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Honey Crisp Cranberry Sauce

You are better than canned cranberry sauce. So is your family. Feed them good this Thanksgiving with this incredibly delicious and easy honey crisp cranberry sauce. There’s lots of spice and notes of bliss all through this stuff. My goal was to create an intense cranberry experience, and I absolutely achieved that. Don’t feel stressed if there’s an ingredient or two you don’t have. As long as you’ve got the basics, you should be just fine. Hell, as long as it isn’t canned, you’re golden!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce vs. Canned

There’s no comparison. There’s no competition. Next!

How easy is it to make your own? The hardest part is opening the bag of cranberries. I’m not even joking. Just remember, the most basic recipe ever is to combine a bag of cranberries with one cup of water and one cup of sugar. Boil until they burst open, cool, and serve. Seriously, that’s it. But we’re going to inject our sauce with some serious flavor. Spices and notes that compliment your entire Thanksgiving meal. Although one of the main ingredients here is a delicious honey crisp apple, you can totally skip it. Those apples are expensive AF, I can’t lie.

maple-cider honeycrisp cranberry sauce

This cranberry sauce is so intensely flavored, and I know you’re going to love it. Orange and cranberry go so well together, and the added pectin of the apples really help the sauce’s consistency and texture. Speaking of apples, one of the main components here is apple cider. I use this stuff a lot during “brick season” (aka, it’s cold AF outside). Apple cider is so delicious, and also part of my Dutch Apple Cheesecake Blondies, and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I added star anise to this cranberry sauce, but if you have an aversion to it or just can’t find it, leave it out! This sauce will still be damn good. You are more than welcome to use ground cinnamon instead of a stick. Use what you have. Maple syrup is another wonderful way to sweeten up those notoriously tart cranberries. Everything about this homemade cranberry sauce is phenomenal, and you’ll be wonderfully annoyed at how easy it is to prepare.maple-cider honeycrisp cranberry sauce maple-cider honeycrisp cranberry sauce

How to make Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Check out the video below! 

More Thanksgiving recipes:

Citrus & Herb Dry Brined Turkey with Maple Cognac Gravy
Garlic & Leek Creme Fraiche Mashed Potatoes
Ultimate Green Bean Casserole

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Honey Crisp Cranberry Sauce

  • Author: Chef Resha
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings


Intensely flavored homemade cranberry sauce studded with honey crisp apples, made with pure maple syrup and apple cider. Say no to canned.


  • 1 12oz. bag of cranberries, washed
  • 1 cup honeycrisp apple, diced (granny smith works too)
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup grade-A maple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick, optional
  • 1 star anise, optional
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp orange marmalade (optional)
  • tiny pinch of cayenne
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • Zest from an orange or tangerine


  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium/medium-low to simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until all the of berries have collapsed and the apples are tender but not mushy.
  3. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool and thicken for about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove cinnamon stick and star anise, if using.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning/sweetness as needed.
  6. Serve at room temperature.


Feel free to adjust the sweetness to your desired level. It’s okay to leave out certain spices if you don’t have them.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: thanksgiving, sauces

Keywords: homemade cranberry sauce

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Recipe rating

  1. Raquel says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    This cranberry sauce convinced my family to leave the canned cranberry Jello alone. It’s a hit! So much so that I get requests to batch extra for people to take home. Very easy to make and the balance between sweet and tart is perfect to plate next to any of your rich holiday foods. Make it! ★★★★★
  2. Felicia Scott says:

    I’m making this today but couldn’t find the star anise. What I received was an Anise seasoning in its stead. Will that work & if so what is the conversion?

    I too am a huge fan by the way. I made the oatmeal filled recipe for last thanksgiving & they were a huge hit.

  3. Norkeita Goins says:

    I hate cranberry sauce… not this though! The house smells amazing and the sauce is so delicious I could just eat it by the spoon full.

    Thank you for always sharing your recipes, I’m truly thankful.

  4. alma chirca says:

    How long can you keep the sauce in the refrigerator? Can I make them ahead before Thanksgiving Day?

    Thank you

  5. Shavonne says:

    Soooo I been following you for a couple of YEARS!!! And I must say your DOPE!!! I absolutely love the way you cook. I have made several of your recipes and GIRL you are the BOMB.COM!!! This cranberry sauce was absolutely AMAZING! My family raved about it! I put my moms on to your website because we get it in the kitchen! Lol I think we would be all good friends through cooking!!! Your AMAZING!!! Thank You and please keep sharing!!!

  6. Wintress R says:

    I used this recipe for the first time this year, and it’s safe to say that I’m never going back to the canned life. I think my husband ate it by itself because it was so good!