Crockpot cranberry sauce is a an easy, traditional holiday dish. Fresh cranberries slow cooked together with orange juice and rind combine to make a wonderful treat!
They say the devil is in the details. Well, sometimes just remembering to pay attention to the details is devilish. Cranberry sauce is one of those holiday dinner details I always seem to remember about at the last minute. For those moments, there is always canned sauce. But, it can’t compare to homemade.
This easy recipe is the anti-can! No devilish details here. It is a very easy and straightforward dish that can be made in advance and frozen so that you are never caught without it again.
How to Make Cranberry Sauce In your Slow Cooker
To make this simple dish you will need:
- fresh cranberries
- orange juice
- cinnamon sticks
- orange peel
Start by rinsing your cranberries in cool water. It is easiest to place them into a strainer or colander for this step so that you can take a quick look at them and make sure they are all in good condition. After they are rinsed, place all cranberries into your slow cooker.
Add sugar, water, orange juice, cinnamon sticks and orange peel to your slow cooker, cover and cook on low for about 5 hours. During this time, I generally just walk away from the crockpot. However, if you have a pot that runs hot and sometimes burns things, you may want to stir your cranberries every couple of hours or so.
After about 5 hours, check on your sauce. If you would like it to thicken up a bit, cook for an additional half an hour with the lid off. If most of your berries are still whole, using the back of a spoon to smush some of them will help to thicken your sauce as well.
When cooking is finished, allow your sauce to cool and remove cinnamon stick and oranges peels. Place into airtight containers or ziplock bags and store in the refrigerator or freezer. This sauce will last about a week or so in the refrigerator and up to a few months in the freezer.
Why Use a Crockpot For This Recipe
I can’t think of any reason NOT to make this in a slow cooker! However, here are some reasons why your crockpot is best for this dish:
- By making this dish yourself, you know exactly what goes into it. Absolutely nothing artificial and no preservatives here!
- Slow cooking tends to bring out flavors differently than other kinds of cooking. In the case of this sauce, the flavors of cinnamon and slightly bitter orange peel really add to the overall taste.
- Using your crockpot to make a side dish like this leaves more space in the oven for other things. If you already have an entree, appetizer and dessert going in the oven, calling on your slow cooker to make this dish can be lifesaving!
- When cooking in your crockpot, you can use either parchment paper or a slow cooker liner leaving you with virtually zero clean up!
- Crockpots are a great way to cook with children! Since they don’t get super hot the way ovens do AND since you generally don’t turn them on until all ingredients are in, they are very family friendly. (Please note that you CAN still burn yourself with a slow cooker so always supervise children carefully anytime you are in the kitchen!).
Easy Cranberry Hints & Hacks
- If you want to thicken up your sauce a bit, cook for about half an hour with the lid off.
- This dish freezes really well. This fact makes cranberry sauce the perfect make-in-advance dish. One less thing to worry about on the day of!
- Slow cooker liners are an optional but helpful hack whenever using a crockpot. They allow you to cook with little to no cleanup. I like to buy mine in bulk for a better per-piece price. Click here to see what I buy.
- In the market for a new slow cooker? Here is the one I am currently lusting after.
Lazy Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
- 3.5 quart slow cooker or larger
- measuring cups
- slow cooker liner or parchment paper (optional)
- 24 oz fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 large or two small cinnamon sticks
- ½ orange peel
- rinse cranberries off in cool water and place in slow cooker
- Add sugar, water and orange juice and stir to combine
- burry large pieces of orange rind and cinnamon stick in cranberry mixture
- cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
- after at least 5 hours of cooking, use a large spoon to smash some (or all – your choice) of the cranberries.
- If sauce is not as thick as you would like, leave cover off of crockpot for last half hour of cooking
- Remove orange peel and cinnamon stick
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If you try this recipe, please let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts!