suggested video
suggested video

Cranberry Jelly: the easy side recipe for a delicious jellied cranberry sauce

Total time: 30 Min
Difficulty: Low
By Cookist
Fresh cranberries
4 cups
2 cups
2 cups

Cranberry jelly is a fixture on most Thanksgiving and Christmas tables, and it's no wonder. This sweet-tart sauce goes so well with roasted turkey, ham, and other classic holiday fare.

You only need 3 ingredients to make jellied cranberry sauce, you don't even have to use pectin or gelatin because cranberries simmer for so long that they burst and release their natural pectin which thickens the jelly. Even kitchen novices will be able to make an amazing cranberry jelly to serve as side with a homemade Thanksgiving dinner.

Although this recipe share more or less the same main ingredients of the classic cranberry sauce which is smooth and fluid, the cranberry jelly is thick, wiggly and has the same shape of the mold where it is placed, like for a can, or jar.

This recipe is also far tastier than store-bought versions, so you'll definitely want to learn how to make homemade jellied cranberry sauce before the holiday season rolls back around to serve it as a great Thanksgiving side dish.

How to Make Cranberry Jelly

Making cranberry jelly is easier than you may think. Start by cooking water and cranberries over medium-high heat, let it boil and then simmer for up 30 minutes. Make sure to keep stirring regularly.

Next, strain well the mixture, add the sugar and cook over medium-high heat for no more than 4 minutes. Finally, pour the cranberry sauce into a mold and let it set in the fridge.

If you're too intimidated to unmold the jellied cranberry sauce you can also serve it straight from the container.


Tips for Homemade Cranberry Jelly

Fresh cranberries taste much better than frozen, but frozen will work in a pinch. You can also use cranberry juice. To do this, bring 4 cups of juice with 6 ½ cups of sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Add in 6 ounces of pectin, and boil for another minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a mold, then refrigerate to set.

If you're worried that your jellied cranberry sauce won't thicken enough, you can add liquid pectin when you're bringing to a boil ingredients.

If you're using fresh cranberries, make sure to wash them before you get started.

If your cranberry jelly is too thick, add a little bit of water or cider.

Make your cranberry jelly sugar-free by substituting your preferred sweetener and adding in 1 ¼ to 1 ½ teaspoon of unflavored gelatin to the mixture.

There are many variations to try. Add orange essence or vanilla extract to your jelly, or substitute brown sugar for white sugar. You can also grate in some ginger or add a dash of brandy for extra flavor.

How to Unmold Cranberry Jelly

Run a sharp knife around the edge of the mold to loosen the jelly. Put the dish you'll be serving the jelly over the mold, then holding the plate firmly in place, invert the plate and the mold. Wet a clean towel with warm water and place the towel over the mold. Shake the mold until you feel the jelly begin to separate from the mold, then remove the mold.

What to Serve with Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Jellied cranberry sauce is usually served as part of a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas spread. It's delicious with Thanksgiving turkey, glazed ham, roast pork, roasted chicken, and even beef.

Spread it over a dinner roll. You can use leftovers to make muffins, sweet breakfast breads, on sandwiches, as a glaze for meats, and so much more!

How to Store and Freeze Leftover Cranberry Jelly

Keep leftover cranberry jelly covered and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

For long-term storage, place the jellied cranberry sauce in an airtight container and enjoy it within 2 to 3 months.


Cook the water and the cranberries in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring regularly.

Strain the cranberry mixture through a sieve, making sure to press on the berries to release the juices.

Pour the sugar into the strained cranberry mixture and cook over medium-low heat for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the cranberry sauce into a mold and place it in the fridge to set.


To defrost frozen jellied cranberry sauce, defrost it in the fridge overnight.

Every dish has a story
Find out more on Cookist social networks
api url views