How to cook fresh cranberries

Updated April 17, 2017

Cranberries are a type of small red fruit that grows in North America. They are commonly sold frozen, dried or canned, so you may not be used to the fresh variety. Fresh cranberries are much more tart and flavourful than the processed kinds. Since fresh cranberries have such a strong taste on their own, they don't require much preparation to enhance their flavour. If you want to cook fresh cranberries, you only have to gently heat them through so they can release their juices.

Place 0.454kg. of fresh cranberries into a strainer. Position the strainer under your faucet and rinse the cranberries with cold water.

Shake the colander gently to remove any excess water. Pat the berries with a paper towel until they are thoroughly dried.

Transfer the cranberries into a large skillet on your hob. Add 1 cup of sugar into the skillet if you want the cranberries to remain very tart; if you want a sweeter taste, add an additional 1 cup of sugar.

Pour 1/2 cup of water into the skillet, then stir the ingredients gently so the sugar is evenly distributed among the cranberries. Turn your stove to medium and heat the cranberries until the mixture starts to bubble.

Turn down the heat to low and heat the cranberries for about 5 minutes or until they start to slightly break down and soften. Turn off the heat and let the cranberries cool down. Serve the cranberries alongside turkey or pork for a savoury meal or spoon them over desserts.


Make the cranberries more flavourful by adding chopped ginger, freshly squeezed citrus juice or a sprinkling of cinnamon. Cook the cranberries even longer if you want them to turn into a thinner sauce.


Do not use high heat or the sugar may burn before the cranberries are heated through.

Things You'll Need

  • 0.454kg. fresh cranberries
  • 1 to 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
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About the Author

Allison Boelcke graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's in English and a minor in psychology. She worked in print journalism for three years before deciding to pursue Internet writing. She is now a contributing web writer for Demand Studios and Conjecture Corporation.