What Happens If You Heat Up Canned Cranberry Sauce

Canned cranberry sauce is a holiday side dish tradition. For many households, their Thanksgiving or Christmas table wouldn't be complete without slicing up that cylinder-shaped jellied blob straight from the can into perfect, ruby-red circles. However, if you want to give it a more homemade feel, it might surprise you to learn you can heat it — and that extra step is a game changer.

A can of cranberry sauce typically contains cranberries, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and water, so when you plop it into a pot on low heat, it is going to melt down into an almost jam-like consistency, but that's not all that is going to change. It's also going to taste a little more like the version where you use fresh cranberries, which pop all over your stove as you heat them if you forget to put a lid on your pot.

What to keep in mind when heating cranberry sauce

If you are using the cylinder version of canned cranberry sauce, you may want to slice it up before you do your slow and low boil. It will cook down a little nicer, but it isn't required. And be sure to keep an eye on it because cranberry sauce is easy to burn. If you are using a whole cranberry sauce from the can, no mashing, smashing, or cutting is needed. Simply pour the content into a pot and bring it to a low simmer. 

If you really want to jazz up the taste, you can get creative and add a little orange zest or other fruits that complement the sweet and tart flavor of cranberries. Pears are a lovely addition as are apples and pecans. Simply slice the fruit up and let it cook along with the canned cranberry sauce. And if you are a fan of cinnamon, a little goes a long way when added to your heated dish. Just remember to let it cool before serving or you may end up burning your mouth.