Mom’s Cranberry Sauce

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My mom’s fresh cranberry sauce is the only one I will really eat. It’s both sweet & tangy with the flavors of pineapple and orange. A holiday must make!

Mom's Cranberry Sauce

I will admit, I have never been a big fan of cranberry sauce unless of course, it’s my mom’s.  That weird stuff that slides out of the can with the impression of the can rings on the side? Um, no thanks.  Too weird.  Food shouldn’t look like the container it came out of, should it?

Mom’s Amazing Cranberry Sauce

I love this fresh cranberry sauce my mom makes.  It has an orange flavor, that personally I think just makes it taste perfect.  Cranberry-Orange is a fantastic flavor combination.

My memories of Thanksgiving are always heartwarming.  As a kid, we went to my Grandma’s every year. (My Mom’s Mom)   I can close my eyes and picture her in her kitchen in South Omaha, wearing her dress and her apron, cooking and laughing with us as polka music played in the background.  

That very kitchen floor is where she taught me how to polka dance.  Big Joe Polka Show was one she never ever missed.


I wish my grandma had been facing the camera.  This is her, my Mom and me on my first Thanksgiving.  I was about 5 months old here.

My grandma was a marvelous cook, and it’s a quality she passed on to my Mom, and I hope that my kids feel like that about me.



cranberry sauce

I originally posted this recipe in November of 2014, I updated it this year, 2019.

To me, Thanksgiving is always about tradition.  We eat the same thing EVERY year, and that is the way that I prefer it.  I don’t want any surprises! As a kid, we had Turkey, Sausage and Sage Dressing, Mashed  Potatoes and Gravy, Corn, Dinner Rolls, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potatoes (for the few who liked them), Pumpkin Pie and My Grandma’s Rhubarb Pie.

We have exactly the same thing now, at my Mom’s house, with the exception that the rhubarb pie is now apple pie!


My Mom’s Kitchen – “The Girls” – Thanksgiving 2013 – Me, my daughters, Kenzie and Josie, my Mom and my sister-in-law, Julie.


Mom's Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving, My Husband’s Favorite Holiday

My husband says Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday, “because it’s all about going home, family and food. No presents to buy, just togetherness.”  Thanksgiving is a time to fill your belly so full with good food then crowd in that piece of pie while you’re reading through the ads or lounging on the couch watching football.

 It’s about toasts with (sometimes too much) good wine and going around the table saying what we are thankful for.  Thanksgiving is plain and simple about family and good food.


cranberry sauce with orange
Here it’s pictured with some orange zest on top.  So pretty, and I love that bowl of my Mom’s.


Mom's Cranberry Sauce


Ingredients in Mom’s Cranberry Sauce:

  • fresh cranberries
  • sugar
  • orange juice and zest
  • crushed pineapple and juice


Mom's Cranberry Sauce

That’s it! only 4 ingredients and this delicious cranberry sauce will be making an appearance on your Thanksgiving table!


Mom's Cranberry Sauce

Simply combine the ingredients in a saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil.  After they cook remove them from the heat to cool and thicken.  


Mom's Cranberry Sauce

When you first remove them from the saucepan, you’ll never believe they will thicken as much as they do.  



Mom's Cranberry Sauce

^Love it?  Pin it!^


If you love this recipe, make sure that you pin it to your favorite Pinterest board before you go, so you can find it again.  Follow my Fall Flavors Pinterest board for delicious ideas year round!


Cranberry Sauce Makes Thanksgiving Meals Tastier

Use fresh or fresh frozen cranberries instead of that canned cranberry sauce. It makes such a difference in so many ways. First, there is no comparison for the flavor. Also, cranberries are called a “superfood” for good reason. Cranberries are packed with vitamins, tons of antioxidants and have zero fat.

Also, since you take advantage of using the sugars in the oranges and the cranberries, making your own cranberry sauce is a way healthier option. 

Another great thing about homemade cranberry sauce? It actually works as a palate cleanser and being high fiber helps too. So, that delicious cranberry sauce is also helping keep everyone’s appetites up and taste buds perky too!

That is always handy when people eat all that turkey that makes them feel sleepy, and those mashed potatoes that make them feel full.


Sugared Cranberries
SUGARED CRANBERRIES Tart cranberries, bathed in sugar syrup, then dusted in sparkling sugar. Tasty and a beautiful garnish.

Some Ideas for Leftover Cranberries or Cranberry Sauce



Mom's Cranberry Sauce

So, however you celebrate it, whether you prepare the same thing every year based on tradition, or make something new each year, or just starting out and developing your own dinner traditions, I hope that you and yours have a very heartwarming Thanksgiving and that you are blessed beyond measure!M.



Overhead of Mom's Cranberry Sauce in a white serving dish
4.66 from 26 votes
Print Recipe

{My Mom's} Cranberry Sauce

This fresh cranberry sauce is the only one I will really eat. I love that it has that hint of orange!
Cook Time20 minutes
Additional Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 20 minutes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cranberry Sauce, fresh cranberries, how to make cranberry sauce with real cranberries, Mom's recipe, orange, pineapple
Servings: 1
Calories: 127kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 12 ounce package of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, juice reserved
  • Orange zest for serving if desired


  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugar into the orange and pineapple juices and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the cranberries and pineapple and bring back to a boil. Cook until the cranberries pop. (About 10 minutes.)
  • Remove from heat and place the sauce in a bowl to cool and thicken for a few hours.
  • Refrigerate. Can top with zested orange for serving if desired.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Sodium: 16mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g



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  1. Michaela, not only did you do a stunning job with the food photos, you captured the essence of what Thanksgiving should be with your family photographs as well as your words. Lovely post and it touched my heart.

  2. Your cranberry sauce looks great. I, too, have never been much of a fan of that canned stuff. My Grandma taught me to Polka dance as well. She and Grandpa used to go out almost every weekend and Polka. What a lovely story you’ve shared here. Thanks!

    1. Debi, So funny!! Seems we have lived similar lives in many respects! 🙂 Miss those days, so simple. <3

  3. Michaela, I have tears in my eyes after reading your story. You can just feel the love surrounding your special family…keep making beautiful memories and hold onto all those precious ones from the past forever! And that cranberry sauce! I wish I could dive into that bowl right now!

  4. You look just like your mama. I agree with your husband, Thanksgiving is my favorite, too. I love the food and family. I have been looking for a good recipe for cranberry sauce… This sounds wonderful with the pineapple and orange! yum!

  5. Terrific post Michaela. I love homemade cranberry sauce. Your pictures are so great, it’s nice to be able to bring back those wonderful memories. Pinned/shared.

  6. I love the addition of pineapple juice! I do mine w/ orange and orange zest but never thought about adding pineapple. I agree, Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday because there are no gifts involved or costumes or any of the commercial stuff. Just some good food.

  7. Aw, Sweetheat! What a lovely, sentimental description of our Thanksgivings! Your pictures are beautifully done, and I am so proud of you and the fact that you enjoy carrying on our family traditions! You have surely surpassed my cooking abilities! Grandma must be so proud!

  8. I love that you shared the picture from the past, I love looking at old pictures. Your mother was beautiful! And that cranberry sauce looks yum! Thanks for linking up at Foodie Fridays this week!

  9. This has my heart singing for the holidays! I’ve been testing recipes that I want to make for our holiday dinners when the family comes over. This one makes the list!

  10. I love the pineapple juice in this recipe! It gives it such a sweet flavor kick! I will make this over and over and can’t wait to make it for Thanksgiving!

  11. Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite things in the world. Now that I think about it, I have no idea why we only make it at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This recipe looks similar to one that we use a lot. I’m looking forward to trying it.

  12. Great recipe! My kids love cranberry sauce and call it “Thanksgiving jello.” Haha. I like to add a little maple syrup to mine too!

  13. I agree the canned cranberry sauce is just plain weird. I love having recipes passed down through the generations so I can’t wait to try this one this year.

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