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
- 1 lb whole fresh cranberries picked over
- 1/2 cup water
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chill the cranberry sauce in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours, until set.
- Serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.