Homemade Jellied Cranberry Sauce Recipe


Well, hello there, old friend. This is Homemade Jellied Cranberry Sauce, and I don’t care that Thanksgiving was last week — you need to make it. So get out that extra bag of cranberries and get cooking. It’s super good.

When I was a child, my grandmother would make cranberry sauce from scratch, starting with the familiar bag of cranberries and ending with a chunky, slightly sour, deep red sauce. Did I love it? Crave it? Pine for it? Um. No. I hated it. I dreaded it even. All I really wanted was that thick, jellied cranberry sauce in a can that made a distinct plock noise as it loosened and landed on a plate. And that jellied sauce? It needed to be sliced. Always sliced.

Then I grew up and made about 10,000 versions of whole bean cranberry sauce. Okay, maybe not 10,000 … but a lot. Still, even after experimenting and developing a whole berry cranberry sauce that I like, I pined a little for the canned jellied version. But I resisted … It just wouldn’t fit onto my homemade Thanksgiving table.

But then my baby brother came clean about preferring the jellied version too and I decided to figure out if there was a way to make it myself. Enter Vegan Yum-Yum’s recipe for Jellied Cranberry Sauce. It’s just as easy as making whole berry sauce, but it’s that jellied version we love. Cue the trumpets and confetti … this one is a total winner.


Basically, you cook down the cranberries with water and lemon zest until they pop. It takes about 10 minutes.


Then you strain the mixture to remove all the pulp, skins, seeds, etc. It goes back on the burner and you stir in the sugar. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for a couple minutes.


Finally, transfer it to a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Homemade Jellied Cranberry Sauce Recipe
recipe adapted slightly from Vegan Yum Yum
Serves: serves 8
  • 1 lb whole fresh cranberries, picked over
  • ½ cup water
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 1½ cup granulated sugar
  1. Combine the cranberries, water and lemon in a pot. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the cranberries have popped open and are soft.
  2. Transfer the cranberry mixture to a fine mesh sieve and set over the pot. Press with a rubber spatula to strain the mixture through. Be sure to also scrape the bottom of the sieve periodically. Continue until the cranberry pulp looks dry and no more can be pushed through the sieve.
  3. Stir the sugar into the cranberry mixture. Set the pot over the burner and heat over medium, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  4. Transfer the cranberry mixture to a dish to cool. It will take the shape of the dish, so choose the shape wisely. For easy unmolding, be sure to either rub the dish with oil or line with aluminum foil before pouring the cranberry sauce in. Tap gently to even out the top.
  5. Chill the cranberry sauce in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours, until set.
  6. Serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.



  1. Jake Sterling says

    This sounds great. Has anyone tried canning it? I am thinking that, if you are going to all the work of making it, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to make extra? Also, does a food mill work for straining the pulp or does it let too many solids through?

    • Sarah W. Caron says

      Hi Jake, actually it’s not that much work — it really goes pretty fast. However, I haven’t tried (and probably wouldn’t try) canning this one. You could maybe freeze it though. Also, a food mill could probably be used as well — though I am partial to the straining method. Hope that helps!

  2. Marge Shove says

    After cooking the cranberry sauce, instead of straining it to remove the pulp, how about using the Vita Mix mixer to achive a pudding like mixture that includes the pulp ? Then add your sugar and continue to cook as directed. Would that work ? Has anyone ever tried that ?
    I hate throwing away all that good fibre.

    • Sarah W. Caron says

      Hi Mary, the cooling process allows it to come together as a jelly. If you are looking for a more scientific explanation, I am not certain but I would suspect that the natural pectin in cranberries combined with sugar and cooked down is what allows it to form jelly — much like what happens when you make strawberry jam. Enjoy!

  3. Mary Beth says

    I have been searching for cranberry recipes tonight. I have found 3 recipes that say you can can the sauce. I found a great deal on chemical free cranberries but I have to buy 10 pounds. I’m really looking forward to making my own sauce this year.

  4. Agnes says

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this recipe!! My boyfriend has never tried homemade cranberry sauce but loves the jellied version! I can’t wait to try this out! Thank you!

  5. Leah LeMay says

    Just want to say thank you. My husband bought the whole berry sauce which my mother doesn’t like. So I thought I would surprise her by turning it into the jellied kind she & everyone else is used to in my family. I have to say it works just as wonderfully on the canned berries as it does on the fresh ones. I just used a blender instead. Thank you for saving the day !! Hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

  6. Alicia St Rose says

    This is delicious. I made it last year and am making it again for a Christmas dinner. Best jellied cranberry sauce recipe I’ve seen! Thanks Sarah!

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