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.

Nutrition Facts
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 80 Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.11g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.029g 0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.034g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.016g
Sodium 5mg 0%
Potassium 84mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 20.67g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2.1g 8%
Sugars 16.36g
Protein 0.31g 1%
Vitamin A 3%
Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 2%
Iron 1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 For another classic roast dinner sauce, check out my homemade Bread Sauce!

Bread Sauce Recipe in a jug with butter

If you loved this Spiced Cranberry Sauce Recipe then be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a burning question? Give me a shout in the comments and pick up your free ecookbook along the way!

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 #cranberrysauce #spicedcranberrysauce #roastdinner #sauce #cranberries | www.dontgobaconmyheart.co.uk


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  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    What a beautiful sauce and thanks for the extra tips!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Thank you, you’re so welcome! 🙂

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

    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 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
    December 6, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    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 7, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    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 🙂

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