Go Back
+ servings
homemade cranberry sauce for canning

Cranberry Sauce with water bath canning instructions

This delicious homemade cranberry sauce is made without pectin and is safe for water bath canning! It is the perfect whole berry cranberry sauce for your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners!
4.85 from 26 votes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 5 pints


  • Large pot (for cooking the cranberry sauce)
  • Cheese cloth and kitchen twine OR spice bag
  • Water bath canning equipment: Large pot or electric canner with rack; mason jars and new lids; funnel; dish towels; jar lifter


  • 3 lb fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 oranges, juiced and zested
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-2 star anises
  • 2 tbsp whole cloves
  • pinch of salt


Prepare canning materials (optional)

  • Prepare a boiling water bath and mason jars.
    Place fresh lids in a pan of simmering water until ready to use.

Make the Cranberry Sauce

  • Create a spice bag by place a few cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and star anise on a piece of cheese cloth. Pull up all sides and tie the bag closed with a piece of kitchen twine so that the ingredients are securely within the bag. Set aside.
    *Alternative method* Simply place the whole spices in a spice bag and tie up tightly.
  • In a very large pot on the stove combine cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest and juice, lemon zest and juice and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat while stirring frequently so the the sauce does not scorch. You can simply skim off the foam that develops on top of the fruit.
    Once a boil has been reached, add the spice bag to the pot. Continue to boil over high heat for about 10-15 minutes until the cranberries have all popped and the jam develops a thick consistency.
    *Note* Depending on your stove, pot size and altitude this may take closer to 25 minutes. Just keep an eye on the pot and stir frequently to avoid scorching.
    *Note* If the jam seems too thick before all of the cranberries have popped simply add in another splash of water or fresh orange juice to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency.
  • Once the cranberries have popped and your desired consistency has been reached remove the pot from the heat. Skim any remaining foam off the top.

To store in the fridge:

  • Ladle the cranberry sauce into jars or another airtight container and store in the fridge for 10-14 days.

To process in a water bath canner:

  • Ladle the cranberry sauce into jars (about 5 pints OR 9-10 half pints) leaving about ¼th to ⅓rd inch of headspace.
    Remove air bubbles and wipe the jar rims. Place on new, clean lids and bands and process in a water bath for 10 minutes (adjusting time for altitude).
    Turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the warm water for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a towel on the counter (do not place directly on the counter).
    Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for about 24 hours until all the lids have sealed.
    Store sealed jars in a cool dry place for 12-18 months for best quality.
    *Note* If any of the jars do not seal simply store in the refrigerator and consume within 10-14 days.
Keyword canning, cranberries, Thanksgiving
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!