>U Mom Knows Best: How To Make Cranberry Sauce From Dried Cranberries

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

How To Make Cranberry Sauce From Dried Cranberries

Homemade cranberry sauce is a must for Thanksgiving. While fresh cranberries are the best, you can also make a delicious cranberry sauce from dried cranberries. 

 The Thanksgiving meal is not complete without homemade cranberry sauce. None of that canned cranberry sauce, that looks like a blob of jello for me. While the cranberry sauce that comes out of the can may be easier to prepare, it does not compare to fresh homemade cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries. A Cranberry sauce recipe that you make yourself tastes so much better and is not made with corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Yep, that canned cranberry stuff is loaded with unhealthy amounts of sugar. 

When you make cranberry sauce at home, you can control the amount of sugar. If you are looking for a low sugar cranberry sauce recipe, check out my recipe for low sugar cranberry sauce made in the pressure cooker. This is the easiest way to make homemade cranberry sauce ever. Once you see how easy it is to make cranberry sauce, you will never buy store-bought cranberry sauce again.

Can you make cranberry sauce from dried cranberries?

 The past 18 months have made grocery shopping a challenge. First the virus pandemic panic shopping, then shortage of workers, and now supply issues. You just never know what is going to be out of stock at your grocery store. The other day my store had no packages of baby carrots and store shelves had bare spots. So if you are unable to find fresh cranberries, you can make cranberry sauce from dried cranberries and the taste is the same. Dried cranberries were once fresh cranberries so they cook up the same when making a DIY cranberry sauce. Even the texture is the same.

When life hands you cases of dried cranberries

When you run a food pantry, you sometimes get an abundance of food items that may be hard to give out. So you have to get creative with the government surplus food that you receive at the food pantry. I have shared my adventures of carrot recipes from the pallets of carrots we received last year and recently all the different ways I cooked beets beyond homemade beet powder. So when we received 4 cases of dried cranberries, in single-size servings, I had to figure out how to make cranberry sauce from dried cranberries.

 We gave out plenty of the dried cranberries at our last food pantry and we had about 800 small packages of cranberries left in the food bank. Since this month's food pantry is near Thanksgiving, I knew that cranberry sauce would be a good item to include in the food boxes. In the past, we would have the cans of cranberry sauce to giveaway but this year, the food pantry shelves had none. So I decided to get creative with the dried cranberries and make packages with the ingredients to make homemade cranberry sauce. One of the food pantry rules, for food safety, is we can't give away homemade food. So I had to figure out a way to make a simple recipe to make cranberry sauce from dried cranberries.

Ingredients for cranberry sauce made from dried cranberries

+ Dried Cranberries

+ Lemon Juice

+ Sugar

+ Small Orange

+ Water

Unusual food pantry items we giveaway

 Like I said earlier, we get an abundance of food items from our food pantry deliveries that we can't always give away. One of those unusual items was single-serve lemon juice packages, those little ones that you get with your tea. Last year, a member of our church, who has a trucking company, donated a load of institutional food items. This donation included 10 cases of those little lemon juice packages. I knew that these would be perfect for the cranberry sauce recipe packs.

 Then I had several coupons for free Halos that were about to expire. So I purchased the Halos Mandarins and sandwich bags. Then I got to work creating the recipe using the dried cranberries and lemon juice packs. Five of the small packages of cranberries equaled a cup and 4 lemon juice packets equaled a tablespoon of lemon juice. 

Sweetened or unsweetened cranberries

 I had sweetened cranberries but you can use unsweetened, just make sure to increase the sugar to a cup.  I like using sweetened cranberries as they already have sugar in them. So I did not have to include sugar in the packages for making cranberry sauce. That is a good thing as the food pantry client may not have sugar in their pantry.

Water or juice

 I decide to make my cranberry sauce recipe with water as I felt the dried cranberries had plenty of sugar in them. Also, I wanted to have an easy recipe for cranberry sauce for the folks receiving the food boxes, so they would not have to buy any additional ingredients. You can replace the water in this recipe with cranberry juice or orange juice for a sweeter taste.

Do I have to use add an orange to the recipe?

I made a batch of cranberry sauce from the dried cranberries without the orange and while the flavor was delicious, the cranberries were too chewy in the sauce. The small orange helped the dried cranberries become softer and also added a nice flavor to the cranberry sauce. The orange slices blended in well and you could not see them in the sauce.

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How to make cranberry sauce made with dried cranberries

+ Add all ingredients to a saucepan

+ Boil

+ Cook

+ Cool in fridge

 Making homemade cranberry sauce is quite simple. You simply place all the ingredients into a large saucepan. Why a large saucepan for a small number of ingredients? While this recipe only makes about a cup, you want a large pan since you will be bringing the ingredients to a boil, that way the sauce does not splatter on your stove.

 Then you bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 8 minutes. Once you are done cooking the sauce, you pour it into a container and place it in the refrigerator to cool. The cranberry sauce will further thicken as it cools down. The cranberry sauce is ready to eat in a couple of hours.

Uses for cranberry sauce

+ Thanksgiving dinner

+ Add to a turkey sandwich

+ Spread over beet waffles

+ Add to smoothies

+ Spoon over ice cream

+ Stir into homemade yogurt

+ Stir into oatmeal

+ Spread over no-peel apple crisp

 This delicious cranberry sauce recipe has many other uses beyond Thanksgiving dinner. The leftover cranberry sauce can be used as a sweet preserve sauce and makes a great taste over ice cream. If you love the taste of cranberry sauce, make sure to double this recipe!

Check out these other delicious recipes for the holidays

Roasted Rainbow Brussels Sprouts 

Honey Whole Wheat Bread 

The Best Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe

No-Bake High Fiber Breakfast Granola Bars 

Sugar-Free Vegan Cinnamon Rolls 

Make sure to pin this recipe on Pinterest!



Yield: 1 1/4 cup
Author: Mom Knows Best
Homemade cranberry sauce is a must for Thanksgiving. While fresh cranberries are the best, you can also make a delicious cranberry sauce from dried cranberries.


  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 small orange, peel and sliced into orange segments
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. Combine all the ingredients that are included in the bag with the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, stir frequently and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a container. Place the cranberry sauce in the fridge to cool. The cranberry sauce will thicken. Makes about 1 1/4 cups


Tammy said...

I’ve always wanted to make my own cranberry sauce. Thanks for sharing

AiringMyLaundry said...

This looks delicious. I have never tried to make my own cranberry sauce, but I should!

alfonzowrods said...

aaaaaahhhhh omg this looks so dastardly delectable yum.
thanks for the tips and tricks shared.

alita said...

I just got dried cranberries from a friend. Now, I can make my own cranberry sauce! Thanks for this

Jenn @ EngineerMommy said...

Is there anything more iconic of the holidays than cranberry sauce? Would love to try this recipe.

Richelle Milar said...

This looks like a really delicious recipe! Thanks for sharing this to us! I will surely try this!

Gervin Khan said...

It looks delicious, and I must try making this at home. Yum!

Ruth I said...

I would love to try making this. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

仙妮 said...

Ohh wow....love this & saved it as my reference, gonna be making it as I love cranberries. Cheers Siennylovesdrawing

Kathy said...

This is great to know. I've never actually made my own before yet. I'd love to try though.

alita said...

I would love to try and make my own cranberry sauce this year.

Beth said...

We've been making cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries for years, but I'm glad to know we can use dried cranberries too!

Richelle Milar said...

Wow! That looks absolutely delicious! I would really love to try this out!

Christy G said...

I love using dried cranberries in my chicken salad. But I wouldn't have ever thought that you could make cranberry sauce out of them.

Marysa said...

This is a neat idea. I didn't realize that dried cranberries could be rehydrated enough for a sauce.

Anonymous said...

My SIL always prepares cranberry sauce during Thanksgiving. I'd like to give your recipe a try. -LYNNDEE

Laura JL Books said...

I'm all about making Cranberry sauce from scratch This recipe so simple to make. Which I'm going to try making it for thankgiving this years thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

Gust si Aroma said...

This sauce looks amazing and I think it's great to make it from dried cranberries!

Lavanda Michelle said...

I look so forward to making this for the holidays. It looks delicious.

Anita Garcia said...

My daughter asked if it was possible to make cranberry sauce with dried cranberries for Thanksgiving as we have a big bag of them. I wasn't sure so I looked it up and found this recipe. Going to give it a try this year. I can't wait!

Mom Knows Best said...

Yes, you can freeze this recipe. I have some in my freezer from last year and will use it this Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, MKB!!

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