Cranberry Sauce from Dried Cranberries

Cranberry sauce in a bowl

Cranberry sauce is a staple for any Thanksgiving meal. But what if you can’t find fresh cranberries? No problem – you can make your cranberry sauce from dried cranberries! No one will know the difference!

Ingredients needed

  • Dried cranberries, sweetened (Craisins)
  • Cranberry juice
  • Sugar
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch for thickening
spoon of cranberry sauce with bowl in background

How to make cranberry sauce from dried cranberries

I was really surprised at how easy it is to make cranberry sauce using dried cranberries. It’s actually very similar to using fresh cranberries. Unlike my cranberry-apricot sauce, this one only needs the juice of one orange. More liquid comes from cranberry juice – a great way to replace the liquid normally present in fresh cranberries. Orange zest and sugar complete the flavors.

Place everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the cranberries plump up. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Then, add a slurry made of cornstarch to thicken the sauce.

Pin for cranberry sauce from dried cranberries


Recipe FAQs

How sweet is this cranberry sauce?

The sauce is both tart and sweet, which to me is the perfect combination in a cranberry sauce. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, increase the sugar to 1/3 cup.

Can I use unsweetened cranberries to make this sauce?

Yes, the only difference is that you’ll need to increase the sugar to 1/3 cup. That will replace that extra sugar you would otherwise get from the Craisins.

Why do you use sweetened cranberries instead of unsweetened?

For me, this is an easy choice. If I buy unsweetened, I’m always wondering what to do with the leftovers. Sweetened cranberries (Craisins) are entirely snackable on their own, and never go uneaten in this house!

What are the health benefits of cranberries?

Many consider cranberries a superfood due to their high levels of antioxidants and nutrients. Research has linked the nutrients in cranberries to a lower risk of urinary tract infection, the prevention of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure. (Medical News Today)

Cranberry sauce in a bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 31 votes

Cranberry Sauce from Dried Cranberries

Cranberry sauce is easy to make from Craisins!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 117kcal
Author: Sula


  • cups dried cranberries sweetened
  • ¾ cup cranberry juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice from one orange
  • Dash of salt

To thicken:

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water


  • Add cranberries, orange juice and zest, cranberry juice, sugar and a dash of salt to a medium saucepan. Heat to boiling.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the cranberries plump up, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Make a slurry with the cornstarch and water. Slowly drizzle into the sauce mixture while stirring. Stir for at least one minute, until the sauce thickens. Sauce will thicken more as it cools.



Recipe makes about 2 cups sauce total.


Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 46mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 29IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

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50 thoughts on “Cranberry Sauce from Dried Cranberries

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a smart recipe because of the dried cranberry factor. Dried cranberries are delicious to snack on, so you’ll never be left with leftovers that you’ll probably throw out! Very smart!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh nice! I rarely come across fresh cranberries so this sauce would be perfect. Love that color and such a great addition to the holiday table.

  3. 5 stars
    Wow! Never knew you could make cranberry sauce with dried cranberries! Such a genius idea! The orange flavor goes so well with this too!

    1. 5 stars
      Have made this the last 2 or 3 years, never fails! Absolute essential at Christmas! Bit late this year (It’s currently midnight on Christmas eve/day, oops) but it’s always such a welcome addition to the plate and throughout the year. Thank you for sharing, can’t get fresh cranberries in Spain, let alone a premade sauce, but even if I could, I’d still make this as it’s so quick and easy and tastes so much better! 10 Stars!

      1. Thank you Laura, it warms my heart to think of you making my sauce in Spain. Food really does connect us all. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I can honestly say I’ve never made my own cranberry sauce and I never liked the idea of it. But I think you changed my mind! Your recipe looks really tasty and I’m sure homemade is better! I’ll have to try it!

  5. This looks delicious. Never had it before, but I think I’ll try your recipe for this Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Yes, please! Cranberry sauce is a must on Thanksgiving Day. My husband can not eat dressing without a spoonful of cranberry sauce to go with it. I will definitely have to make this from scratch. Thanks.

  7. 5 stars
    I’m an American living in Southern Spain with my German husband but I still keep my ‘Merican Roots by preparing a Thanksgiving Meal every year for my family. It’s a challenge to gather all the ingredients for the tradition that are so common in grocery stores stateside. Before the events of 2020 unfolded no limiting travel, I would stash some canned goods like pumpkin puree, fried onions, mushroom soup, cranberry sauce, etc. in my suitcase when I visited my mommy in Northern Virginia. This year I’m in my own unable to stock up. Thank you for sharing your recipe on making cranberry sauce from dried ones as there aren’t any fresh cranberry bogs in Spain yet that I’ve discovered and during the holidays they do have dried fruits including cranberries much to my joy ; )

  8. We made this and I think it will be delicious. One thing though, instead of using water to make the slurry why not use some of the cranberry juice? I wish I would have thought of it before I made the slurry, but I think it would have enhanced the cranberry taste. The texture though was perfect and this came together super fast! Great idea, especially now when it is not easy to just run to the store for something quick.

    1. Dina – I agree and I like the way you think! I’ve never tried it with cranberry juice for the slurry but I’m sure it would be great that way too!

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