Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

16 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce is an easy recipe for the must have holiday dinner sauce with fresh cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice, sugar, and cinnamon. 

Cranberry Sauce is a must have Side Dish for any Thanksgiving Spread. With this easy recipe, you don’t have sacrifice precious cooking time or fall back on the canned stuff.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce in crockpot


Homemade Cranberry Sauce is one of those easy Thanksgiving recipes that gets overlooked because our stove top and our to-do list are overflowing. This crockpot recipe saves time and cooking space so you can focus other holiday side dishes like Mashed PotatoesDinner Rolls, and Baked Mac and Cheese, without having to rely on the canned kind.

Crockpot Cranberry Sauce is the perfect make ahead side dish because it only gets better with time. Throw it in the slow cooker in the morning and let it simmer on warm all day, or make it up to 3 days ahead for an easy side dish ready to serve when your Roast Turkey is carved.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce ingredients in crockpot

This tasty, easy Thanksgiving recipe is made with 5 simple ingredients with no need for blending or thickeners. Cranberries have a natural pectin that will thicken your sauce as it cools and the orange juice adds natural sweetness. Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar, or add other flavorings, depending on your individual tastes!

Squeeze fresh orange juice for an inexpensive way to bring maximum fresh flavor. Plus by making your own orange juice,  you can grate orange zest for an extra boost of freshness. If you want a less tart Cranberry Sauce, cut the orange juice by half and use water instead. You could also use half red wine and half orange juice for a deeper, richer sweet tart bite.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce serving on Thanksgiving plate

Use fresh or frozen cranberries in this simple recipe for Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce. If you use frozen cranberries, no need to thaw before adding to the crock pot. If the water from the frozen berries keeps your sauce from thickening, make a cornstarch slurry and stir in during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Just because Cranberry Sauce is traditional Thanksgiving fare, doesn’t mean it’s only a seasonal thing. With frozen cranberries, you can make this sauce all year long to serve with all your favorite savory recipes for comfort food. Homemade Cranberry Sauce makes a great sandwich spread (try it on the Ross Geller Moist Maker!) or as a topping for savory brunch casseroles.


Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce in serving bowl


  • Apple: Make Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce by adding 3-4 large apples, peeled and diced, to your cranberry mixture. Try any variety apples you like in Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce, like Red Delicious, Fuji, or Braeburn apples.
  • Spices: Use a whole cinnamon stick instead of ground cinnamon or add a tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice. Make a spice satchel with cardamom pods, star anise, whole cloves, and pink or black peppercorns for a spicy, savory finish to your Cranberry Sauce. 
  • Flavors: You can use more additional flavors like vanilla extract, chopped toasted pecans or walnuts, a ½ cup red wine, or fresh grated ginger root.
  • Sugar: Instead of white granulated sugar, you can replace it with a ¼ cup maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, or just use all brown sugar. Maple syrup and honey are very sweet and flavorful so only use up to a ¼ cup so you don’t overpower the cranberry flavor with them.



  • Serve: You can keep Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce on the warm setting for up to 4 hours, or keep at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Serve Cranberry Sauce warm or chill before serving to thicken.
  • Store: Cool Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce to room temperature before storing to reduce moisture collection in container. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  • Freeze: Once cooled, transfer Cranberry Sauce to a sealed container, leaving a ½ inch space between lid and sauce. Freeze sauce for up to 6 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator and stir will before serving.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce in crockpot with spoon

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Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce is an easy recipe for the must have holiday dinner sauce with fresh cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice, sugar, and cinnamon. 
Yield 16 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar , packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 24 ounces fresh cranberries


  • Add ingredients to a medium slow cooker and toss well.
  • Cook on high heat for 3 hours.
  • Remove lid, stir well and continue cooking, uncovered, for 30 minutes on high heat.


Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 57IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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