On Thanksgiving Day, we love all the scratch-made dishes. We’re talking green bean casserole, freshly made pies and that turkey, of course. But on most tables, there’s one exception to this homemade rule: canned cranberry sauce.
What is it about that can-shaped gel that we all love so much? We can’t quite say what makes it so appealing, but we can’t imagine a holiday without it. This being said, the holidays deserve the very best jiggly, jellied cranberries, so we ran a test to find out which brand had the best cranberry sauce.
What We’re Looking for in Canned Cranberry Sauce
For this test, we focused on jellied cranberry sauce (over the whole berry option). This jelly-style sauce is a classic but often overlooked during holiday prep. Who doesn’t just grab the first can they see? So we decided to take cranberries seriously and judge these sauces on texture, shape and flavor—it has to have the right pucker factor!
We tried six brands in this blind test: 365 Everyday Value (a Whole Foods brand), Great Value (a Walmart brand), Market Pantry (a Target Brand), Ocean Spray, ShurFine and Sweet Harvest (an Aldi-exclusive brand).
The Best Cranberry Sauce: Ocean Spray
Brianna Griepentrog/Taste of Home
Ocean Spray, the name in the world of cranberries, took the top spot in this test, earning a nearly perfect score. Ocean Spray’s cranberry sauce had a fantastic tart flavor—the pucker factor we were searching for. It wasn’t overly sweet, just bright, fresh-tasting and satisfying.
And we can’t forget to talk about the shape and texture here. This jellied cranberry sauce had a nice, smooth consistency. Others we tried veered on grainy or soupy, but this one really hit the mark with the proper jelly texture. This also helped slices of Ocean Spray hold up well on the plate. We could see adding a slice or two to a post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich no problem.
The Bottom Line
This test proved to us that the go-to brand for cranberries is the only one you should be stocking up on this holiday season. Sure, a few other options we tried were fine, but none held a candle to Ocean Spray. And if you’ve got any leftover cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving, try it in these recipes.
This blind taste test was performed by our staff and was not part of a sponsorship. All opinions shared are our own, and have not been influenced by advertisers.