Homemade Cranberry Jelly

Cranberry jelly, a must have Thanksgiving side dish, is quick and easy, and better tasting when you make it at home.

Cranberry jelly, a must have Thanksgiving side dish, is quick and easy, and better tasting when you make it at home.

For years my husband has insisted on having canned cranberry jelly for Thanksgiving dinner. He likes the jelly and not the chunky sauce. Recently my son asked me if I was making cranberry sauce again this year. I reminded him that no one but me ate it last year. So I decided instead of making cranberry sauce this year, I would make the smooth cranberry jelly that my husband loves.

How to Make Cranberry Jelly BarbaraBakes.com

I did a trial run a couple of weeks ago and it was was so good. My husband was happy with it. He said it tasted like cranberry jelly (a good review.) My son liked it better. He said it didn’t have that canned taste. And I liked it so much better.

I made it without pectin the first time and it didn’t set up enough to use the cute little turkey molds I decided I needed to order from Amazon late one night. So this time I used the liquid pectin I had in the pantry, only half of a pouch, and the consistency was perfect.

I made it in my electric pressure cooker, because I like the convenience of just pressing start and coming back when the cooking’s done, but you could easily make it on the stove as well. I adapted the recipe from Pick Your Own. They also give instructions on canning the sauce if you’re not going to have a crowd to share it with on Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Jelly

Cranberry Jelly


  • 2 bags (12 oz each) fresh cranberries, about 6 cups
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons liquid pectin*


Wash and pick over cranberries. Add the cranberries and apple juice to the pressure cooking pot.

Select High Pressure and 5 minutes cook time. When timer sounds, turn pressure cooker off and use a quick pressure release. When valve drops, carefully remove the lid.

Pour the cooked cranberries in a food mill over a large bowl to separate the cranberry juice from the skins and seeds. (You could also use a blender to puree the berries and then use a strainer to strain the skin and seeds.) Rinse out and dry the pressure cooking pot.

Put the cranberry juice back in the pressure cooking pot and add the sugar and the liquid pectin. Select saute and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil one minute. Remove the pressure cooking pot from the pressure cooker.

Allow mixture to cool slightly and then pour jelly in to a bowl or molds. Chill until set.

To unmold, dip mold in warm water for 5 seconds, then invert jelly onto platter. (I turned them out on to a Silpat.)


If you don't have a pressure cooker, cook on the stove for 10 to 15 minutes until cranberries have softened and popped.


Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for each of you who take the time to stop by and check out what on I’m baking on Barbara Bakes.

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    Leave a Comment:

  1. Angie Mihalicz says

    Step one for me would be …pick a small pail of fresh cranberries..I live in a place rich with wild fruit..😄

  2. natalie says

    Is one batch enough for say 8 people? I plan to use 2 ramekins (about 4 oz each)…just wondering if it can fill that?

  3. Cheryl says

    I would like to know if a nordic ware six-cup bundt pan would be suitable for this? I don’t have anything remotely close to a mold other than my bundt pans. Most are too large.

  4. Kim Beaulieu says

    Barbara these are so adorable. I need to try these. I’m going to save this recipe for Christmas. It’s so adorable. It would never have occurred to me to use molds.

  5. cheryl says

    Put the cranberry juice back in the pressure cooking pot and add the sugar and the liquid pectin.”Select saute and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil one minute. Remove the pressure cooking pot from the pressure cooker”. I am confused about the saute statement. I have a pressure cooker but it does not have a saute feature. Help me to understand please and thank you.

  6. Carol says

    FUN! I love those turkeys………what a super idea. My son in law is a cranberry-sauce-from-the-can kind of guy too. I won’t have time to make this one this year-and I don’t have liquid pectin, darn it, so I’m saving this for another time.

    Thanks Barbara, I can’t wait to try this. :)

  7. Savannagal says

    How would I make this without a pressure cooker? Could I just cook the cranberries in a pot on the stove until they are all broken down, and then follow the rest of the directions – only swapping my stove for your pressure cooker?

  8. Patrick M. says

    Does the recipe fill the 8-turkey mold with no extra? This is so adorable I’m thinking I have to steal your idea.

  9. says

    This sounds great. I love to be able to cook things like this in my pressure cooker — it makes life so much easier. I’m going to try this for Thanksgiving. I wonder if I can halve it since there will only be 3 or 4 adults and one toddler at the table. But 1/2 cup apple juice doesn’t seem like it would be enough liquid. I have a 2 qt pressure cooker so maybe it would work in that.

      • says

        I made the half batch in my little 2 qt Cooks Essentials pressure cooker and it worked like a charm. It doesn’t have saute so I used brown but then thought it was getting a little too hot so switched to the steam function for the last minute or two. My only observation is that it was a little two sweet for us. Next time I’ll use 3/4 cup sugar rather than a full cup and see how that is.

        I didn’t have any cute little molds so I just put it into a large cereal bowl and it was just fine that way.

        Thanks for giving me the incentive to try making my own — it was very good.

        One question. How long with and opened pouch of liquid pectin last in the fridge?

        • says

          Forgot to mention that I didn’t put the cooked cranberries in a blender or food mill or anything like that. I used a silicone spoon that has a lot of flex to it and just smushed the berries in the pot. Then I put them into a sieve and again smushed (spell check thinks that isn’t a word but I’ve used it so long that I think it’s grandfathered into the dictionary) them through that. I was left with less than 1/8 cup of skins. It was pretty easy though a little time-consuming to do.

  10. says

    I think I need an electric pressure cooker. I’ve never even seen one!

    Your turkey jellies are adorable. I’ve made lots of cranberry sauce but I’ve never made the jellied sort before. Well done for giving it a go! Now I want to try it.