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closeup of cranberry sauce in a clear jar with a spoon

Homemade Cranberry Filling

This sweet and tart homemade cranberry filling only takes four ingredients and 10 minutes to make! This recipe accommodates several other ingredient substitutions and flavor ideas!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 1 min
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 11 mins
Serves: 1 cup
Calories: 774kcal


  • 12 ounces (340 g) fresh cranberries
  • 7 ounces (198 g) sugar or maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, etc
  • 8 ounces (227 g) water or apple juice, orange juice, red wine, etc
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest or lemon, lime
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice or lemon, lime


Homemade Cranberry Filling Instructions

  • In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, zest, juice, and cranberries together over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture reduce for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is thickened. It will thicken even more as it cools.
  • Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool before using. This takes about 2 hours in the fridge to cool completely.
  • Once your filling is cool, use an immersion blender or blender to make your cranberry filling smoother. This is totally optional.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze for 6 months.


Try out some of these combinations and make this homemade cranberry filling your own!
In place of water you can use: 
  • Apple juice
  • Apple cider
  • Orange juice
  • Red Wine
In place of sugar try:
  • Brown sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Corn syrup
  • Agave syrup
In place of orange zest and juice:
  • Lemon
  • Lime
You can even add in other fruits like blueberries, strawberries, or apple chunks. 
Add in spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg for some extra flavor but it's all up to you!
Other Important Things to Note Before You Start:
  1. Cranberry sauce is naturally high in pectin and will thicken as it cools. Allow 2 hours for cooling or better yet, make it the day before. 
  2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Metric measurements are available in the recipe card. Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 
  3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it’s place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.


Serving: 2ounces | Calories: 774kcal (39%) | Carbohydrates: 200g (67%) | Protein: 1g (2%) | Fat: 1g (2%) | Sodium: 14mg (1%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 198g (220%) | Vitamin C: 8mg (10%)