Dairy Free/ Gluten-Free/ Sauces, Dips & Dressings/ Vegetarian & Vegan

Cranberry Sauce with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon

Easy and quick to make with just 3 ingredients, this homemade cranberry sauce is made with brown sugar and cinnamon for a rich and complex flavor.
Close up of brown sugar cranberry sauce in a small serving pot.

Last Updated on November 21, 2020 by Betty Davies

No thanksgiving or holiday table is complete without some delicious homemade cranberry sauce. So quick and easy to make, this cranberry sauce with brown sugar and cinnamon is wonderfully rich and just the right balance of sweet and tart. Ready to serve in less than 15 minutes!

Cranberry brown sugar sauce in a small bowl next to fresh cranberries and rosemary.

There are certain things that, without fail, that will be on my Christmas table; roast potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce. I’ll change up the main dish and the other trimmings each year, but these three things are always constant!

I haven’t had canned cranberry sauce for years, don’t get me wrong, it definitely has it’s place, but a good, fresh homemade sauce is so simple to make and is quite literally bursting with flavor.

This cranberry sauce with brown sugar and cinnamon is wonderfully rich and deep in flavor and works so well with your traditional Thanksgiving or holiday dinner.

If you are looking for more festive inspiration, be sure to check out my Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Why you will love this homemade cranberry sauce recipe!

  • Quick: It takes no more than 15 minutes to make this cranberry sauce from scratch.
  • Make ahead: This sauce is a great option if you are looking for dishes you can make ahead of time, it freezes well and can be enjoyed warm or cold.
  • Less than 5 ingredients: With just 3 main ingredients, this recipe doesn’t involve a special trip to the store or a last minute online order!
  • Dietary info: This dish is gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free.
The cranberry brown sugar sauce in a small glass jar.

Ingredients

  • Cranberries: Cranberries are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. This might not be a healthy side dish, but it’s a tasty way to get some goodness in!
  • Brown Sugar: Using brown sugar rather than white makes all of the difference! The molasses in the brown sugar creates a much richer and more complex flavor.
  • Cinnamon: I used just a bit of ground cinnamon. The sweetness helps to balance out the tartness of the cranberries without being too overpowering.
  • Rosemary: Fresh rosemary is optional, but it adds just a hint of freshness. A little is also used for garnish.

How to make brown sugar cranberry sauce

Be sure to scroll down for the full recipe!

  • Add the ingredients to a pot (photo 1).
  • Mix together and heat on the stovetop (photo 2).
  • Let simmer until the cranberries pop. Place a rosemary sprig on top and let cool (photo 3).
Three step by step shots to show how to make the cranberry sauce.

Recipe Variations

This cranberry sauce with brown sugar and cinnamon is delicious as it is, honestly, I’ve been eating it right out of the jar! But you can easily adapt it to suit your tastes and utilize ingredients you have to hand already.

  • Swap the brown sugar for white for a more traditional recipe. It will be a little sweeter and won’t have the depth, but it will still be delicious.
  • I used just a small amount of cinnamon for the slightest hint of flavor. If you are a big cinnamon fan, feel free to add in a little more.
  • If you are looking for a sauce with some booze in it, be sure to check out my port and orange cranberry sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use frozen cranberries to make sauce?

You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries to make this recipe. If using frozen, they may take a little longer to start to burst, but otherwise the recipe remains the same.

How long does it keep?

Once the brown sugar cranberry sauce has cooled completely to room temperature, spoon it into a sealable jar and keep it in the fridge. It will keep well for up to up to 2 weeks. You can serve it straight out of the fridge, at room temperature, or gently reheat it on the stovetop.

Can you freeze it?

Freezing cranberry sauce is a great option, especially if you have leftovers. Place the cooled sauce into sealable freezer bags or an airtight container and it will keep well for up to 2 months. Thaw the frozen sauce in the fridge overnight or gently reheat on the stovetop.

How do you thicken cranberry sauce?

Cranberries contain pectin which helps to set the sauce as it cools, and turns the consistency more jam like. If you want to serve the sauce soon after you’ve made it, it will be a little runnier. If you want it to be thicker, mix together a teaspoon of cornstarch with a teaspoon of water and mix well, before stirring into the cranberries at the end of cooking.

Overhead shot of the cranberry sauce in a small bowl with some fresh rosemary.

Serving Suggestions

This cranberry sauce is perfect for your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, serve with whole roasted turkey or chicken, pork or beef. The leftovers are also a great way to add flavor to other dishes too, like baked cranberry chicken. Use it to make brie and cranberry crostini for an appetizer and of course, it’s great in turkey sandwiches!

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Take care not to overcook the cranberries, you want to take them off of the heat once they are popped. If you overcook them, the sauce can become bitter and too thick.
  • I think this has cranberry sauce with brown sugar has the perfect balance of sweetness. Taste it when it’s done and add a little honey, maple syrup or other liquid sweetener. If you add granulated sugar you can end up with a grainy sauce.
Overhead shot of the cranberry brown sugar sauce in a small mason jar.

More easy side dishes

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Close up of brown sugar cranberry sauce in a small serving pot.

Cranberry Sauce with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon

Easy and quick to make with just 3 ingredients, this homemade cranberry sauce is made with brown sugar and cinnamon for a rich and complex flavor.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Salt, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 8 servings (about 2 cups)
Calories: 124kcal
Author: Betty Davies

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 sprig rosemary (optional)

Instructions

  • Add the cranberries, water, brown sugar and cinnamon to a small pot.
  • Place on a medium heat and stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Allow the cranberries to come to a simmer stirring occasionally.
  • Simmer for around 5 minutes until the cranberries start to pop.
  • Take off the heat, place a rosemary sprig on top of the cranberries and let cool.

Notes

  • Take care not to overcook the cranberries, you want to take them off of the heat once they are popped. If you overcook them, the sauce can become bitter and too thick.
  • I think this has cranberry sauce with brown sugar has the perfect balance of sweetness. Taste it when it’s done and add a little honey, maple syrup or other liquid sweetener. If you add granulated sugar you can end up with a grainy sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

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