The Absolute Best Way To Avoid Overly Thick Cranberry Sauce

No matter where you stand in the great cranberry sauce debate of canned versus homemade, most can agree that no Thanksgiving meal is complete without it. The tangy, sweet flavor that works as a dessert, side, or sauce, pairing well with many traditional Thanksgiving recipes. While it's easy enough to just go buy a can of cranberry sauce, there's also something wonderful about the texture of homemade cranberry sauce. It isn't quite as gelatin-like as the canned variety, and leaving some whole cranberries in the sauce could also add a wonderfully juicy bite.

One of the biggest struggles with making cranberry sauce at home is getting that texture just right. According to Eating Well, if you undercook it, you'll end up with runny cranberry sauce. And if you overdo it, you could end up with a sauce that is too thick. There's an easy method that you can use to help nail that perfect consistency the next time you make this beloved holiday dish.

Adding water or orange juice can loosen a thick cranberry sauce

According to Exploratorium, cranberries have a naturally high amount of starch called pectin. This is used when making jellies or jams to help bind the fruit, water, and sugars together into a cohesive gel (via Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition). It's also the material that determines the consistency of your cranberry sauce. Pectin is released as the cranberries are cooked and broken down. When making the sauce at home, it's important to note that the sauce will thicken even further once it has cooled (via Eating Well).

New York Times recommends taking cranberry sauce off the stove shortly after the first few cranberries are broken down. This will leave a few cranberries whole in the sauce for a nice texture while also giving you control over the thickness. Once it comes to room temperature, if the sauce is not meeting your desired level of thickness, simply return it to the stove to cook a little more. Repeat this step until you've reached your desired thickness.

By adding this simple tip while cooking your next batch of cranberry sauce, you may have a homemade treat that's consistency will be celebrated at your next holiday meal.