Our all time favorite homemade cranberry sauce recipe includes crunchy walnuts and a splash of Grand Marnier. It has just the right combination of sweet and tart to delight the senses and round out any holiday meal.
With the holidays approaching you need a simple and easy homemade cranberry sauce that’s amazing all by itself but will also compliment the stuffing and corn pudding on your Thanksgiving table. Adding a splash of orange liqueur like Grand Marnier is the perfect combination with fresh tart cranberries.
Whether you’re hosting the feast or bringing a side, this easy cranberry sauce is one of those dishes you can count on to turn out perfect with very little effort. A Thanksgiving cranberry sauce recipe is one of those sides that I love to experiment with and while this one is my family’s favorite, I also love these made with roasted grapes, Port or Cabernet.
Not only does the orange flavor from the Grand Marnier compliment the cranberries but toasted walnuts adds a little crunch and rich nutty flavor.
Why you’ll love homemade cranberry sauce
- It’s great to have a few dishes that you can make days in advance
- There’s very little prep in this dish
- Cranberry sauce tastes better after it’s sat a day or two, so prepare this in advance with one less recipe to make on the holiday
- Cranberries are only sold around the fall and early winter so you want to take advantage and enjoy them in as many dishes as you can.
What you’ll need
- Grand Mariner – in a pinch you can add an equal amount of orange juice, or if you don’t want alcohol, it will not cook out in this recipe.
- Fresh cranberries – this recipe calls for 24 ounces or two packages of fresh cranberries. You can easily half the recipe.
- Walnuts – toast them first in the oven for about 10 minutes.
- Sugar – cranberries need sugar.
How to make the best homemade cranberry sauce
Step 1: Put cranberries in a glass baking dish and cover with sugar and aluminum foil. Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring after 30 minutes. That’s it, no standing over the stove stirring.
Step 2: Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature then add toasted walnuts and Grand Mariner. Cover and refrigerate.
Pro tip: Add this to a chicken galette with other holiday leftovers for a delicious next day meal.
This is actually better after it sits for a day, so you can make it in advance and forget about it. It also makes the leftovers even better.
Since fresh cranberries are only around in the fall, we tend to only make cranberry sauce for the holidays. Cranberries freeze so well, so grab a few extra bags and put them in a freezer bag and you can have cranberry sauce all year long. It’s great with chicken and pork dishes.
FAQs and tips
Grand Marnier, a French liqueur, is a combination of triple sec and cognac and offers a sophisticated flavor, great for cooking, baking and cocktails.
You can substitute an equal amount of orange juice.
For most dishes they would need to be cooked for over 30 minutes to burn off the alcohol. You can reduce some of the alcohol by adding it to the boiling cranberry sauce, but some will still remain.
If you would rather cook this on the stove, you can place the cranberries and sugar in a pot to cook. Use about a ½ cup of water and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the cranberries burst, stirring throughout.
Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350º for about 10 minutes. Watch closely so they don’t burn.
More cranberry dishes to enjoy
- Cranberry apricot oatmeal cookies are made with dried fruit and spices to help elevate a basic oatmeal cookie to a flavorful family favorite!
- Take your fall root vegetables up a notch and pair them with a fruit in this butternut squash with cranberries and feta!
- Need a star dish for a holiday meal, then you’ll enjoy this cranberry sauce with port and figs.
- Cabernet cranberry and blueberry sauce is a delicious way to enjoy cranberries and use this sauce as a jam, topping or relish.
More Thanksgiving SIDES
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- 24 ounces raw cranberries
- 2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- Place raw cranberries in 13 x 9 glass casserole dish and pour sugar over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350º for 1 to 1 ½ hours until the cranberries have popped, stirring half way through.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Then add Grand Marnier and toasted walnuts and refrigerate.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Use a glass baking dish and place a cookie sheet under it to prevent any spills.
- This will be slightly soupy when it comes out of the oven and will firm up as it cools.
- This is even better if it refrigerates for a day or two.
- You can substitute an equal amount of orange juice for the Grand Mariner.
- The time this takes to cook can vary depending on the cranberries. Check it after an hour, the cranberries should have popped and it should start to thicken.
- To make this on the stove, add ½ cup of water or orange juice to the sugar and cranberries and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until the cranberries soften.