Can you Microwave Canned Cranberry Sauce? (And Should You?)

Ever thought of microwaving canned cranberry sauce? Well, it is usually served cold or at room temperature. But, as they say, if you can serve it cold then you can serve it hot (*cue disappointed ice cream noises*).

So, if you are one of those cool fellas who enjoy the hot stuff, then you are in the right place!

This article will tell you everything you need to know if you ever decide to microwave your canned cranberry sauce. Besides, why make it from scratch if you can buy a ready-made one? (hello #convenience)

But wait, should you do it?

Let’s find out!

Can you microwave canned cranberry sauce?

Yes! You can microwave your canned cranberry sauce. If not, then this article would not even exist.

Kidding aside, microwaving your canned cranberry sauce depends on what you like. It’s up to you whether you like them hot or cold or somewhere in between that (seriously, the cranberries don’t mind either).

The temperature also does not affect how it’s going to taste (if it’s awful, then it’s awful). Well, as long as you don’t burn them too.

However, if you are thinking about spreading your canned cranberry sauce on your favorite meat dishes, then I suggest that you don’t microwave them.

Canned cranberry sauce that is hot might become too runny if you are going to spread it on food that is also hot. It’s going to lose its thick consistency and texture and I do not think you would like that (unless you prefer cranberry soup and not cranberry sauce though).

Related: Can You Put Canned Food in the Microwave? Surprising Answers to Common Questions

Is it safe to microwave canned cranberry sauce?

Yes, it is safe to microwave canned cranberry sauce as long as you transfer it to a microwavable container first.

Do NOT (and don’t even try to) microwave your canned cranberry sauce while it is still in the can. It is NOT safe to put the can inside the microwave because the can of canned cranberry sauce is made up of metal.


Do you know why? It is because metal heats up so quickly and so intensely that it might make the can explode. The worst-case scenario is that it will possibly burn your microwave.

Surely, you have some microwavable bowls made of plastic, ceramic, or glass. Please use them.

How to know if my canned cranberry sauce is still good?

Check the expiration dates and the can for any leaks, rusts, or deformation. If your canned cranberry sauce gets an A+ on these two, then it’s still good to go.

Usually, your canned cranberry sauce can last for up to 1 to 2 and even 3 years if it is still not opened. You may even help extend its shelf life by storing it in a cool place away from sunlight like a cupboard or something similar to that as long as it is dark (no, dark humor doesn’t count).

But just to be safe, it is better if you go check the manufacturing date as well as the expiry date printed on the can or its label.

If it’s already past the expiry date, I suggest you do NOT use it anymore. However, you may still go check if it’s still good by opening it and checking it for any foul odor or discoloration (as I said, you can extend its shelf life).

If you see that it is still okay, then use it at your own discretion. Canned cranberry sauce that has already been opened can last for about 2 weeks if it is stored properly in a container that has a lid that fits tightly.

(Friendly reminder: do not freeze your canned cranberry sauce because it will have too much water that might affect its consistency as well as its taste.)

Now, if you have already settled with the expiration date then that does NOT mean we are done here and your canned cranberry sauce is surely good.

You have to check the can if it has leaks, rusts, dents, bulges, or anything that makes it look uncanny.

A deformed can is a sign that the cranberry sauce has already gone bad. So, even if it is still not expired, you have to dispose of it immediately if the can does not look right.

How long should you microwave canned cranberry sauce?

All you need is 30 seconds to microwave your canned cranberry sauce using the high setting. Yep, you read that right. You do not need more than a minute to do it (I bet The Flash is a fan of this too).

Of course, various factors still affect how long you need to microwave your canned cranberry sauce.

For one, the temperature of your canned cranberry sauce when you microwave it matters. If you microwave it while it is at room temperature, then 30 seconds will be enough. But if you microwave it while it is cold, then you might need a little bit more time to heat it fully.

For another, the wattage of your microwave also affects the time you need to spend heating your canned cranberry sauce. If you have a microwave with 1200 watts, then 30 seconds will do.

But if you have one that is around 800 watts, then you might want to also adjust how much time you need to spend (don’t worry, I will give you a bit more details about this later on).

Additionally, you should be very careful when microwaving your canned cranberry sauce. Make sure you do not overcook it.

Overcooking your canned cranberry sauce will burn it and affect its taste and its texture. 

If you see it boiling or bubbling inside the microwave, take it out right away (who cares if the 30 seconds are over?). Again, it is not soup so we don’t want to see it boiling.

How to microwave canned cranberry sauce?

The process of microwaving your canned cranberry sauce is pretty easy, simple, and fast (hello 30 seconds?).

All you need is your can of cranberry sauce, a microwave, a microwavable bowl, a spoon or spatula, some plastic wrap, and a pair of potholder gloves (so that you do not burn yourself if you ever get too excited about your sauce).

Here’s how it goes:

  1. Open your canned cranberry sauce and transfer its contents to a microwavable bowl.
  2. Cover your bowl with some plastic wrap so that your cranberry sauce will not spill while it is heating in the microwave.

The plastic wrap will also help in making sure that moisture is trapped inside to help heat your sauce faster.

  1. Put the bowl inside the microwave and set its heat setting to high.
  2. Let it heat for 30 seconds.
  3. After 30 seconds, remove the bowl from the microwave and open the plastic wrap.
  4. Stir your canned cranberry sauce so that the heat is distributed well throughout.
  5. Cover the bowl again with the plastic wrap and put it back in the microwave.
  6. Heat it again for another 30 seconds.
  7. Repeat steps 5 to 8 until your cranberry sauce is fully heated. Do NOT increase the time and just stick with intervals of 30 seconds only to make sure that you do not overcook or burn your cranberry sauce.

Take note that how many times you do this depends on the quantity of canned cranberry sauce you decide to microwave in one go and how cold it was before you heat them (so yes, you might need a little bit of patience for this part).

  1. Once fully heated, take it out from the microwave and remove the plastic wrap.
  2. Serve with your favorite dishes (or on their own if you want! Your choice.).


Aaaand TA-DA! You now have your perfectly microwaved canned cranberry sauce!

This article has shown you all the things you need to know and consider when you want to heat your canned cranberry sauce using your microwave. Now, you don’t need to worry about wasting too much time doing it (because, duh, all you need is 30 seconds).

So, what are you waiting for? Go get that sauce!


How can I make homemade cranberry sauce?

To make homemade cranberry sauce, you will need fresh cranberries, sugar, and water. Combine the ingredients in a pot and cook until the berries burst. Then let it cool before storing it in an airtight container.

Can I freeze homemade cranberry sauce?

Yes, you can freeze homemade cranberry sauce for up to 2 months. Store it in an airtight container and thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

What is the expiration date of store-bought cranberry sauce?

The expiration date of store-bought cranberry sauce varies depending on the brand and packaging. Check the label for specific information.

How long does homemade or store-bought cranberry sauce last once opened?

Once opened, both homemade and store-bought cranberry sauces should be consumed within 7-10 days if stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How do I remove leftover cranberry chutney from my plate or bowl?

To remove leftover cranberry chutney from your plate or bowl, use warm soapy water and scrub gently with a sponge or brush until all residue is gone. Avoid using abrasive materials that could damage your dish’s texture.

How can I ensure that my homemade cranberry sauce tastes good?

To make sure your homemade cranberry sauce tastes good, use fresh whole cranberries and properly store it in covered airtight containers. The shelf life of the sauce is up to two weeks when stored this way.

What is the best way to store leftover cranberry sauce?

The best way to store leftover cranberry sauce is by placing it in a covered glass or plastic container and storing it in the refrigerator. When properly stored, canned cranberry sauce lasts about a week.

Can I still eat my leftover cranberry sauce if it has an off smell?

No, you should not eat leftover cranberry sauce if it has an off smell as this could indicate spoilage and pose a risk to food safety.

Is ocean spray the best brand for making cranberry sauce?

While there are many brands available, Ocean Spray is known for producing high-quality products that are great for making delicious homemade sauces using whole berries.

Should I adjust my cookies settings to reject third-party cookies when searching for recipes on how to make good cranberry sauce?

It’s always recommended to adjust your cookie settings to reject third-party cookies when browsing online. However, this won’t necessarily impact your search results for finding recipes on how to make good quality homemade cranberry sauces.

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