Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

Loaded with health benefits and requiring only five ingredients, this slow cooker cranberry sauce is the perfect make-ahead side dish for your table.

Spoonful of slow cooker cranberry sauce.

We were never a big cranberry sauce family growing up and to be honest, after seeing images of the plum colored gel sliding out of a can and being sliced, I never felt deprived. As I became more interested in health and nutrition, I’ve learned that cranberries are bursting in health benefits, so I wanted to create an easy, fresher, less-sweet version of the holiday staple. Enter my Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce.


  • Cranberries: Slightly tart and slightly sweet, and packed with antioxidants and nutrients.
  • Orange juice: Naturally sweet as well as packed with vitamin C, it helps to reduce the bitterness in cranberry sauce.
  • Sugar: Just a touch of added sweetness to the sauce, I like it on the tarter side, so add a little more of you like it sweeter.
  • Orange zest: Optional, but adds a lovely brightness to the sauce.
  • Ginger: Slightly peppery and sweet, it rounds out the rest of the flavors in the sauce.

How to Make Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce


To start this simple dish, put your rinsed cranberries into a slow cooker.

Cranberries in a crock pot

Next, zest your orange with a grater or microplane.

Cranberries with ginger being grated in

Then freshly grate your ginger into the slow cooker as well and sprinkle in your sugar.

orange juice being poured onto cranberries

Next pour in the water and orange juice, and stir it all together.

A bowl of cranberries

Cover with the lid, set heat to low, and walk away! It’ll be ready in 3 hours.

A close up of cranberries

Once the 3 hours is up, use either a potato masher or large wooden spoon to mash the cranberry sauce to your desired consistency.

Slow cooker cranberry sauce.

Serve chilled or at room temperature, and enjoy!

Why are Cranberries Good for You?

  • Anti-Inflammatory: Love the gorgeous color? You can thank anthocyanins, a powerful phytonutrient found in cranberries which, along with others, help reduce the risk of unwanted inflammation.
  • Phytonutrients: Whole cranberries are an excellent source of flavonoids and other phytonutrients which are more powerful in their whole form (vs juice).
  • Digestive Track Benefits: Cranberries have been shown to help ward off everything from stomach ulcers to colon cancer to periodontal disease.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do you eat cranberry sauce with?

It’s popular to eat with Thanksgiving dinner on turkey. You could also smear some on the bread of a turkey sandwich. I love to use the leftovers as a stir-in to Greek yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies.

Can you over cook cranberry sauce?

If you were making it on the stove top, definitely. That’s an added benefit of using a slow cooker, as the temp doesn’t get too hot, you won’t burn or overcook the cranberries.

How do I store cranberry sauce?

Kept in an airtight container, it’ll keep in the fridge for 4 days or freezer for 3 months.

More Holiday Recipes

Like it, Eat It, Share It!

Did you try this cranberry sauce recipe? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials. Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire it!

Liz serving slow cooker cranberry sauce.

I am completely blown away at how easy and flavorful cranberry sauce is when made from scratch. Skill level required? Zero. Simply add a few ingredients into a crock pot and walk away. Come back later and enjoy with all your holiday festivities.

Your spoon is waiting.

cranberry sauce in a bowl

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

4.07 stars average
Loaded with health benefits and requiring only five ingredients, this slow cooker cranberry sauce is the perfect make-ahead side dish for your table.
PREP: 5 minutes
COOK: 3 hours
TOTAL: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8



  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries (rinsed)
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (grated)


  • Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on Low heat for 3 hours.
  • Using a wooden spoon, gently mash the cranberries until desired consistency is reached.


Feel free to add more sugar if you prefer this sauce on the sweeter side. As you can imagine with my love of lemons, I like it a bit tart.


Calories: 35kcalCarbohydrates: 9.2gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.1gSodium: 1mgFiber: 1.6gSugar: 6g

Check out my Pinterest board for more healthy side dish recipes!

30 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Today was my first time ever making cranberry sauce and I am hooked! Delicious and simple recipe that I will make again and again. Thanks!

  2. This sounds and looks so good! Thank you!! I’m going to make this. I just found your blog and have been looking around and you have so many delicious recipes.

  3. So I made this last night for our Friends-giving, and I wasn’t a fan of the orange. I think its a little too orangey for me. Can i leave the orange out next time and put in something else instead?

  4. What a great idea! I love cranberry sauce on chicken sandwiches in the summertime! It’s a wonderfully cool condiment! Thank you!

  5. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!
    Finally found an easy cranberry sauce for this Thanksgiving (for an idiot like me)!

    To tell the truth, I hardly cook anything. And this Thanksgiving I’m willing to do something to surprise everyone. This sauce seems easy enough for me.

  6. My family always made our own cranberry sauce and I loved it. I was rather grossed out when as a young adult I discovered that you could get it in a can and serve it with ridges from the can still on it (shudder). I’ve experimented with changing up the basic cranberries-and-sugar recipe but haven’t found a variation that I love, and my younger set complained about my lessening the sugar in the recipe. I’m allergic to oranges so this particular variation doesn’t work for me. I tried using cider in it last year– I might or might not keep experimenting with it this year.

  7. I’ve never thought to make it in a crock pot! This looks fab. I grew up eating that canned gelatin stuff until I got older and realized I could make my own and it wouldn’t resemble gelatin! lol.

  8. I agree, I never went back after making cranberry sauce from scratch….there is no comparison. Also the color is so different.

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