Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

Make it last beyond Thanksgiving.

frozen cranberry sauce in a plastic bag
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

A good cranberry sauce completes any Thanksgiving meal, lending its perfectly complex sweet and tart flavors to the spread of roasted meats and savory sides on your annual holiday table.

Leftovers can easily be smeared on turkey sandwiches, added to bowls of Greek yogurt granola or pancakes at breakfast, or drizzled over ice cream for dessert for weeks to come.

When stored properly, both canned and homemade cranberry sauce can last for two weeks in the refrigerator.

In the unlikely event that you still end up with too much cranberry sauce, consider another option to extend the shelf-life of your cranberry sauce: freezing.

The Benefits of Freezing Cranberry Sauce

One of the most frequently used methods of preserving foods, freezing is a quick way to ensure you can enjoy your holiday leftovers long after the season has passed.

Not only that, but unlike other methods of preserving food like pickling or jam-making that use sugar or salt to keep it from spoiling, freezing retains the dish's original taste.

However, keeping food frozen past its recommended storage date will decrease its overall quality. This is especially true if the food is improperly stored in non-airtight storage containers.

How to Freeze Homemade Cranberry Sauce

As the saying goes, the fresher the berry, the sweeter the fruit. Using fresh cranberries to make your homemade sauce not only results in better and bolder flavors, but there are also added storing benefits as well.

Homemade cranberry sauce keeps wonderfully in the freezer for up to three months. Pour your cooled cranberry sauce into freezer-friendly zip-top plastic bags, and remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing.

Make sure you label it with the food's name and the date you're putting it into the freezer.

Another option is to use silicone ice molds to freeze smaller portions of cranberry sauce. Add the cranberry sauce to the wells, and place the tray in the freezer. Once completely frozen, pop each frozen sauce cube out of the mold, and transfer them into a reusable zip-top bag.

How to Freeze Canned Cranberry Sauce

While you can freeze canned cranberry sauce using the same method as homemade cranberry sauce, the results will be markedly different when thawed.

The characteristic jellied-like texture changes and turns into a watery mush on thawing. It's why makers of the ever-popular canned cranberry sauce, Ocean Spray, recommend storing leftovers in the fridge for up to two weeks instead of the freezer.

What To Do With Frozen Cranberry Sauce Leftovers

From drizzling over a bowl of no-cook homemade ice cream to incorporating it into cake batter, there's a lot you can do with your frozen leftovers of cranberry sauce long after the holiday season ends.

Here are a couple of recipes that we recommend making to use up the remainder of your holiday cranberry sauce:

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles