Don’t settle for cranberry sauce from a can! This flavorful cinnamon apple cranberry sauce is super easy to make and can even be made a day or two in advance.

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Homemade cranberry sauce is far superior in flavor than  commercial sauce. It’s very easy to make and you can adapt the recipe as you like it.

How long it takes: 20 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: large saucepan
Servings: makes 4 cups

Overhead of white bowl filled to the brim with cranberry sauce, on tan and white striped cloth.
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Cranberry sauce may be one of my favorite things on the table at Thanksgiving. It doesn’t trump stuffing (obviously), but I really love its tart flavor alongside all the other rich, savory dishes.

Once I made homemade cranberry sauce, I won’t ever go back to the canned sauce. The flavors of this cinnamon apple cranberry sauce are bold, sweet, and sassy, just perfect to spoon over roasted turkey. And isn’t it gorgeous?

Partial front view of cranberry sauce in white bowl with gold rim, with spoon along side and scattered cranberries on striped cloth.

About this cinnamon apple cranberry sauce

The sweetness of the apples perfectly complements the tart cranberries and the cinnamon gives the warm spiciness that goes so well with apples. This is a cooked sauce, not cranberry relish which is made with fresh cranberries that are ground up, not cooked.

There are only a few ingredients: fresh cranberries, apple cider or juice, apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice.

And this cranberry sauce is SO easy to make! All you do is throw everything together in a pan and cook it down until it is nice and thick. Watch out for splatters, stir often, and you’re all set.

A dozen fresh cranberries scattered on striped cloth with bowl of cranberry relish in background.

Ways You Can Change This Cranberry Sauce

  • Use white sugar. I like brown sugar because it adds another layer of flavor but white sugar is just fine, too. If you’re looking to cut back on sugar, try one cup instead of 1 ½ cups. The sauce will be a bit more tart but I often make it that way because we like the tartness.
  • Substitute water. If you don’t happen to have apple cider or apple juice, water works well, too.
  • Omit the allspice. The recipe can be made with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon instead of the combination of spices.

More Cranberry Recipes

Storage Tips

  • Refrigerate: Cover or store cranberry sauce in an airtight container. It will keep 7 to 14 days in the refrigerator. Sauce that has been left out on the counter more than 2 hours should probably be discarded.
  • Freeze: Cranberry sauce can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for at least a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

PS: If you’re looking for an easy Thanksgiving dinner for four, try a sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner with turkey breast, stuffing, potatoes, and asparagus all baked on one pan. You’ll love it! Or cook a turkey breast (even if it’s frozen solid, I kid you not) in your Instant Pot. Perfectly done, flavorful, and fast!

More Thanksgiving Recipes


Easy Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce

4.36 from 34 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Don't settle for cranberry sauce from a can! This flavorful cinnamon apple cranberry sauce is super easy to make and can even be made a day or two in advance!
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  • 5 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • ¾ cup apple cider (or apple juice)
  • 2 cups finely diced apples (about two medium apples) (2 medium apples)
  • 1 ½ cups tightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice


  • Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Sauce tends to spatter so choose a larger pan than you might think.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until apples and cranberries are soft and sauce is thickened.
  • Cool before serving. Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to serve.


  • Works best with a firmer apple like Granny Smith, Gala, or Honeycrisp. Softer apples like Macintosh don’t hold their shape.
  • If desired, omit allspice and substitute an additional ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon.


Serving: 0.25cup, Calories: 106kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 7mg, Potassium: 81mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 28IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.36 from 34 votes (32 ratings without comment)

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  1. KVought says:

    Does this freeze well?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      That should work fine!

  2. Nikki says:

    just made it and I love it. Tastes nice and fresh. i cooled it in the fridge after letting it settle and everyone loved it! Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you. BTW no vinegar smell at al, house smells great!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Great! So glad you liked it! Thank you for your comment. :)

  3. Amanda says:

    So I made this and was very disappointed. It was too acidic and my house now reeks of vinegar. I think the allspice mixed with it made the smell worse. My kids even commented on the smell. I will admit I made the apple pieces to small, but I don’t think larger pieces would have made it any better. I tried adding additional brown and granulated sugar, but it didn’t help. Hot or chilled it was awful so I just poured it down the disposal.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Did you accidentally use apple cider vinegar instead of apple cider? The recipe has no vinegar in it so I’m not sure why it would be acidic/smell like vinegar.

  4. Joe Crocker says:

    Great recipe, taste like pie filling. Hmm i think i am going to try a double crust pie with this for the filling. Maybe i’ll increase the apple content a bit,
    Thanks !!!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you liked it! The pie idea sounds fabulous!

  5. ellenk says:

    This looks good and easy! Do you think bit of orange peel would work out in the recipe? I have a relative who insists that cranberries be served with orange…

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      That would absolutely work! Or, stay tuned for another cranberry sauce recipe (this week most likely) that features oranges. :)

  6. Susan says:

    I assume it doesn’t matter what kind of apples are used? Granny Smiths are likely what I’ll try, unless you suggest something else.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Granny Smiths would be great! I think firm apples would work best (such as a granny smith) rather than a softer apple like a macintosh. I’ll clarify! Thanks for the question!

  7. Patty K says:

    Yes! I love how easy cranberry sauce is to make. Your assistant is SUPER cute! Training him young, I see :)

  8. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    Love homemade cranberry sauce but what I love most about this is your twist with apples. It’s like dessert during the meal. Yum!

  9. denise says:

    cinnamon–not sure I’m into that with cranberry, but it has possibilities. I’ll stick with my tried and true cranberry relish recipe from Grandma. Sometimes, nostalgia wins out over change. :)

  10. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says:

    Anything is better than in a can! This is genius and looks so delicious! :)