Easy Cranberry Jelly Recipe

This Easy Cranberry Jelly recipe calls for only 3 ingredients and only 20 minutes to make. With frozen cranberries, sugar and apple juice, its a perfect side dish for the holiday season.

jar of Cranberry Jelly

Whether you’re making Smoked Turkey or Slow Cooker Ham, traditional cranberry sauce is a classic for Thanksgiving dinner or as a side dish for Christmas dinner.

Way better than the canned stuff, this is a must-have for your holiday table or your thanksgiving table. It’s perfect for making ahead, and is great for leftovers.

While it isn’t the most elaborate dish on the holiday table, it’s quite often store-bought. Yet this easy recipe will prove that it’s so simple to make, and tastes so much better when homemade.

What You’ll Love about this Recipe:

  • EASY RECIPE – Takes just 3 simple ingredients and a cooking time of just 20 minutes on the stovetop. The easiest thing to make actually.
  • HEALTHIER – With no additives, preservatives nor high fructose corn syrup – this is a much healthier side dish when compared to the canned version from the grocery store.
  • DELICIOUS – You’ll love the real fruit taste. Sweet and tart, you’ll be amazed at the rich flavor!
bowl of food, with Cranberry Jelly

Ingredients Required

I wasn’t kidding when I said this jellied cranberry sauce recipe was a 3 ingredients recipe. Check out the printable recipe card below for the simple steps to make.

  • Frozen Cranberries – the key ingredient
  • Granulated Sugar – to sweeten the tartness of the cranberries
  • Apple Juice – liquid also adds some sweetness

PRO TIP: There is no liquid pectin in this recipe because cranberries actually contain enough natural pectin to gel and set on their own.

food on a table, for Cranberry Jelly

How to Make Jellied Cranberry Sauce

This homemade homemade cranberry sauce recipe takes 3 basic ingredients. Just make sure you allow time for it to set and chill.

Note: Before you begin, make sure to wash jars in hot soapy water before using.

First, add your whole cranberries and white sugar into a medium saucepan on the stove. Then measure juice and add it as well.

Bring it to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring the mixture.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 

The next step is to press the cooked cranberry sauce through a fine mesh strainer (or a fine-mesh sieve) with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.

Make sure you’re scraping off the outside of the strainer to get all that thicker juice stuck to the bottom.

steps to make Easy Cranberry Jelly

Pour the sauce into Mason Jars. Cover and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours to let it form and set.

Place jars under warm water for 20 seconds. Run a butter knife around the inside of the jar to loosen the jellied cranberry sauce.

Slice this delicious homemade cranberry sauce, and enjoy still chilled or room temperature. 

Making Canned Cranberry Sauce

I think all kids loved to see that wiggly jiggly cranberry relish fall out of the can in one piece. About as much as it is to slice that jelly with it’s signature rings formed by the can.

Sometimes this perfect holiday side dish isn’t the same without a fancy mold, am I right?

You can make this recipe and replicate canned cranberry sauce simply by allowing it to refrigerate and form inside an old can (thoroughly cleaned of course).

  • Use a tin can instead of a jar to set.
  • A Jelly Mold can be used as well.
jar of Cranberry Jelly

Substitutions And Additions

  • Can I use Fresh Cranberries for this recipe? Yes you can use fresh whole berries, just make sure they are ripe cranberries. You’ll also have to make sure the tart berries are washed, dried and the bad ones have been taken out.
  • Add a Pinch of Nutmeg when cooking, to give it a warm flavour.
  • Add a pinch of Orange Zest when cooking, for a citrus taste.
  • I haven’t tried this recipe with brown sugar instead of white sugar. Yet I don’t see a reason why you couldn’t swap it out.

What to Serve with Jellied Cranberry Sauce

There is truly so many options, whether it’s a holiday meal or a Sunday dinner such as Air Fryer Turkey Breast, Rosemary Garlic Pork Roast or Slow Cooker Boneless Turkey Breast.

Yet here are our favorite holiday recipes and the perfect complement to serve with this homemade cranberry sauce for great success.

food on a table, with Cranberry Jelly

Can You Make this Ahead of Time?

Yes, and it’s recommended. You have to make this fresh cranberry sauce at least 2 hours ahead of time to allow it to form and set.

As long as it’s refrigerated in a well-sealed container, you can make this up to a week ahead of time.

Since the holiday are chaotic enough, it’s nice to have a recipe that you can get out of the way so far in advance.


Not only can you make this ahead of time, store leftover cranberry jelly in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze it up to 6 months.

Leftover Suggestions

Now that we know cranberry jelly can be used for such a long time after making, it’s time to enjoy this tasty leftover cranberry sauce after its used for your thanksgiving menu.

Not only can you have a full holiday meal the next day, this best cranberry sauce is a staple ingredient for leftover turkey sandwiches!

You can also use this homemade cranberry jelly in our Pepper Jelly Cranberry Glazed Ham recipe. Just swap out the a can of cranberry sauce with your own cranberry sauce.

In fact, this best cranberry sauce recipe can be used in all kinds of cranberry jelly recipes!

More Cranberry Recipes

jar of food, with Cranberry Jelly

Homemade Cranberry Jelly

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

This Easy Cranberry Jelly recipe is made with frozen cranberries, sugar and apple juice. In 20 minutes you'll have perfect holiday side dish.


  • 16oz frozen cranberries
  • 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup apple juice


  1. Add your cranberries, sugar, and apple juice into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, occasionally stirring the mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 
  2. Press the cranberry sauce through a fine mesh strainer with a rubber spatula. Make sure you’re scraping off the bottom of the sifter to get all that thicker juice stuck to the bottom.
  3. Pour the sauce into a mason jar. Cover and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours to let it set. 
  4. Place the jar under hot water for 20 seconds. Run a butter knife around the inside of the jar to loosen the jellied cranberry sauce.
  5. Slice the cranberry sauce, and enjoy. 


    • This recipe will last in the fridge for up to one week. If you want, you can actually can this recipe, which will last much longer.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 2gSugar: 36gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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food on a table, with Easy Cranberry Jelly

Created by Tammi Roy

Tammi Roy is the founder of My Organized Chaos, a Canadian food and lifestyle blog. She lives in Alberta, Canada and is the mom of three beautiful teenage girls. Tammi’s passions are her family, creating and sharing delicious recipes, travelling and photography. Learn more about Tammi.

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