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Homemade Jellied Cranberry Sauce Recipe

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.

Yield: 8 servings

Homemade Jellied Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Homemade Jellied Cranberry Sauce Recipe

recipe adapted slightly from Vegan Yum Yum


  • 1 lb whole fresh cranberries, picked over
  • 1/2 cup water
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 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.


Friday 3rd of November 2023

I can this every year. I add 1/4 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to each batch (I do three 12 ounce bags at once). After straining I bring the mixture to a slow boil and fill hot jars one at a time adding the lids and rings to hand tightened before filling the next jar. It's so nice to get all of the work done once a year. It is also difficult to buy fresh cranberries throughout the year, and you cannot go back to canned grocery store cranberry sauce once you've had fresh!

Nancy Heyman

Saturday 30th of April 2022

I make this often. We think it is much better than canned. I make a double batch and freeze some so it's at the ready. I use only 1 cup of sugar per batch and we like that twang. I also use a chinois to strain. It does leave the seeds but I don't mind them.

Five Fantastic Thanksgiving Sides Without Cans | TablaVie

Friday 13th of November 2015

[…] FYI, so if you have a spice-loving group, consider making more. Want to make the jellied stuff? Try this instead.¬†You can use a well-washed can to keep the rings around it or be a little more refined and use a […]


Wednesday 27th of November 2013

Thanks so much for the recipe. I will never use canned again! It was so easy to make too!

Alicia St Rose

Sunday 23rd of December 2012

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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