Homemade Cranberry Jam

A Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without cranberry jam on the side. This Cranberry Sauce recipe is so easy to make and tastes amazing. You won’t want to buy it readymade ever again!

I have been creating a plan of action for my Christmas day meal. I like to make things as easy as possible on the day, so making things in advance definitely helps. Cranberry sauce is a great place to start!

Flavoured with fresh orange and cinnamon, no roast turkey would be complete without it!

You can store it in sterilised jars too, so try making a big batch and give some away as presents along with this Autumn Chutney and Italian Cantucci.

Now, whilst I totally love Christmas dinner, I mean, really, who doesn’t?! What I really do love to do, is settle down on Christmas evening with a big chunky Turkey, stuffing and Brie sandwich, slathered with tons of cranberry sauce, I wait all year for that moment! Christmas needs to happen more often! I’m making myself feel too hungry right now.

view of the ingredients needed

Cranberry Sauce, Jelly or Jam?

You may have seen this cranberry condiment come under different categories of cranberry sauce as well as cranberry jam and even cranberry jelly.

Although it’s perfectly acceptable to call this recipe any of the above, the subtle difference is usually down to the consistency. Cranberry Jelly is often sold in cans and will retain it’s shape outside of the container. Cranberry sauce or Jam tends to have a more fluid consistency with cranberry sauce being the most liquid of all.

This particular recipe has the consistency similar to that of a strawberry jam but it often referred to as a cranberry sauce anyway.

close up of cranberry sauce

Using Dried Cranberries

Both fresh and frozen whole cranberries can be used in this recipe but you can also try making cranberry sauce with dried cranberries too. However, dried cranberries will weigh out differently to their fresh counterparts. Start by weighing out approximately 3/4 of the amount needed in this recipe, so you will need about 225g.

You will need to rehydrate the cranberries in a heatproof bowl. Cover the cranberries with boiling water inside the bowl. Then, cover the bowl with clingfilm to keep the steam and heat inside and leave them for about 30 minutes. After this time, they should have plumped up and be ready to use in your recipe.

How to Make and Store Cranberry Jam

Firstly you want to melt your sugar into the fresh orange juice, do this slowly over a low heat, stirring as you go.

Once the sugar has dissolved, you add the cranberries, zest and a cinnamon stick and begin to make your jam.

It’s important to keep a close eye on your jam and not to rush it, you don’t want the ingredients on the bottom to stick and burn, otherwise it will ruin your whole batch. I recommend using a silicone spatula to stir it as this will help to scrape the bottom of the pan fully and mix the jam up before things begin to stick.

Be aware that cranberry sauce like other jams, will thicken as it cools. You want to avoid overcooking it as you will end up with a jam that is too thick and rubbery in texture. If you want to be really precise, I recommend using a jam thermometer and allowing the mixture to reach 105C (or 220F), you can be sure it will set if this temperature is achieved. If you prefer a more runny consistency, aim for a slightly lower temperature upon completion.

The time it takes to reach a setting consistency can vary, especially if you are making this in larger batches. Just take your time and be patient. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat and hurry it along, once it burns the sauce is ruined and you will need to start over.

When it comes to storing your cranberry jam, I recommend using sterilised jam jars. I recently explained the sterilising and canning process on this caramelised onion chutney recipe under the tips and guidance section, you can follow the same steps when canning this jam too.

If you choose not to can your jam, you can keep it in the fridge once it has cooled for at least a week or freeze it in portions for about 6 months.

cranberry sauce in a jar

Recipe FAQ

How long will cranberry jam last?

If you jar it in sterilised jars and keep them somewhere cool and dark, your cranberry jam should last for at least a year.
If you choose not to store it in this way you can keep it in the fridge for about a week, or it can be frozen for up to 6 months.

What do I eat with cranberry jam?

Cranberry jam makes a great condiment to roast dinners, especially poultry based dinners like chicken and turkey. You can serve it anytime of the year but is traditionally eaten at Christmas or Thanksgiving.

cranberry sauce recipe

Homemade Cranberry Jam

Author: Becky
A Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner isn't complete without cranberry jam on the side. This Cranberry Sauce recipe is so easy to make and tastes amazing. You won't want to buy it readymade ever again!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course dip, Side Dish
Cuisine American, British
Calories 789 kcal


  • 300 g Fresh Cranberries
  • 150 g Golen Caster Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Orange Zest and Juice


  • Place the sugar and orange juice in a pan and heat gently until the sugar begins to dissolve.
  • Add the cranberries, cinnamon and zest and allow to cook gently over a very low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking to the pan.
  • Once the mixture has thickened remove from the heat and remove the cinnamon stick. Place the sauce into sterilised jars.
  • Allow to cool before serving.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 789kcalCarbohydrates: 205gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 510mgFiber: 19gSugar: 174gVitamin A: 485IUVitamin C: 110mgCalcium: 113mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cranberry jelly, cranberry sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recipes to accompany this Cranberry Sauce?

Try this Lemony Roast Chicken recipe now!

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