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Slow Cooker Spiced Cranberry Sauce

​​This Slow Cooker Spiced Cranberry Sauce is deliciously sweet and tangy and so easy to prepare! A simple, slightly chunky homemade cranberry sauce recipe with tart fresh cranberries, bright citrus flavors, and warm fall spices.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce is ladled from a crock pot bowl.


This is perhaps one of the easiest cranberry sauce recipes you’ll ever make. Just a few ingredients, zero prep work and a few hours in a crock pot will deliver a flavorful and tangy cranberry sauce that can be spooned over this year’s Thanksgiving roast turkey. Your house will smell incredible, and using a slow cooker means your stovetop is free for any and all other dishes on your list.

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

  • Fresh Cranberries: A whole bag of fresh cranberries. Most grocery stores will stock the fresh kind around Thanksgiving; otherwise, use frozen.
  • Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar will cook into the sauce and cut the bitterness of the cranberries. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: I use unfiltered organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Orange Juice: With or without pulp, since the sauce comes out a little on the chunky side anyway.
  • Ground Spices: I love the combination of flavors that ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves bring to this cranberry sauce.

How to Make Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

  1. Combine the Ingredients: Place all ingredients in the bowl of your slow cooker and give them a stir.
  2. Cook: Close the lid and cook the cranberry sauce on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours. Keep an eye on the cooking time, and you’ll know it’s ready when the cranberries have popped and the sauce is thickened and bubbling. Give it a taste and add in some extra sweetness if needed.
  3. Serve: Transfer the sauce to a bowl and serve.
Slow Cooker Cranberry sauce in a serving dish with a spoon.

Tips for Success

  • Make a Sweeter Cranberry Sauce: If you find that your sauce is a bit bitter after cooking, add a spoonful of maple syrup and another of the orange juice as needed to counteract the bitterness of the cranberries.
  • Avoid Overcooking Cranberry Sauce: Overcooking the sauce will make the sugars caramelize and burn, so it’s a good idea to check in on the pot once it’s closer to the end of the cooking time. The cranberries should be almost all popped, and the rest should burst once you give it a stir before serving.
  • Make Ahead. You can easily make this recipe a day or two in advance. If anything, the extra sitting time in the fridge helps the flavors to combine and develop even more.
  • Make It Your Own. Add in a dash of vanilla extract or a single split vanilla bean. Stir in a cup of dark cherries or cherry preserves. Mix in a half cup of port or sherry. Substitute the brown sugar with honey or maple syrup.
Spiced Cranberry Sauce in a serving dish with a spoon, next to a bottle of apple cider vinegar.

Serving Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Cranberry Sauce can be spooned over your turkey, a savory stuffing, or mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. Use a spoonful of it in a wintery Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples and Candied Walnuts or ​​Orzo Pasta Salad. Smear a layer over these Creamy Dill Chicken Salad sandwiches. Serve it next to more casual dinners like this Apple Cider Braised Pork Shoulder or Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Vegetables. Use up leftovers and make my delicious Baked Brie.


Leftover cranberry sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks or freeze for 2 to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

More Thanksgiving Sides to Try

Slow Cooker Cranberry sauce in a serving dish with a spoon.

Slow Cooker Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Katerina | Diethood
Slow Cooker Spiced Cranberry Sauce is made with tart fresh cranberries, bright citrus flavors, and warm fall spices! This easy Cranberry Sauce is the perfect Thanksgiving side.
No ratings yet
Servings : 8
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes



  • Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your slow cooker and stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or on LOW for 6 to 7 hours, or until the cranberries have popped and the sauce is thickened and bubbly.
  • Taste and adjust accordingly. If needed, stir in more sugar.
  • Serve.


Calories: 165 kcal | Carbohydrates: 42 g | Protein: 0.4 g | Fat: 0.1 g | Saturated Fat: 0.02 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02 g | Sodium: 12 mg | Potassium: 142 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 37 g | Vitamin A: 73 IU | Vitamin C: 18 mg | Calcium: 38 mg | Iron: 0.5 mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crock pot recipes, homemade cranberry sauce, thanksgiving side dish
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12 comments on “Slow Cooker Spiced Cranberry Sauce”

  1. I realize the original date of this post was some time ago, but I’m hoping for a response. I did this in my crock pot on high for more than 4 hours……many of the cranberries have not popped, but are soft. There is no thickening of the liquids, it is just plain runny and liquid. I am going to try and transfer to stove-top and continue cooking and hoping for some thickening. Any comments or suggestions?

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska


      I would just let them cook a little longer in the slow cooker. It could be that your slow cooker cooks at a lower temperature than mine, which is why it may need a bit more time. Just continue to cook until they start popping – it shouldn’t be long since they’re already soft. By cooking it longer, you’re also going to reduce the sauce down even further so more of the liquid cooks off and the mixture thickens. If you want it even thicker, you can always add a slurry of cornstarch – mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and stir it into the sauce and continue to cook for several minutes.

  2. Avatar photo
    Michelle | A Latte Food

    I love the flavors in this recipe! Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving!

  3. What a great way to make that old cranberry sauce more flavorful! I’m definitely going to give this a try for Thanksgiving!

  4. Avatar photo
    Amy @ Little Dairy on the Prairie

    I’m in love with the idea of making cranberry sauce in the slow cooker! I bet vinegar gives it a yummy kick!

  5. Looks like cranberry heaven to me! I’ve never made it in the slow cooker – I bet the house smells awesome all day long!

  6. Avatar photo
    Beth (OMG! Yummy)

    This is a very interesting idea – just letting the cranberry sauce work itself in the slow cooker (what an aroma in the house) and using vinegar in it! Got to give this a try!

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