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Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Vodka

A grown-up twist on your favorite homemade cranberry sauce. Serve this sweet, tart condiment with turkey or use it as topping for cheesecakes and ice cream.

Who’s excited for Thanksgiving? I know I am. It’s a holiday filled with family and food. A day when everyone can get together and catch up on each others’ lives.

The past few years, Kim and I have celebrated Thanksgiving with our small family of three. However, this year, we live in Arkansas, close to all of our loved ones and we can’t wait to see everybody.

So, keeping that holiday in mind, we decided to share a simple twist on Kim’s homemade cranberry sauce.

What’s the twist you ask? Well, it’s vodka. Since I enjoy a great cranberry cocktail, I thought, how awesome it would be to combine that sweet, tart beverage into a simple sauce.

Now, you might be wondering, what about the vodka? If you have family members that don’t drink. no worries, the booze should cook out of the sauce leaving behind the flavor.

I added some tips below concerning this issue and gave you a few alternative options. One quick thing to note before we start, this homemade cranberry sauce isn’t just for the birds.

Try it on ice cream or cheesecake, you won’t be disappointed!

Close-up picture of the homemade cranberry sauce with vodka in a white bowl.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Instructions:

First, start by gathering all of your ingredients. Also, go ahead and peel the orange zest and juice the orange(s).

Don’t worry about the specific type or orange, just whatever you can get your hands on at your local store will work just fine. You should also wash and drain the cranberries.

The homemade cranberry sauce ingredients, like sugar, oranges, and cranberries.

At this point, in your pressure cooker, combine the cranberries, orange juice, ground cinnamon, vodka, and orange zest. Seal the cooker and set it to Manual/High Pressure for 5-minutes.

Once the sauce is done cooking, let the machine preform a natural release for 10-minutes before turning the valve to release the remaining pressure.

An aerial picture of the ingredients in the Instant Pot ready to be cooked.

After that, carefully remove the lid. The cranberries should be cooked.

With that being said, you’re going to see a lot of liquid. That’s okay, we’re going to simmer the sauce with sugar to thicken it.

Now, set the machine to Saute/Cook on Medium or Low heat. Stir in the sugar and let it continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness.

Keep in mind, you’ll want to stir the homemade cranberry sauce often during this step. Otherwise, it may burn.

A second aerial photo of Instant Pot with the cooked cranberry sauce.

Then, when the cranberry sauce is thick enough for you, turn off the pressure cooker. Personally, I usually remove the insert pan and set it on a oven mitt or cooling rack, just to ensure it doesn’t burn from the residual heat.

Last, if choose to, you can use a emulsifier (or wait for it to cool a little and use a blender) to blend the homemade cranberry sauce, but that step is optional. That’s it you’re ready to serve or store the dish.

The last photo shows the finished homemade cranberry sauce in a bowl accented with cinnamon sticks.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Tips:

  • Everybody has their own preference when it comes to cranberry sauces. If you enjoy a thicker, more gelatin texture, then make a corn starch slurry by whisking together a 1/4-cup water and 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch. Then, add the mixture to the pressure cooker after you’ve stirred in the sugar. Let the sauce saute for a minute or so, then add more slurry if needed.
  • This sauce can be made on the stove-top by combining all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and cook everything down over low heat for about 45-60 minutes.
  • Yes, the sauce can be made without alcohol, simply omit or leave out the vodka and follow the instructions as written. Additionally, here’s a link to Kim’s stove-top Orange Cranberry Sauce. However, if you are a fan of a good vodka cranberry cocktail, this sauce may be right up your alley!

If you like this cranberry sauce recipe, please leave us a comment and rate the recipe card. You can also find us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram searching for Berly’s Kitchen!

The last photo shows the finished homemade cranberry sauce in a bowl accented with cinnamon sticks.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Vodka

5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Come To Pressure/Saute: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings


  • 12 Ounces Fresh Cranberries (washed)
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Vodka
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Orange Zest


  • First, in the Instant Pot, combine the cranberries, orange juice, cinnamon, vodka, and orange zest.
  • Next, set the device to Manual/High Pressure for 5-minutes.
  • After that, preform a natural release for 10-minutes, unseal the pressure cooker, and set it to Saute/Cook.
  • Then, stir in the sugar and let it cook down to your desired thickness.
  • Last, once the sauce is thick enough for you, remove it and serve.


The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients and a 1/4-cup serving size. The sauce can be stored in your fridge for up to 3-days in a sealed container.


Serving: 0.25 Cup | Calories: 92kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Sodium: 1mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g
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