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Why didn't my cranberry sauce thicken?

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Melanie Clarke

Cranberries have a lot of natural pectin, the ingredient that makes cooked fruit gel. To release that pectin, you need to cook the berries until they burst and can form a bond with the sugar. Boil the mixture until it is thickened and then-- and this is important-- don't refrigerate the mixture until it is cooled to room temperature.

Also, if  you use a sugar substitute or try to use less sugar, the mixture will likely be thinner than you want.

For more tips and ideas, see our collection of Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce Recipes.

Recipe: Grandma Erma's Spirited Cranberry Sauce