Loaded with health benefits and requiring only five ingredients, this slow cooker cranberry sauce is the perfect make-ahead side dish for your table.
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.
Next, zest your orange with a grater or microplane.
Then freshly grate your ginger into the slow cooker as well and sprinkle in your sugar.
Next pour in the water and orange juice, and stir it all together.
Cover with the lid, set heat to low, and walk away! It’ll be ready in 3 hours.
Once the 3 hours is up, use either a potato masher or large wooden spoon to mash the cranberry sauce to your desired consistency.
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
- Easy Sugar Cookies
- Shabbat Challah Bread
- Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze
- Creamy Horseradish Sauce with Potato Latkes
- Sparkling Pomegranate Mimosas
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!
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.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
- 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.
Check out my Pinterest board for more healthy side dish recipes!
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!
I’m so glad you enjoy it!!!!
how do you store it? how long will it keep? Canning? fridge? freezer?
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.
Oh I’m so glad you found me ! Let me know what recipes you try!! Happy Holidays!
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?
I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this, Kinnari! You can just leave the orange out. :)
What a great idea! I love cranberry sauce on chicken sandwiches in the summertime! It’s a wonderfully cool condiment! Thank you!
It really is!! Enjoy Tina!
Do you serve this warm, or should I chill it after the 3 hours in crockpot?
You certainly could serve it warm but I prefer it chilled. :-) Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
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.
It’s so easy and so tasty!!! Let me know how it turns out!!
Happy Cranberrylove! Wow, I LOVE this recipe. And I especially love that you did not add a ton of sugar. Thanks for much for sharing with the bloghop. :)
My pleasure – so glad you appreciate the lack of sugar! :)
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.
Let me know what you come up with Mary – I’m always looking for new ideas!
I just made this with apple cider instead of orange juice. My mom cannot eat orange.
Cranberry sauce made in a slow cooker? How did I not know this?!
That’s the same thing I said to myself when I thought of it – haha!!! :-) Glad I’m not the only one late to the party. ;-)
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.
I’m realizing more and more I’m not the only one who discovered the wonders of real cranberry sauce as an adult – haha. So funny!! Better late than never I guess. :-)
Yummy sauce, and I love that you made it in your slow cooker! I was never a fan of cranberry sauce growing up either, but definitely a fan now! Sending #cranberrylove your way!!
It’s so funny – poor cranberry sauce gets such a bad rap!! :-) Cheers to #cranberrylove!
I agree, I never went back after making cranberry sauce from scratch….there is no comparison. Also the color is so different.
It truly is amazing – the color is stunning!!
I only became a fan of the cranberry sauce a few years ago, but now it’s LOVE! I’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce before – must try it!
Same here!!! It’s amazing how much tastier it is homemade! And this recipe couldn’t be easier. ;)
This looks delicious, Liz! I wouldn’t have thought to add it to oatmeal but it makes so much sense. Great fall ideas!
Thank you so much Addie! I’m always looking for ways to naturally sweeten foods so it just came to me. :-)