This slow cooker cranberry sauce is fresh cranberries, orange, cinnamon and vanilla cooked together in a crock pot to make a bright and flavorful condiment. A quick and easy recipe that is perfect for your holiday meal!
When the holidays roll around every year, my family always requests their favorite dishes including roasted turkey breast, golden brown Thanksgiving stuffing, and this sweet and tart slow cooker cranberry sauce.
I love to host a big meal for my family and friends, but I always run into the issue of not having enough capacity on my stove top and in my oven for a big turkey with all the side dishes and desserts. I’ve solved this problem by using my crock pot to remove some of the burden! This slow cooker cranberry sauce literally takes minutes to put together, and has the perfect blend of flavors. Serve it alongside a dry brined turkey and watch the rave reviews come in!
Table of Contents
Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce Ingredients
This simple slow cooker cranberry sauce recipe only requires a few ingredients.
- Cranberries: I prefer to use fresh cranberries, but frozen cranberries will also work just fine!
- Orange: Cranberries and orange are the ultimate flavor combination. This recipe calls for both orange juice and a strip of orange peel. Use freshly squeezed juice if possible!
- Sugar: I use 1 cup of sugar per bag of cranberries, which is I think is a great ratio between sweet or tart. You can also adjust this amount up or down depending on your personal tastes.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon gives the sauce a rich flavor and a hint of warm spice.
- Water: The water in this recipe makes sure that the cranberries have enough liquid to cook in so that the sauce isn’t overly thick.
- Vanilla: Add a little vanilla extract at the very end of the cooking time for a unique and unexpected flavor complexity.
How Do You Make Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce?
To make slow cooker cranberry sauce place in the slow cooker cranberries, water, orange juice, sugar, orange peal and cinnamon. Then stir everything together. Place the lid on the crock pot, and cook for 3 hours on high, or 6 hours on low, stirring occasionally. During the last 5 minutes of the cooking time, stir in vanilla extract. Let the sauce sit uncovered for at least 15 minutes to thicken up, then serve and enjoy.
Tips For The Perfect Cranberry Sauce
- I typically use a 4 quart slow cooker for this recipe, but if you decide to double or triple the recipe you may want to use a 6 quart crock pot instead.
- Slow cooker cranberry sauce can be made up to 3 days before you’re ready to serve it. Simply store it in a covered container in the refrigerator.
- The cranberry sauce may look a little thin when it comes out of the slow cooker, but will thicken considerably as it cools. If you prefer a very thick sauce, you can uncover the pot during the last 30-45 minutes of the cook time so that some of the water can evaporate.
- Got leftover cranberries on hand? Use them to make my delicious cranberry chicken for dinner!
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a large crowd.
It is possible to overcook cranberry sauce. If it cooks for too long, it can burn because of the sugar content. By stirring the sauce once per hour as the recipe calls for, you will prevent the possibility of it burning.
This sauce can be stored in the freezer in a resealable bag or airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat it on the stove.
You can store your sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
While this homemade cranberry sauce is great as-is, you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Brown Sugar Crock Pot Cranberry: Use brown sugar instead of the granulated sugar.
- Cherry Cranberry: Add 1 cup of coarsely chopped frozen dark cherries to the slow cooker.
- Cranberry Apple: Use apple cider instead of orange juice and water, and add 1 diced peeled apple to the pot.
- Sweet: If you like a sweeter sauce, you can try adding a little maple syrup or honey.
- Spice: You can let the sauce cook with a cinnamon stick which you remove before serving. You could also try a pinch of nutmeg or ground cloves.
- Orange: If you want even more orange flavor, grate a teaspoon of orange zest into the slow cooker.
Once you see how easy it is to make this cranberry sauce, you’ll find yourself adding it to every holiday meal from now on!
Love This Recipe?
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Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange juice freshly squeezed if possible
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 3 inch strip orange peel
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place the cranberries, water, orange juice, sugar, orange peel and cinnamon in a 4 quart slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Stir the sauce once every hour.
- Uncover the slow cooker and stir in the vanilla extract. Cook, uncovered for 5 more minutes.
- Remove the orange peel and discard. Let the sauce sit for at least 15 minutes to thicken. The sauce will continue to get thicker as it cools down. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later use.
- Frozen cranberries will work fine, and they do not need to be thawed first.
- If you like your sauce extra thick, you can cook the sauce for the last 30-45 minutes with the top uncovered.