Canning Cranberry Sauce


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I like canning cranberry sauce for my family because it is a side dish we have at most holiday dinners. My family goes back and forth between cranberry sauce and cranberry jelly and they can’t decide which one they like better. There is nothing like fresh cranberry sauce with a nice piece of turkey at Thanksgiving.

Canning Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I love that I know exactly what ingredients are going into my food so having this simple canning cranberry sauce recipe really helps. With just 3-4 ingredients you can have fresh, delicious, safely canned cranberry sauce in your pantry. This recipe comes from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving on page 180.

We actual prefer this recipe without the orange zest but it is good either way. The orange zest is an optional ingredient and it does give the cranberry sauce more of a citrus flavor. I recommend trying the recipe both ways to see which one you prefer.

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Canning Cranberry Sauce

Step by step guide to make and water bath can Cranberry Sauce. This cranberry sauce contains whole cranberries. A little bit of orange zest elevates this delicious cranberry sauce. This recipe comes from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving on page 180.
Yields 4 pints
Water Bath Canning Time 15 mins


  • Clean jars and lids with warm soapy water. Ensure the jars do not have any chips or bubbles in the glass.
  • Put your water bath canner on your stove. Add your canning rack into your water bath canner. Add your pint jars to the water bath canner. They will warm as you heat up the water. Add enough water to cover jars with at least 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a low boil and allow the jars to boil for 10 minutes.
  • In a large stainless steel pot or enameled dutch oven, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil hard for 5 minutes.
    4 cups Granulated Sugar, 4 cups water
  • Add cranberries and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until all the berries burst.
    8 cups Cranberries
    Cranberries being added to a blue enameled dutch oven containing a boiling sugar and water mixture.
  • Continue boiling until liquid begins to sheet from a metal spoon about 15 minutes. (Dip a cold metal spoon into the boiling cranberry mixture. Lift the spoon and hold it horizontally and edge down so that the cranberry mixture runs off the edge. As the cranberry mixture cooks, the drops will become heavier and will drop off the spoon separately but two at a time. When the two drops join together and "sheet" off the spoon, the gel stage has been reached).
  • Stir in orange zest, if using, during the last few minutes of cooking.
    Grated Zest of 1 Large Orange
    White bowl sitting on a wooden cutting board. Hands zesting an orange into the white bowl.
  • Remove your jars from the water bath canner one at a time using your jar lifter. Dump water out of jar into your water bath canner to ensure there is still 2-3 inches of water above your jars.
  • Use funnel and ladle to add hot cranberry sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a de-bubbler and adjust headspace as needed by adding more cranberry sauce.
    Cranberry Sauce being ladled into pint size canning jar using a funnel.
  • Wipe rim to ensure good seal is made with the lid. Center lid on jar and screw the band down to finger tip tight.
    Cranberry Sauce in a blue enameled dutch oven. Pint Jar of cranberry sauce before water bath canning.
  • Place jar in canner using your jar lifter. Repeat steps 7-9 until all cranberry sauce is used. Make sure the jars are completely covered by 2-3 inches of water.
  • If your water is not boiling start your processing time when the water is boiling. Process pint jars for 15 minutes. Set a timer, it makes it much easier to make sure you process for the correct time. When your timer goes off turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Leave the jars in the water for 5 minutes.
  • Lift your canning rack out of the water. Using your jar lifer carefully move the jars onto a wire rack or kitchen towel to allow to cool. When moving the jars try not to tilt them to the side as this could effect the seal of the jars. Allow your jars to cool for 12-24 hours before handling.
  • Once cool, remove the canning rings from the jars. Wash your jars off to ensure there is no food residue on the outside of the jar from processing. Label your jar with the name of the recipe and date. This will help you remember what recipe you used to can and the date will allow you to use the oldest canned goods first.


This recipe comes from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving on page 180.
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Canning, Cranberries, Water Bath Canning

If you prefer your cranberries in a jelly form, I recommend this recipe: Canning Cranberry Jelly

Are you team cranberry sauce or cranberry Jelly? I would love to hear which recipe you enjoy more. I usually make both recipes so my family has different options to choose from depending on what they are in the mood for. Before canning my own cranberry sauce I was never really a fan of the ones you could get at the grocery store. Now I find cranberry sauce refreshing with holiday dinners and it is not an item I skip over anymore.

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