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Quick cranberry sauce recipe

cranberries and clementinesTwo years ago I made cranberry sauce to die for. It kept for months in the fridge and was wolfed down with everything from goat’s cheese toasties to roast chicken. I particularly loved it with brie in sandwiches. In fact we both agreed that it really comes into its own after Christmas, when it is not jockeying for position with so many other treats. Although I would feel bereft if it didn’t make an appearance on Christmas Day.

Cranberry sauce is dead easy to make and it’s quick too. Once you’ve tasted homemade you’ll probably never want to buy a jar again. I spotted a two for one offer on cranberries at the supermarket and pounced on them. It took me half an hour to make this sauce. It is not nearly as sweet as commercially produced sauce and is perfect with turkey, goose, game and cheese.

Update – 23rd December 2007. Today I made a new cranberry sauce recipe you can find it here.

Quick cranberry sauce recipe


  • 300g of fresh cranberries
  • 4 clementines (juice and zest)
  • 120g white granulated sugar
  • 25-50ml of Port (to taste)


  1. Wash the cranberries and discard any iffy fruit.
  2. Put the cranberries in a saucepan.
  3. Wash the clementines and remove the zest (just a little off each fruit to give you about half a teaspoonful from them all). Squeeze the juice and add the zest, pulp and juice to the cranberries.
  4. Add the sugar and stir well.
  5. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste the sauce at this stage, if you find the sauce is to tart for your taste, add a little more sugar.
  6. Pop on the lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the cranberries are soft and splitting. Some of them will cook more quickly than others. Stir the sauce gently every five minutes or so. When the sauce if ready, remove from the heat and stir in the port.
  7. Pot in warm sterilised jars with plastic lined screw top lids. Store in the fridge. How do I sterilise jars? See tricks and tips below.

Tricks and tips:

How do I sterilise jars?

Just before making the sauce, quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c (140c fan-assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature turn off the heat and open the door. The bottles will stay hot for quite a while, so use oven gloves when removing them from the oven. Sterilise the lids by boiling these for a few minutes in water.

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  1. Colin Gilham

    I’ve been using this fantastic recipe at Christmas for over 10 years. It never fails to impress and my various family members always ask if I’m making it.

    Two tweaks I made early on – adding spice to make it extra Christmassy (both when it’s eaten and when it’s made!) and I take out some of the cranberries before the end so there is a mix of textures.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Colin, I’d love to find out what extra spice that you add to the recipe! Love the idea of taking out some cranberries and adding them at the end for extra texture!

  2. Diane Hoggan

    Just made this cranberry sauce, tastes gorgeous made as it stated exectly.

  3. Hi is it OK to make this without the port? my daughter is only 10 and Ideally I don’t wish wish to give her food laced with alcohol 😀 although I could give her the shop bought and have this all to myself ;), also pleased to hear I can use dried cranberries as my shop does not stock fresh x

  4. Tried this last week for thanksgiving, and it was delicious. Poured some boiling water on the dried cranberries as suggested, which worked well. Some other notes:
    I couldn’t get clementines, but mandarins seemed to work;
    I only used half the sugar (60g) and it was still easily sweet enough;
    I used 45ml of port, which was probably a little too much. For Christmas I will try 30ml.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Rupert

      This is good to know if I can’t get hold of fresh cranberries when I want them!

  5. We tried this with dried cranberries last week for Thanksgiving. Soaking the dried cranberries in boiling water for a few minutes seemed to work really well.
    Some other notes:
    I had to use mandarins instead of clementines;
    We only used half the sugar (60g) and there was plenty of sweetness;
    I put in 3 tablespoons (45ml) of port, which I think was a bit too much. Next time I will probably only use 2.

  6. Thanks so much for your straightforward but delicious recipe! I first made this a few years back, when all the supermarkets had run out of the stuff in the jar but could let me have fresh cranberries. Very relieved to find this recipe – and when we tasted it – OMG, unbelievably good. Am no longer able to even consider any other cranberry sauce, it’s now a firm family favourite, we all look forward to it every Christmas!

  7. I am just making this sauce and it does smell good! I am trying it with a stick of cinnamon in it as well as i think this is a key smell/taste of Christmas

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Joy

    I love the sauce too. Particularly good with Stilton!

  9. I made this and it was just perfect. Many thanks.

  10. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Denise

    It doesn’t keep for more than a few weeks in the fridge. So best to freeze the cranberries and make the sauce nearer to Christmas.

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