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Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

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Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Recipe -- the classic sauce you love, lightly sweetened, and made super easy in the #slowcooker! | #crockpot

My friends have gotten used to the fact that they are always my guinea pigs for trying out new recipes.

It is the rare — very rare — occasion that I bring a dish to a gathering that I have actually tried before. Instead, they have come to expect that I’ll be the eager-beaver-food-blogging-friend who is watching carefully as they taste that first bite, and scrutinizing their expressions, and then peppering them with questions about what they think. Actually, I don’t even have to ask them anymore. They have learned over the years that I want their honest opinions, and they now offer them with flourish and lots of fancy adjectives, which they know is speaking my food blogger love language. ;)

However. That said, I’m hosting Friendsgiving tonight at my place for about 30 or so neighbors. And I decided to make all of my contributions in the slow cooker this year. Partly because I have discovered this year that you totally can (shout out to my slow cooker mashed potatoes yesterday in case you missed them!). And partly because I unabashedly own 3 slow cookers and love to have them all working at the same time. And partly because I just want to hang and chat it up with my friends instead of standing over the stove stirring and multitasking!

That said, since I’m responsible for some of the staples, I did want to test a few of them beforehand to make sure that I don’t royally mess anything up, since it’s Friendsgiving and all. So this weekend, I tossed some cranberry sauce ingredients in my slow cooker to see how they would do. Sure enough, they slow cooked like a charm.

I mean, let’s be real, cranberry sauce could hardly get any easier on the stove. But if you happen to love slow cookers as much as I do and want a stove-free Thanksgiving (or if you at least want to free up some extra space on that stove), you’ve gotta try this one. Here’s my classic recipe, with a few options for various twists…

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Recipe -- the classic sauce you love, lightly sweetened, and made super easy in the #slowcooker! | #crockpot

First off, fresh cranberries are a must.

No judging here if you’re a fan of the stuff in the can. But seriously, making fresh cranberry sauce could not be easier.

So pick up a bag of fresh cranberries and toss them in your slow cooker. Then stir in some water, orange juice, and your desired sweetener. I used coconut sugar this year, but you can use granulated sugar, brown sugar (or a mix of the two), honey, maple syrup, you name it. I like my cranberry sauce slightly tart, which is how I wrote the recipe, but just add in as much as you’d like.

(As a tip, I recommend starting with less sweetener. And then once the cranberries are cooked, give it a taste, and you can then add more if you’d like.)

Once all of the ingredients are in there, simply place the lid on the slow cooker and let it work its magic. (If anyone’s interested, here’s an affiliate link to my slow cooker. This is my regular-sized, no frills, get-the-job-done slow cooker that I have had for years.)

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Recipe -- the classic sauce you love, lightly sweetened, and made super easy in the #slowcooker! | #crockpot

I cooked mine quickly on high heat, which only took a little under 3 hours. But you can also cook these on low and leave them in there for up to 7-8 hours.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Recipe -- the classic sauce you love, lightly sweetened, and made super easy in the #slowcooker! | #crockpot

Use your spoon to mash up the cranberries just a bit to your desired consistency. And they will probably seem very liquid-y, but keep in mind that the sauce will thicken considerably as it cools.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Recipe -- the classic sauce you love, lightly sweetened, and made super easy in the #slowcooker! | #crockpot

I like my cranberry sauce to still be slightly lumpy, so I only mashed it a bit. Feel free at this point to also stir in any extra seasonings if you want, such as a splash or bourbon or red wine, a pinch of ground ginger, a pinch of cinnamon and cloves, some chopped walnuts, or — my favorite — a little splash of vanilla. Or you can just go with the classic recipe, which is — you know — a classic. :)Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Recipe -- the classic sauce you love, lightly sweetened, and made super easy in the #slowcooker! | #crockpot

However you make them, I’m pretty sure that cranberry sauce absolutely can’t get any easier than this slow cooker method. So give it a try, and enjoy those berries!

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Recipe -- the classic sauce you love, lightly sweetened, and made super easy in the #slowcooker! | #crockpot


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Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 180 minutes
  • Total Time: 185 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This slow cooker cranberry sauce could not be easier! Plus it’s super tasty and easy to customize with your desired kind and amount of sweetener.


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, granulated or brown sugar, or your preferred sweetener (adding more/less to taste)
  • optional add-ins: a splash or bourbon or red wine, orange zest, a pinch of ground ginger, a pinch of cinnamon and cloves, some chopped walnuts, or a splash of vanilla extract, store-bought or homemade


  1. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours, or until the cranberries have popped open and the sauce is bubbly.
  3. Taste and stir in any extra sweetener or add-ins if desired.  Serve warm.  (Heads up that the sauce will thicken considerably as it cools.)

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Recipe -- the classic sauce you love, lightly sweetened, and made super easy in the #slowcooker! | #crockpot

By the way, this cranberry sauce would also be great with these two recipes!

Cranberry Orange Cheesecake 3

Cranberry Orange Cheesecake

Cranberry Pistachio Baked Brie |

Cranberry Pistachio Baked Brie

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40 comments on “Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Could cranberry sauce get any easier?  This looks perfect!  

  2. Great to see your blog is back online, Ali!  I make cranberry sauce every year for Thanksgiving… but I love the idea of doing it in the crock pot!  One less pot on my stove! Great idea:) 

  3. Cranberries are easily the most overlooked dish on Thanksgiving, in my opinion. But they’re my favourite! These look completely and utterly dreamy–I am loving the addition of orange juice and zest!

  4. I think you’ve convinced me that I need another slow cooker!

  5. I love cranberry sauce! I am bummed because I can’t get cranberries where I live in Chile. I’m thinking this would be great with raspberries though. What do you think?

  6. Love all the slow cooker recipes over here!

  7. So pretty!!! I love that this is a slow cooker recipe!

  8. I just posted cranberry jam too:) Great idea of making cranberry sauce in slow cooker.

  9. not sure if i can find cranberry fresh here in aussie, but if i do i’ll try it.

  10. I never have had slow cooked cranberries, but they have to be utterly delicious.

  11. You are just like I was many years ago, in the days when I invited people over for dinner.  At the time I was cooking a lot of Chinese food, and would just go through my cookbook, find recipes that sounded good and serve them to my guests.  Never had a single complaint.  So your way of doing things makes perfect sense to me.  And I like the sound of this cranberry sauce.  I’m curious what size your cooker is.  I think mine is too big for a recipe of this size.

  12. I love making homemade cranberry sauce, but hate that it takes up precious room on my stovetop. Never thought of making it in a crockpot. Brilliant! 

  13. I’ll have to try this.  We add one or two minced jalapeños (seeded, deveined and rinsed), to ours. They add a wonderful flavor and give it a nice little kick.

  14. I was looking through slow cooker recipes and stumbled on this one and it got me thinking…do you think this sauce could be canned?

  15. Do you think this could be made the day before and then reheated? Or would the consistency change to much?

  16. I can’t get the tart out of the cranberry sauce. I’ve added additional sugar but it doesn’t seem to cut it enough. Any suggestions?

    • Well it’s definitely supposed to be tart, even with a good amount of sweetener, it’s just how cranberries are. You could try even more sugar though, since everyone’s tastebuds are a little different. That’s all we can think of though, we’re sorry we can’t be more helpful!

  17. Love making fresh cranberry sauce.  This year I switched it up. I added 1 cup Merlot instead of orange juice. An 3 pepper Ancho chili jam. Awesome flavors

  18. This was a ridiculously easy recipe to make. I loved putting them in the pot overnight and having it be done in the morning. Perfect for planning. Taste was also delicious. Tart and a tad sweet.

  19. Just made this and my apartment smells delicious! It was so easy to make and also I liked that it’s easy to adjust to my taste :) 

  20. Ned to feed 22 @ Thanksgiving with cranberry sauce – perhaps just triple the recipe? But what about the liquid? Thank you ~

  21. OMG soooooo delicious! My husband doesn’t like orange and cranberry together so I used apple juice instead of the OJ and subbed port for the water for a boozy slow cooker cranberry sauce. My family likes it pretty sweet, so I kept tasting and adjusting, and wound up using about a cup and a third for 2 lbs of cranberry. Towards the end it looked like there was a lot of liquid, so I just removed the lid of the slowcooker and added 30 mins on low and it thickened quickly. Thank you so much for an awesome recipe – will never be able to look at a can of cranberry sauce again loll!

  22. Looks delicious! Making this one tomorrow morning while I’ve got the turkey on the smoker.

    Keep up the good work!

  23. I love this recipe! I’m a 2nd grade teacher and I make your cranberry sauce with my students. They love it and it’s such a fun experience.

  24. Thanks for the tip on making the cranberry sauce in the crockpot .

  25. I’ve never made cranberry sauce from scratch, and I decided to go with this one. I ended up having to use a little bit more brown sugar, but it turned out AMAZING!!! My cousin who doesn’t like cranberry sauce, actually liked it. Everyone else loved it. Definitely will be saving this recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Can you double the recipe?

  27. Made your cranberry sauce and was a little more creative and added already cooked plum sauce and it taste it yummy.
    The two tardy fruit really complemented each other, I added the Bourbon to give a kick and up’t spices and sweetness a little more, was incredibly good.
    Silvia Wirick

  28. How long can you refrigerate for?

  29. Delicious & super easy!

  30. I’ve made this several times. This year I added orange marmalade – about 1/2 cup. I also added 3 cinnamon sticks! It was amazing!

  31. I made this recipe for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! Very simple recipe to make.