Cranberry Sauce from Dried Cranberries

This recipe makes a delicious and easy Cranberry Sauce from Dried Cranberries when you are craving cranberry sauce but can’t find fresh cranberries anywhere. Made in just 30 minutes, it’s the perfect accompaniment to turkey dinner or cast iron pan-roasted chicken breasts.

Read on to learn all about cranberries and the key recipe tips and tricks. Or grab a small pot, hit that Jump to Recipe button, and let’s make a cranberry sauce with dried cranberries!

small jar of cranberry sauce and spoon surrounded by dried cranberries.
Jump to:


Dried cranberries, sugar, two small oranges, and cinnamon on a countertop.

This orange cranberry sauce has only four ingredients: dried cranberries, mandarin oranges or standard oranges, sugar, and a touch of cinnamon. Plus water, if you count that.


About dried cranberries

Cranberries are true berries that grown primarily in North America and Chile and used by indigenous peoples for centuries as food and dyes. Dried cranberries or “craisins” are dehydrated like raisins. For craisins, sugar is often added because cranberries are not naturally sweet. Try to buy unsweetened or lower-sugar craisins, if you can, to control the amount of sugar in your cranberry sauce.

Want more dried cranberry recipes? Use craisins in this cranberry pecan chicken salad, cranberry kale salad, homemade gourmet granola, or as a substitute for raisins like in this raisin challah.

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • Play around with other spices and add a smidge of allspice, cloves, ginger, or nutmeg.
  • Don’t have mandarin oranges? Sub in a quarter cup of orange juice.
  • Use lemon or lime instead of orange zest and orange juice.
  • Make an apple cranberry sauce with dried cranberries and apples.
  • Go spicy with a jalapeno cranberry sauce.

Recipe tips and tricks

This recipe for making cranberry sauce with dried cranberries is essentially the same way I make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries.

Step 1: Reconstitute your craisins. This is how you can make cranberry sauce from dried cranberries without cranberry juice.

You can reconstitute dried cranberries either by soaking your cranberries in boiling water for 20 minutes, or microwave them. To microwave, put the cranberries in a microwave-safe dish, cover them with water, microwave on high for a minute, then let them soak for five minutes.

dried cranberries and cranberry seeds in water in a pyrex measuring cup.

Check out those cranberry seeds. The very first time I made this recipe, I didn’t remove those seeds. The texture of my cranberry sauce was unpleasantly gritty.

Step 2: Skim off and discard as many of the cranberry seeds as you can without driving yourself crazy, keeping as much of the soaking liquid as possible. If your craisins don’t have seeds, consider yourself lucky!

dried cranberries after reconstitution and skimming off the cranberry seeds.

Step 3: Add your reconstituted dried cranberries, soaking liquid, sugar, orange zest and juice, and cinnamon to a small pot and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally.

dried cranberries, water, orange zest and other ingredients for cranberry sauce in a pot.

Step 4: Heat for about 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and is a syrupy consistency. Remove the pan from the heat.

You can stop here or puree the sauce using a food processor or blender. Cool to room temperature or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

bowl of chunky cranberry sauce.

How to serve this craisin cranberry sauce

Your cranberry sauce with dried cranberries is, of course, the perfect accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner with roast turkey, stuffing, mashed purple sweet potatoes, cavatappi mac and cheese, and maple balsamic Brussels sprouts. But here are a few other ideas:

Recipe FAQs

How should I store this cranberry sauce?

A cranberry sauce using craisins will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or freeze it in an air-tight container for even longer storage.

Can I make my own craisins?

Sure you can make dried cranberries if you want to control the sugar, but since fresh berries freeze well, and dried cranberries are generally less expensive, I’ve never done it.

Can I make this cranberry sauce so it looks like it came from a can?

Laughs, yes. You’ll have to puree it really well until it’s perfectly smooth. You’ll need a safe edge can opener like this Oxo Smooth Edge, which removes the top of the can without sharp edges. Remove the cranberry sauce from the heat and let it cool in the can.

If you love this cranberry sauce using dried cranberries, check out other Ugly Duckling Bakery recipes

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.


Cranberry Sauce from Dried Cranberries

5 from 3 votes
Category: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 79kcal
This recipe makes a delicious and easy Cranberry Sauce from Dried Cranberries when you are craving cranberry sauce but can't find fresh cranberries anywhere. Made in just 30 minutes, it's the perfect accompaniment to turkey dinner or cast iron pan-roasted chicken breasts.
Print Recipe
Save This Recipe!


  • 1 small pot


  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 medium orange or 2 small oranges
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Put the dried cranberries in a Pyrex measuring cup and pour in boiling water to cover. Let sit for 20 minutes, then scoop out any seeds that have risen to the surface, keeping as much of the liquid as possible.
    1 cup dried cranberries
  • Add the cranberries and their soaking liquid, sugar, orange zest and juice, and cinnamon to a small pot over low heat and cook until the liquid has thickened.
    ¼ cup granulated sugar, zest and juice of 1 medium orange or 2 small oranges, 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Remove the cranberry sauce from the heat, and, if desired, puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  • Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to serve.


This recipe will make about one cup of craisin cranberry sauce.
Instead of reconstituting the dried cranberries for this cranberry sauce in boiling water, you can also put the cranberries in a microwavable bowl, cover them with water, and microwave for a minute on high.
If your dried cranberries have as many seeds as mine do, your cranberry sauce will taste gritty if you don’t remove them.


Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.05g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Love this recipe?Mention @Uglyducklingbakery or tag #uglyducklingbakery!

Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking? Get inspiration here:


  1. 5 stars
    I had not imagined making cranberry sauce would be that easy. We don’t have fresh cranberries in India and I always have dried ones in my pantry! My daughter is a huge fan. Would try this amazing recipe soon! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Deepti – it’s a great recipe, so feel free to add spices to the dried cranberry sauce to make it work with the flavors you’re using!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve never used dried cranberries for cranberry sauce before but can’t wait to try it. Especially when sometimes fresh are all sold out during Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.