Cooking and baking for Thanksgiving is hard work. Don’t make it any harder than it has to be!! You are going to love how easy this homemade cranberry sauce recipe is to make. Gather a few simple ingredients, this sweet and sour cranberry sauce cooks in just minutes!

A bowl of cranberry sauce next to a red pot.

Tis’ the season for all things cranberry!! If you haven’t found that perfect cranberry sauce recipe yet, I am hoping you give this simple recipe a try. There is nothing fancy, no hard to find ingredients…just fresh cranberries, apples, lemon zest, pomegranate juice, sugar, and a hint of vanilla.

My recipe may be simple, but I promise you this cranberry sauce will taste delicious and everyone will love it. Why spend more time in the kitchen than you need? Slather it on this Air Fryer Turkey Breast or onto this Grilled Pork Chop for more fun options!

Why this recipe is great:

This homemade cranberry sauce is not only naturally gluten free, but it is free of the top 8 allergens and vegan too. It has just a few simple ingredients, and it cooks in just minutes. It is great to meal prep or make ahead so you can prepare this sauce days before Thanksgiving to save time.

Use the leftover cranberry sauce to make these yummy Gluten Free Cranberry Hand Pies!

The top view of a big bowl of homemade cranberry sauce.

Ingredient Notes:

For the full list of ingredients and amounts, please go to the recipe card below.

  • Fresh cranberries – you can find these in any grocery store. Make sure to wash them well and remove any that look old (dried out) or spoiled.
  • Sugar
  • Sweet apples like fuji or red are delicious and good for this recipe.
  • Pomegranate juice – if you can’t find this juice, then use orange juice.

Step-By-Step Recipe Photos and Directions:

One of the things I love about this recipe is that I use a lot of different fruit flavors to balance out the tartness of the cranberries.  Are you ready to give this cranberry recipe a try?

A bowl overflowing with fresh cranberries.

Step 1: Open the package of cranberries and wash them in a colander. Add them to a pot and turn the heat on medium-low.

Pouring sugar into cooking cranberries.

Step 2: Add the lemon zest, pomegranate juice, and sugar.

Step 3: Chop fresh apple and add to the pot. You can leave the skins on or off since the cranberries add texture to the cranberry sauce. 

Step 4: Simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Enjoy warm or cold.

A red pot of homemade cranberry sauce.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce vs Canned:

If you love canned cranberry sauce, that is okay!! There is no judging here because you have to do what you can, and every shortcut helps. Talk about a time saver! Which canned cranberry sauce do you like best? I like the sauces with whole cranberries, not the jelly-like ones.

If you prefer to make homemade cranberry sauce, this recipe is for you!!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is that popping sound when I cook cranberries?

You will hear all sorts of popping sounds from your cooking cranberry mixture. That is totally fine. As the cranberries cook, they pop.

How many cups of fresh cranberries are in one package?

Each package has an average of 3 cups of fresh cranberries. You will want to wash the cranberries and pick out any bad ones.

How long will this cranberry sauce last?

This homemade cranberry sauce will keep fresh for up to 4 days in an air-tight container.

Can you freeze this cranberry sauce?

You could freeze it, but when you thaw it out, the texture will not be the same, which may not be as good.

More Gluten-Free Cranberry Recipes:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

A close up of the homemade cranberry sauce in a white bowl.

Easy Cranberry Apple Sauce

Sandi Gaertner
A sweet and sour homemade cranberry sauce from scratch recipe that is really quick and easy to make. Full of flavor, it is delicious with your Thanksgiving meal.
5 from 2 votes
dairy free allergen icon
an egg free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
A vegan icon.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Gluten Free Sauces and Marinades
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 111 kcal


  • 16 ounces fresh cranberries (about 2 packages)
  • ½ cup chopped apples peeled
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¾ cup sugar


  • Add all of the ingredients to a large pot and cook on medium.
  • Stir frequently and bring to a boil. Note, you will hear a lot of popping as the cranberries burst. This is totally normal.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low and cook until all of the cranberries are broken and soft.
  • Allow to cool and serve.


  1. When you wash the cranberries, pick out the bruised and bad ones before adding them to the pot.
  2. If you want to keep this lower glycemic, you can substitute honey.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 111kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 88mgFiber: 3gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 71IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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