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gluten-free cranberry sauce topped with orange zest

Gluten-Free Cranberry Sauce

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  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life


Need an easy gluten-free cranberry sauce recipe for the holidays? This homemade cranberry sauce is made from simple ingredients in about 10 minutes!


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries (3 cups)*
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoons fresh orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from the same orange)
  • Pinch cinnamon (less than 1/8 teaspoon)
  • Pinch salt (less than 1/8 teaspoon)


  1. Rinse & Sort. Start by preparing the cranberries. Rinse the cranberries in a colander, discarding any visibly shriveled, bruised, or damaged cranberries. Drain any extra liquid.
  2. Combine. Add cranberries to a medium or large saucepan. Add sugar, water, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Simmer. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then when it starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low. The cranberries will start to swell and burst as they cook. Cook and stir regularly about 8-10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened somewhat and most of the berries have burst. (The sauce will thicken even more as it cools). Taste and add more sugar, orange juice, or seasoning, as desired.
  4. Serve and Store. Enjoy right away or chill for later. Store leftover cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Cranberry sauce can be prepared 1-2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Remember it will only last about 5 days total. You can gently warm it in the microwave or on the stove, if desired, before serving.
  • Cranberry sauce can also be frozen in advance or stored for later. Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag up to 2 months. Thaw frozen cranberry sauce in the refrigerator, then warm if desired.


  • CRANBERRIES. You can absolutely use frozen cranberries. No need to thaw them beforehand!
  • ORANGE ZEST. Always zest the orange *before* juicing it. This is easier and safer. Try to get only the orange peel, not the bitter white pith beneath.
  • SWEETNESS. If this sauce isn’t sweet enough (some cranberries are more tart or bitter than others), feel free to add more sugar or orange juice, to taste. For a flavor twist, you can also swap the white sugar for light brown sugar.