How Can I Thicken My Cranberry Sauce?

Last Updated on April 30, 2023 by Lauren Beck

Are you tired of serving runny cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with achieving the perfect consistency for their cranberry sauce. 

Luckily, there are a few easy ways to thicken your cranberry sauce and prevent it from turning into a soupy mess.

How Can I Thicken My Cranberry Sauce?

  • Add cornstarch: Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Add the mixture to your cranberry sauce and stir well. The sauce will thicken as it cooks.
  • Use gelatin: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin over 1 tablespoon of cold water. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then add it to your cranberry sauce. Heat the sauce until the gelatin dissolves.
  • Puree some of the cranberries: Use an immersion blender or transfer a portion of the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan and stir well.

How To Prevent Runny Cranberry Sauce?

  • Don’t add too much liquid: If you’re using a recipe that calls for a lot of liquid, try reducing the amount of liquid to thicken the sauce.
  • Cook the cranberries longer: The longer you cook the cranberries, the thicker the sauce will become. Just be careful not to overcook them, or your sauce will become too thick.
  • Use less sugar: Sugar can thin out cranberry sauce, so try reducing the amount of sugar you use.

Can You Reheat Cranberry Sauce to Thicken?

Yes, you can reheat cranberry sauce to thicken it. As the sauce heats up, the liquid will evaporate, making the sauce thicker. Just be sure to stir it frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

How To Make a Cranberry Sauce?


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. Rinse the cranberries and pick out any stems or bruised berries.
  2. Combine the orange juice, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Add the cranberries and return the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and let the sauce cool.

Tips for Making Cranberry Sauce

bowl of cranberry sauce
  • Use fresh cranberries for the best flavor and texture.
  • Add orange zest for extra flavor.
  • Don’t overcook the cranberries, or they’ll turn to mush.
  • Let the sauce cool before serving to allow it to thicken.

Can I Use Frozen Cranberries to Make This Cranberry Sauce Recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen cranberries to make cranberry sauce. Just be sure to thaw them first and drain any excess liquid.

Can I Substitute the Orange Juice With Another Kind of Juice?

Yes, you can use another kind of juice, such as apple or pomegranate juice, instead of orange juice. Just be aware that it may affect the flavor of the sauce.

Why Add the Cornstarch/Water Mixture?

Cornstarch to cranberry sauce helps thicken it by absorbing the liquid and forming a gel-like consistency. It’s a common thickener used in many recipes and is easy to use [1].


With these simple tips and tricks, you can transform your runny cranberry sauce into a thick and flavorful side dish that everyone will enjoy. Remember to use fresh cranberries, experiment with different ingredients, and enjoy the delicious results!


Lauren Beck
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