This Slow Cooker Crockpot Cranberry Sauce recipe allows you to say goodbye to stove-side stirring and hello to hands-free, flavorful magic. This homemade version features the flavors of cinnamon and oranges. Whether you’re preparing for a holiday feast, a special dinner, or simply seeking a delicious accompaniment for your favorite dishes, the slow cooker comes to the rescue.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Convenience: This recipe is incredibly convenient. You can add the ingredients, set it, and forget it. This is especially useful when you have a busy kitchen on holidays or during meal prep.
- Hands-Off Cooking: Slow cooking is virtually hands-off. Once you’ve combined the ingredients, you can let the slow cooker do the work, allowing you to focus on other aspects of meal preparation.
- Even Cooking: Slow cookers provide even and consistent heat, which helps ensure that the cranberry sauce cooks evenly and thoroughly without scorching.
- Large Batch: Using a Crockpot can accommodate large batches of cranberry sauce, making it a great option when you need to prepare a substantial amount for a crowd or for canning.
- Saves Stovetop Space: During holiday meals, stovetop space can be at a premium. This method frees up the stovetop for other dishes.
- Enhanced Flavor: Slow cooking allows the cranberries to simmer and meld with the other ingredients, resulting in a richer and more intense flavor.
- No Stirring Required: Unlike stovetop versions that may require frequent stirring to prevent sticking or burning, preparing the dish this way typically requires minimal attention and stirring.
- Keep Warm Function: Your dish can be kept at serving temperature until you’re ready to enjoy it.
Key Recipe Ingredients
- Orange Juice
- Sugar or Sweetener
What Type of Cranberries to Use Fresh vs Frozen
You can use either fresh or frozen in this recipe. If using frozen you don’t have to defrost them, but I recommend rinsing off any ice crystals if present.
How to Make the Recipe Without Sugar
You can omit the honey in this recipe and opt for sweetening the sauce solely with something like monkfuit. It’s a fruit extract with zero calories and zero carbs.
How to Make Slow Cooker Crockpot Cranberry Sauce
- Add cranberries, orange juice, honey, sugar or sweetener, and cinnamon to slow cooker.
- Slow cook for 3-4 hours on High or 7-8 hours on Low.
- Remove the sauce and chill/refrigerate.
How to Thicken Cranberry Sauce/Runny Cranberry Sauce
- Using granulated sweetener helps with thickening cranberry sauce (it is used in this recipe).
- The sauce will also thicken after it’s refrigerated and chilled properly.
- If you are still struggling: In a small bowl, mix 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water to create a slurry. Slowly pour the slurry into the runny cranberry sauce while stirring continuously. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil and simmer for a few minutes, allowing it to thicken. Continue to stir.
How to Take the Bitterness Out
This recipe helps with that, but if you are still struggling to meet the flavor you are looking for, here are some tips.
- Add Sweetener: The most straightforward way to counteract bitterness is to add sweetener. Start with a small amount of sugar, honey, maple syrup, or another sweetening agent, and gradually increase until the bitterness is balanced to your taste.
- Citrus Zest and Juice: The natural acidity in citrus fruits, such as orange, lemon, or lime, can help counteract bitterness. Add a bit of citrus zest and juice. Start with a small amount and adjust to your liking.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar has a richer flavor compared to white sugar and can add depth to the sauce. Try adding a little brown sugar to reduce bitterness while enhancing the overall taste.
- Fruit Puree: You can mellow the bitterness by adding a fruit puree. Apples, pears, or even a mashed banana can work well to sweeten and balance the sauce.
- Alcohol: A splash of alcohol, such as brandy or cognac, can add complexity and reduce bitterness. Remember that alcohol can cook off during simmering, leaving behind the flavor without the alcohol content.
- Dilution: If the cranberry sauce is too bitter due to over-concentration, you can dilute it by adding more liquid. Water or fruit juice will work.
- Mild Sweet Fruits: Consider adding mild, sweet fruits, like diced apples or pears, which can blend with the cranberries and balance the flavors.
Cool the Sauce
Allow the sauce to fully cool prior to chilling it.
I allow the sauce to chill for at least 2 hours in advance of serving.
Can You Make it Ahead?
This is the perfect dish to make ahead because properly stored it will last in the fridge for 7 days.
How to Store It
Store leftovers tightly covered and sealed in plastic or glass in the refrigerator.
Store the cranberry sauce tightly covered and sealed and it will last up to a year. It keeps it’s optimal freshness for 2 months.
Pair With these Side Dish Recipes
Pair With these Main Dish Recipes
Slow Cooker Turkey Legs
Slow Cooker Turkey Wings
Slow Cooker Boneless Turkey Breast
Smothered Turkey Wings
Baked Crab Legs
Baked Turkey Wings
Southern Baked Ham With Pineapple
Air Fryer Turkey
Air Fryer Baked Ham
Cajun Roasted Turkey
Air Fryer Cornish Hens
More Cranberry Sauce
Slow Cooker Crockpot Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker. (You may elect to add the sugar and sweeteners at the end so that you can adjust to taste.)
- Cook on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 7-8 hours.
- Taste repeatedly and adjust sweetener and spices as necessary.
- Chill for 2 hours to thicken and if you prefer chilled cranberry sauce.