Easy Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice And Port Wine

Are the days before Thanksgiving Chaos? Well this Easy Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice and Port Wine recipe is not only a stunner, it only take 5 minutes to make.

Plus I have a little trick to making the perfect cranberry sauce recipe. 😉

Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce…Hacked!

It’s actually really simple to make cranberry sauce. In fact, if you buy a bag of Ocean Spray cranberries a no-fail recipe for cranberry sauce is printed on the back. Seriously, all you have to do is boil 3 cups of cranberries in 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. But, Doesn’t that sound kind like there is room for improvement? My uncle Bernie, who recently passed (RIP) thought so too and before he went he shared his recipe with me. It really is the best cranberry sauce recipe I’ve ever made.

There’s not much else to say, so let’s just dive in.

How To Make Cranberry Sauce With Less Sugar

Ok. First thing’s first. Start with half the sugar and not a grain more! Cranberry sauce should be a bit sweet but not cloyingly sweet. So the Ocean Spray recipe calls for a full cup and you only really need half a cup.

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Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice?

Yeah! Water is boring, yo! We’ll be replacing the water with 2 separate liquids to make 1 cup total. Let’s start with OJ because orange juice and cranberry go so well together. Don’t you agree? Only use fresh squeezed OJ, which I know is more expensive but it only takes 2 oranges to make half a cup of juice and it’s totally worth it. It’s also Thanksgiving. Splurge a little bit on your family!

Orange Zest

Oh I forgot to mention. Before you juice the oranges, use a zester to get a tablespoon of zest. You’ll need it for later.

Easy Cranberry Sauce Orange Juice Port Wine

What Is Port Wine?

Port wine comes from the Douro Valley of Portugal. Get it port – Portugal? Makes sense right? For this recipe, I use Tawny Port which is port wine that has been aged in wooden casks for at least 7 years. That’s tawny port, not tawdry port. Ha! OK, I gotta admit my wordplay was kind of lame. A decent bottle of tawny port goes for about $25, so don’t break the bank.

OK let’s start cooking.

In a medium saucepan, bring the OJ and port to a boil, add the sugar, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries and boil and crush the cranberries with a potato masher. Cook for no more than 5 minutes.

The Trick To Great Cranberry Sauce Is Butter

What’s The Secret To The Best Cranberry Sauce?

OK here’s my trick to the greatest cranberry sauce ever: butter. Butter makes everything better. You don’t need much, maybe an 1/8th or a 1/4 of a tablespoon, but the fat in butter is a great conveyor of flavor. You’ll get so much more cranberry, orange, and port flavor in your cranberry sauce if you just add a sliver of butter.

Remove the sauce from heat, drop a little butter into your cranberry sauce and a tablespoon of orange zest. Stir to mix well. Now, this cranberry sauce recipe can also be made ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container.

Can I Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

Here’s are two scenarios: Scenario 1: Thanksgiving is over, it’s Black Friday and you’re completely sick of everything you ate yesterday. Enough turkey and cranberry sauce. You’re stuck with gallons of cranberry sauce leftovers. Scenario 2: you are a food blogger who had to make cranberry sauce 3 weeks in advance because you needed to shoot photos. I have a suspicion that most of you don’t fall under the latter category but the good news is that it CAN be frozen. It may get a bit watery when it thaws and but it’s no big deal. I find this recipe thaws well. Maybe it’s the alcohol.

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Easy Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice And Port Wine

Easy Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice and Port Wine recipe is not only a stunner, it only take 5 minutes to make.

Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Cranberry Sauce, Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice, Port Wine, Thanksgiving Dinner, Thanksgiving Side Dish
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Author Matt Cetta


  • 3 Cups Whole Cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Tawny Port
  • 1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
  • 1/4 Tablespoon Butter


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring port and orange juice to a boil.

  2. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Add cranberries and boil for 5 minutes crushing the berries with a potato masher.

  3. Remove from heat. Stir in zest and butter.

Recipe Notes

Cranberry sauce can be made ahead.

It can also frozen after Thanksgiving is over.

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