Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce – Culinary Hill

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When stove-top and oven space are in high demand, Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce is a no-brainer. This classic recipe uses fresh or frozen cranberries and orange juice for extra sweetness and flavor.

A slow cooker full of cranberry sauce.

 

In my opinion, Cranberry Sauce has one purpose on your holiday table: To cut the richness of everything else. And it’s different from the rest of the menu, too. For one thing, it isn’t made with butter! And, it can be (but is not always) served cold.

I love orange juice in homemade cranberry sauce. The orange juice tastes sweet against the tartness of the cranberries, but the contrast is a welcome one.

Standard cranberry sauce only takes 10 minutes on the stove, but if you don’t have space on your stove, crockpot cranberry sauce is a great idea. This is especially helpful if you need to transport it somewhere and intend to serve the sauce warm.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for slow cooker cranberry sauce.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Cranberries: Use either fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe. Fresh cranberries freeze really well, so stock up when you see them. Add frozen cranberries straight to the crock pot (no thawing needed).
  • Orange zest and juice: Zest the orange first, then juice it for the sauce. Using orange juice helps create a sweet-tart flavor that balances out the cranberries.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In the bottom of a small slow cooker, add cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest, orange juice, and salt. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Stir the mixture once every hour.
Ingredients in a slow cooker to make cranberry sauce.
  1. Remove the lid and mash the cranberries with a spoon or masher.
Mashing cranberry sauce in a slow cooker.
  1. Continue to cook on HIGH, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened, about 45 minutes longer.
A slow cooker full of cranberry sauce.
  1. Cover and chill until serving time, up to 3 days in advance.
A bowl of cranberry sauce.

Recipe tips and variations

A plate of roasted trukey, stuffing, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberries.
A Classic Midwestern Thanksgiving: Perfect Roast Turkey, Mashed Potatoes with Turkey Gravy, Classic Bread Stuffing, Vegetable Casserole, Roasted Asparagus, and Cranberry Sauce with Apples.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are cranberries in season?

You’ll start seeing cranberries at grocery stores in November, and they should be stocked all through December. I usually stock up and vacuum-seal a few bags for the freezer because once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Where are cranberries grown?

All of the cranberries in the United States are grown in just 5 states. More than half come from Wisconsin. Massachusetts grows the second largest amount, about 30%, and the rest come from New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.

More cranberry recipes

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

When stove-top and oven space are in high demand, Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce is a no-brainer. This classic recipe uses fresh or frozen cranberries and orange juice for extra sweetness and flavor.

Prep Time 2 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Total Time 12 minutes

Servings 8 servings (¼ cup each)

Course Side Dish

Cuisine American

Calories 99

  • In the bottom of a small slow cooker, add cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest, orange juice, and salt. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, stirring once every hour.

  • Remove the lid and mash the cranberries with a spoon or masher. Continue to cook on HIGH, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened, about 45 minutes longer. Cover and chill until serving time, up to 3 days in advance.

  1. Cranberries: Use either fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe. Fresh cranberries freeze really well, so stock up when you see them. Add frozen cranberries straight to the crock pot (no thawing needed).
  2. Orange zest and juice: Zest the orange first, then juice it for the sauce. Using orange juice helps create a sweet-tart flavor that balances out the cranberries.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 8 servings, ¼ cup each (2 cups total).
  4. Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Serving: 0.25 cupCalories: 99kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 38mgPotassium: 68mgFiber: 2gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 57IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg


Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.




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