Zesty Cranberry Sauce

If you’re following along with the Thanksgiving prep schedule / WGC menu, you know that cranberry sauce can be made days ahead of time so it’s one less thing to worry about come Thanksgiving day! So let’s make some!

Zesty Cranberry Sauce from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Here’s the deal, I love taking a shortcut from the store but I draw the line at cranberry sauce. It’s embarrassingly easy to make so let’s get it out of the way this weekend and then keep it refrigerated until the big day on Thursday. According to my husband cranberry is the most important part of the side dish game on Thanksgiving (I’m partial to gravy) but hey, to each their own! This recipe is literally 5 ingredients and takes almost no time to whip up.

PS – are you thinking of putting this on your Thanksgiving menu? Check out the full What’s Gaby Cooking menu here along with the master prep schedule to keep things organized and on track!
Zesty Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 9 minutes

Yield: Serves 6-8

Zesty Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. In a large pot combine the equal parts water and sugar and bring to a boil until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the fresh cranberries, turn heat to medium low, and let simmer until the cranberries start to gently pop, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add the orange zest and nutmeg. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool. The cranberry sauce will thicken as it continues to cool.
Photography by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipes by What’s Gaby Cooking


Don't know what to make,
or how to make it?
I've got you covered! Check out all my recipes here
recipe index


  1. I just love fresh cranberry sauce & could eat it all year long. Love the idea of adding it to muffin batter 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving! xo

  2. Wow, what a sauce! Unfortunately, I was a kid who loved the canned junk, but I’m starting to “class up” my taste for cranberry sauce as an adult, haha! This looks beautiful and full of flavor, Gaby. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. Gaby – could this recipe be made a day or two ahead of time or would you recommend making it the day of? Thanks!!

    1. you can totally make it ahead of time and take it out the day of Thanksgiving! That’s what I always do 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *