freeze cranberry sauce

Can You Refrigerate and Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

Cranberry sauce is an absolute must for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. This sweet, tart sauce is a perfect condiment for turkey and chicken, pork, ham, and whatnot.

After the festive holiday, we often end up with leftovers of this and that. One thing that comes to mind is how to preserve these leftovers.

With one of them being cranberry sauce, this begs the question: can you freeze cranberry sauce leftover?

Perhaps, you’re wary of being too busy during the special day. If you can get another job done in advance, that sounds relieving.

So, can you prepare cranberry sauce ahead of time and freeze for Thanksgiving?

If you’re familiar with the situation above, this article is for you! In a nutshell, homemade cranberry sauce is freezable. Keep reading to find tips on how to store and freeze cranberry sauce successfully.

Does Cranberry Sauce Freeze Well?

Cranberry sauce is a popular side dish, particularly in North America and the UK. It is a mandatory condiment to serve during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

Cranberry sauce is widely available in the store, but making it at home is quick and easy.

The main ingredients are cranberry (fresh or frozen), sugar, orange juice, ginger, and maybe added with apple and cinnamon.

When it’s still hot, cranberry sauce looks loose. But, the sauce will thicken as it cools down.

The good thing about making cranberry sauce at home is that you can prepare it the day before or 3 to 4 days in advance. The longer it sits in the fridge, the better it tastes. Plus, another job done means you have more time to enjoy the special day.

Homemade cranberry sauce usually freezes better than store-bought ones. Jellied cranberry sauce tends to become watery after thawing. That’s why Ocean Spray doesn’t recommend freezing their cranberry sauce.

How To Freeze Cranberry Sauce

Freezing cranberry sauce is quick and easy. Here is what you need to follow to freeze cranberry sauce successfully.

  • 1. Prepare cranberry sauce according to your favorite recipe.
  • 2. Let it cool down quickly before transferring to the container.
  • 3. Divide the sauce into an appropriate amount per serving. A smaller pack saves time for thawing.
  • 4. Pack the portioned sauce into a freezer-safe container or freezer bag.
  • 5. Seal the container tightly.
  • 6. Label it with a freezing date, use-by date, or the amount (if necessary).
  • 7. Transfer the package into the freezer.

A quick note, frozen foods should be continuously kept at 0 °F (−18 °C) or lower to prevent bacterial spoilage. So, don’t forget to check your freezer’s temperature regularly and set it to the recommended temperature.

How You Defrost Frozen Cranberry Sauce?

You can safely defrost frozen cranberry sauce in the fridge. A day or two before the dinner, simply transfer the package to the fridge and allow it to thaw slowly.

If you have leftover, store the sauce in a sealed airtight container and keep it refrigerated.

How Long Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

Frozen cranberry sauce preserves its quality for up to 3 to 4 months. Beyond this time, it is likely safe to eat, but the flavor and taste may start to diminish.


How long does jellied cranberry sauce last in the fridge?

After opening, jellied cranberry sauce can stay fresh for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Make sure to transfer the leftover sauce to a sealed, airtight container and use clean cutlery to take the product and avoid double-dipping.

Does cranberry sauce go bad?

Yes. Just like other foods, cranberry sauce also goes bad. Use your senses to spot the symptoms. Some typical signs of spoilage are off-flavor, changes in texture and color, and unpleasant taste. Next to that, don’t consume the sauce from a damaged container, such as a severely dented, bulging, leaking, or rusted can.

Can you leave out cranberry sauce overnight?

An unopened can of cranberry sauce can safely sit at room temperature. But, after opening, it should be kept refrigerated, likewise for homemade sauce. For safety reasons, don’t leave it at room temperature longer than 2 hours.

How do you serve cranberry sauce?

Cranberry sauce is typically served chilled or at room temperature. For jellied cranberry sauce, slice it and arrange it on a serving plate. To make it more beautiful for kids, cut it with a cookie-cutter into various shapes. You can also garnish the sauce with sugared rosemary sprigs or candied ginger.

Can you freeze cranberry juice?

You can freeze cranberry juice, although the quality won’t be as excellent as the fresh one. Freeze the juice in a freezer-safe container or ice cube trays. The latter is handy if you plan to use the thawed juice only a small amount at a time.


Cranberry sauce is a holiday staple in North America and part of Europe. 

Whether having leftovers or preparing in advance, homemade cranberry sauce freezes quite well. On the other hand, store-bought jellied cranberry sauce tends to become watery after thawing.

To freeze cranberry sauce, start with portioning the sauce, pack it into a freezer-safe container, seal tightly, and freeze. 

A day or two before the special day, transfer the pack to the fridge to slowly thaw. Serve the sauce chilled or at room temperature, and have an exquisite dinner!

frozen cranberry sauce

*Image by nazilekeskin/depositphotos

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