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Jellied Cranberry Sauce


Cranberry sauce in white bowl
Renee Comet/StockFood Creative/Getty Images

When I was growing up we always had two kinds of cranberry sauce on the table at holiday dinners. One was the whole cranberry sauce we made from scratch. The other was the smooth, jellied stuff that came out of a can. I loved them both then, and I still do today, but now I make both kinds from scratch.

A food mill makes this recipe especially easy, but you can substitute a blender and a strainer or sieve for that step.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 half pint jars


  • 12 ounces whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar


Place cranberries, sugar and water in a large non-reactive pot (reactive pots are non-enameled cast iron, aluminum, or copper - never use these when making homemade preserves as they can cause the color of your final product to go off).

Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. The cranberries will start popping open as they cook. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped. Many of the cranberries may still look whole, but you can test to see if they've popped by pressing them against the sides of the pot with the back of a spoon. If they are soft and mash easily rather than bursting with a popping sound, then they are at the popped stage.

Cook 5 minutes past the popped stage described above.

Remove from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in two batches in an upright blender.

Run the cranberry sauce through a food mill to remove the skins. Alternatively, puree the sauce and then pass the it through a sieve or a small-holed colander, rubbing it through with the back of a wooden spoon to remove any bits of cranberry skins that were not completely pureed.

If serving within 3 days, simply pour the cranberry puree into a serving dish, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate.

For storage at room temperature for up to one year, Ladle the still-warm cranberry puree into sterilized wide mouth half pint jars leaving 1/2-inch head space. Fasten canning lids and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

Note that the jellied cranberry sauce will gel as it cools. It will still have a fairly runny consistency until then.

When I was a kid we used to slide the whole cylinder of jellied cranberry sauce out of the store-bought can. We'd serve the whole thing on a plate, taking slices off as desired. If you want to do this with your jars of homemade jellied cranberry sauce, simply run a table knife around the insides of the jars between the cranberry sauce and sides of the jars. Once you've done that, the sauce should slide out in one piece.

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