Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (2023)

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This classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce recipe is super easy, fresh, homemade, and the very best! Made from whole cranberries, water, and sugar, it's simple and perfect to serve at a holiday meal. Done in less than 20 minutes, this recipe can be made ahead of time or served warm.

Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (1)

We love Cranberry Sauce all winter, but it's especially popular for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other holiday meals. It's the perfect side and no Thanksgiving is complete without it!

This pairs great with our Roasted Maple Brussels Sprouts and Paula Deen Sweet Potato Casserole and Paula Deen Green Bean Casserole at a holiday meal. And if you're a cranberry lover like me, we HIGHLY recommend our Cranberry Cheesecake for dessert.

Jump to:
  • What I Love About This Recipe
  • Ingredients
  • Instructions
  • Substitutions
  • Variations
  • What to do with leftovers
  • Equipment
  • Storage
  • Top tip
  • Recipe
  • FAQ
  • Food safety

What I Love About This Recipe

I absolutely love the simplicity of this homemade fresh cranberry sauce recipe. Everyone raves about how amazing it is, yet it's so easy and simple to make! I also love how it's naturally gluten free, dairy free and vegan so most can enjoy it! It's also easy to dress up and try different things with. See our variations below for directions on how to make it with orange, jalapeño, orange juice, spiced, and even a healthy low sugar option and more!


Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (2)
  • Ocean Spray fresh whole cranberries- found in the refrigerated produce section of most grocery stores. Other brands are fine too.
  • water
  • sugar

See recipe card for quantities.


Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (3)

1. Rinse cranberries and pick out any that are yucky. Place water and sugar in a saucepan. Place on medium heat.

Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (4)

2. When the sugar is dissolved, add the cranberries and bring to a boil.

Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (5)

3. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until all or most of the berries are popped, about 10-12 minutes. As they start to pop (about 8 minutes in) start pushing the berries against the side of the pan to pop them.


Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (6)

4. It may be foamy, which is fine. Remove from heat and stir for about a minute. Allow to cool, then refrigerate or serve immediately (can also serve hot).

Hint: The sauce will thicken as it cools. It is quite runny while hot. It can be served hot or cold. I like to make it about 50-60 minutes before dinner, so that it has about 30-40 minutes to cool down to about room temperature and thicken up.


  • Orange Juice - substitute ½-1 cup of the water with orange juice for that yummy cranberry orange flavor.
  • Maple Syrup - use 1 cup maple syrup for a granulated sugar free version that has a nice maple flavor. Reduce water to ⅔ cup.
  • Keto- check out this sugar free keto cranberry sauce if you are on a low/no sugar diet.


  • Healthy/ Low Sugar - reduce sugar to ½ cup. Also reduce water to ⅔ cup. It will be very tart!
  • Jalapeño - this is my absolute favorite way to eat this! Finely chop up ½ jalapeño (with seeds for extra spice). You can put it in with the berries to boil, or add later.
  • Spiced- when adding the cranberries, add ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon all spice, ⅛ teaspoon ginger and ⅛ teaspoon cloves.
  • Orange zest- add the zest of one orange at the same time as adding the cranberries. For another fun one, try adding the spices from the "spiced" option above too!
  • Apple- finely chop 1 granny smith apple and add it and ½ teaspoon cinnamon at the same time as the cranberries.
  • Pineapple- Add 1 cup of chopped pineapple (fresh or canned) at the same time as the cranberries, and substitute half of the water for orange juice. Some also like to add ½ chopped banana, but we have not tried that variation!

What to do with leftovers

This is actually one of my favorite questions! We love Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce so much and I always make extra to ensure leftovers because they are so yummy! Here are things that we love to do:

  • dip- put the leftover sauce on a brick of cream cheese for the easiest and tastiest cracker dip! I love adding finely minced jalapeño to it for some extra flavor.
  • sandwich - we love to make leftover turkey (or ham) sandwiches and add on cranberry sauce. It's SO yummy!
  • cheesecake - make our insanely delicious Cranberry Cheesecake
  • meatballs- make these yummy Cranberry Sauce Meatballs.
  • muffins - try these yummy Muffins with your leftovers.


You need only 2 simple tools to make this recipe!


Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, because of the sugar content of the sauce, it takes a long time to go bad and will crystalize before going bad. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Top tip

The cranberries have natural pectin in them, which acts as a thickener. Don't worry if your sauce seems runny, it will thicken as it cools.

Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (7)


Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (8)

Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce

This yummy homemade cranberry sauce is quick, easy and so simple to make! Done in under 20 minutes, it can be served hot or made ahead of time!

5 from 2 votes

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(Video) How to Make Your Own Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 12 mins

Total Time 17 mins

Servings 8 people

Calories/serving 116 kcal


  • 1 saucepan

  • 1 spatula or wooden spoon


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 oz cranberries fresh or frozen, whole


  • Place water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Once sugar is dissolved, add cranberries and bring to a boil.

  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until all or most of the cranberries have popped. Around minute 8, once they start popping, help them pop by pressing them against the side of the pan.

  • Remove from heat and serve warm or allow to cool. Sauce will thicken as it cools.


  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months
  • See above for a lot of fun variations and ways to make it!
(Video) Thanksgiving Food Removing Cranberry Sauce in One Piece


Serving: 1large scoopCalories: 116kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.004gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 35mgFiber: 2gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 26IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.1mg

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was in the comments below

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How to Serve Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce

Serve in a crystal bowl or dish with a nice spoon.

How to Make Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce from scratch?

Simply combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Once sugar dissolves, add the cranberries. Simmer for 10 minutes until berries start to burst. Allow to cool and serve.

Can you freeze Cranberry Sauce?

Yes! Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.

What to do with leftover cranberry sauce?

Place it on a brick of cream cheese for cracker dip, add to turkey sandwiches, make meatballs, muffins or cheesecake!

(Video) Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce

How long does cranberry sauce last?

it lasts 10-14 days in the refrigerator. Due to the high sugar content, it will likely crystalize or become a weird texture before going bad.

How to thicken cranberry sauce?

Cranberries are naturally high in pectin, which is a natural thickener. If you like your sauce thicker, add 1 Tablespoon corn starch to the cold water before beginning the recipe.

Food safety

See more guidelines at

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  1. Nicole

    Classic Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (Easy) (13)
    This Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce was absolutely delicious. The perfect classic recipe to make homemade from scratch. So easy to make! I've tried a lot of cranberry sauces over the years, and this one is the best!


    (Video) Basic 3 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce (Plus Variations!)


Do you add anything to canned cranberry sauce? ›

Addinga teaspoon or two of fresh lemon or orange zest, a tablespoon of chopped candied peel, or even a splash of juice to your canned sauce will brighten flavors and bring in some homemade flavor.

What can I add to store bought cranberry sauce? ›

Stir-in one (or more) of the following add-ins to one can of whole or jellied cranberry sauce:
  1. 2 Tbsp. of orange juice plus 1 tsp. of finely grated orange peel.
  2. ½ can of mandarin oranges.
  3. ½ cup pineapple.
  4. ½ tsp. cinnamon.
  5. ½ cup chopped dried apricots.
  6. ½ cup toasted pecans.
  7. 2 Tbsp. Zinfandel Wine.
11 Aug 2022

How do you make cranberry sauce? ›

Directions. Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes.

How do you serve Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce? ›

Most (if not all) canned cranberry sauces are actually meant to be opened from the bottom of the can. After opening with a can opener, run a knife around the jellied sauce to loosen it from the can. Gently slide the jelly onto a platter.

Are you supposed to warm up cranberry sauce in the can? ›

It's perfectly fine to serve up cranberry sauce — whole berry or jelled — straight out of the can. But in my experience, heating the canned sauce up takes its flavor to the next level. Plus, it becomes a little more aesthetically pleasing.

Do you serve cranberry sauce hot or cold? ›

Cranberry sauce is best served at room temperature or slightly chilled. (You've got enough things on the menu to warm up! Don't make the list longer!) I tend to make cranberry sauce a few days before Thanksgiving and then set it on the table about an hour or two before we plan to eat.

What can I add to jar sauce to make it better? ›

Tossing in strips of basil, a sprig of thyme or some oregano can take your sauce to the next level. Although fresh herbs might pop a bit more, dried herbs and spices can work just as well. Sprinkling in some red pepper flakes, a pinch of parsley and a dash of salt and pepper can liven up your jarred pasta sauce.

What can I do with a jar of cranberry sauce? ›

Here's A Video With Six Simple Uses For Cranberry Sauce (Plus, More Below…)
  1. 1) Pretend it's jam and spread it on toast. ...
  2. 2) Flavor plain yogurt with cranberry sauce. ...
  3. 3) Use it as a warm sauce for sweets. ...
  4. 4) Use it to make pink and pretty whipped cream. ...
  5. 5) Use it as a glaze for poultry and meats.

How do you plate canned cranberry sauce? ›

Open the top of the cranberry sauce can with a can opener. Insert a rubber spatula into the can, between the edge and the sauce to break the air seal. Gently shake the can to slide the log of sauce onto your plate or serving dish. Slice the jellied sauce log into ½-inch slices.

Why is my homemade cranberry sauce watery? ›

Mistake to Avoid #2: Your Sauce Is Too Runny

You may have added too much liquid to the cranberries. In addition to pectin, cranberries contain water, which means you only need to add a splash of liquid to get the cooking going. Add too much and you'll be stirring at the stove much longer than expected.

Is homemade cranberry sauce better? ›

The homemade cranberry sauce has nearly half the calories, carbohydrates, and sugars compared to the store brand. It also has more fiber as well as potassium! Thankfully, buying cranberry sauce at the store is not the only option. We have the perfect Simple Cranberry Sauce recipe to make for the upcoming holidays!

Why do they soak cranberries in water? ›

Growers use water to protect cranberries from frost and hot weather in summer. As a general rule, each acre of cranberries will use seven to ten feet of water to meet all production, harvesting and flooding needs.

Do you need to dilute Ocean Spray cranberry juice? ›

For the perfect drink, dilute one part concentrate with four parts water, add extra water for toddlers.

What can I do with jellied cranberry? ›

Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce
  1. Jellied Cranberry Fruit Leather.
  2. See the full instructions here:
  3. Cranberry Sauce Oat Breakfast Muffins.
  4. Cranberry Sauce Cinnamon Rolls.
  5. Bacon Egg and Cheese Cranberry Sauce breakfast sandwich - hands-up if you've ever put strawberry on your homemade breakfast muffins before?
18 Nov 2020

Can you eat cranberry sauce raw? ›

Turns out raw cranberries are bracing and delicious, the perfect way to cut through all that gravy.

Why is cranberry sauce served with turkey? ›

Due to the importance of cranberries in the 1500s and their abundance, it is believed that the pilgrims and the American Indians would have eaten them at the first Thanksgiving.

Will my cranberry sauce thicken as it cools? ›

The sauce will thicken as it cools. If you want a cranberry mold that holds its shape, continue to boil the mixture so that more pectin is released from the fruit, additional water evaporates, and the sauce becomes thick enough to set into a firm gel.

How is cranberry sauce supposed to be served? ›

The traditional way to serve canned cranberry sauce is to slice the cylinder into rounds and arrange them on a platter. Go a step further by adding a garnish like sugared rosemary or candied ginger. Or, cook the canned sauce with orange juice and zest for a citrusy take on a holiday standby.

Is cranberry sauce supposed to be sweet or sour? ›

Its tangy-sweet flavor cuts the richness of turkey and stuffing, its crimson color brightens an otherwise beige meal. Whether you adore it or ignore it, your Thanksgiving table demands at least one bowl of cranberry sauce.

How do most people eat cranberry sauce? ›

73 percent of Americans prefer their cranberry sauce jellied in the shape of can! 68 percent of Americans say they love the taste of cranberry sauce. Another 15 percent just love the way it jiggles! Six in ten Americans say cranberry sauce has and always will be on their Thanksgiving table.

Why did my cranberry sauce not gel? ›

Why won't my cranberry sauce gel? Boiling is critical to release pectin, the key gelling ingredient, from the cranberry. You must cook the sauce for at least 10 minutes at a full boil for the pectin to react with the sugar and create the proper gelled texture.

How can I make my sauce taste better? ›

Maybe it needs a touch of salt, red pepper flakes, or some fresh garlic to liven it up. You could add dried or fresh herbs too: oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley—they're all great! Want to go next level? Toss in some chopped anchovies (or anchovy salt), olives, or some lemon zest and/or juice.

How do you make jar sauce sweeter? ›

For a richer, sweeter flavor, mash a few roasted garlic cloves and stir them in as the sauce simmers. 8. Liven things up with a little acid. Try apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, capers, chopped olives, or lemon juice.

How do you add Flavour to a sauce? ›

A few herbs and spices add a lot of flavor to pre-made sauce. Add a teaspoon or two of thyme, oregano, basil, or even a small pinch of red pepper flakes if you like a little heat. Just remember that your sauce might already have some of these as ingredients, so don't go overboard on them.

How long does a jar of cranberry sauce last once opened? ›

Once open, it can be stored in a container with a tightly fitting lid for up to two weeks. Just make sure to remove it from the can before storing, and don't freeze it as it could become watery upon thawing.

Is it healthy to eat cranberry sauce? ›

Cranberry sauce offers the same Vitamin C nutrients that can mean less colds and flu this winter. A half-cup serving delivers about 4 percent of your daily Vitamin C needs, but every little bit helps! Believe it or not, cranberry sauce can help you look like a million bucks.

How long does cranberry sauce last in a sealed jar? ›

Properly stored, an unopened can of cranberry sauce will generally stay at best quality for about 18 to 24 months, although it will usually remain safe to use after that.

How is canned cranberry sauce served? ›

It's really up to your own preference. In my family, we slide it out of the can, slice it up and serve it up. In other families, you'll find that heating it is preferred. It's then stirred into a “sauce” and served in a bowl with a spoon.

What is the best canned cranberry sauce? ›

Scroll down for in-depth reviews of each.
  • Best Value: Trader Joe's Cranberry Sauce.
  • Most Traditional: New England Cranberry Colonial Cranberry Sauce.
  • Best Non-Traditional Flavor: First Field Cranberry Sauce.
  • Most Nostalgic: Ocean Spray Whole Cranberry Sauce.
  • Best Spiced: Stonewall Kitchen Holiday Spiced Cranberry Sauce.
1 Nov 2022

What can I use to thicken my cranberry sauce? ›

Try reducing the sauce down even further so more of the liquid cooks off and the mixture thickens. If that doesn't work, add a thickener like gelatin, pectin or a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch whisked into juice or water). Let the sauce cool before refrigerating to completely set.

Can you overcook cranberry sauce? ›

Can you overcook cranberry sauce? If you're not used to making fruit sauces or jams, it can be easy to overcook cranberry sauce. Don't have the heat on too high, which can scorch the sugars (and your pan). After bringing the sauce to a boil you'll reduce heat down to a simmer.

Why do they pack cranberry sauce upside down? ›

According to Ocean Spray, that's intentional: It creates a seamless serving experience. The cans are "filled and labeled upside down with the rounded edge on top and the sharp can-like edge on the bottom to keep the jelly whole," an Ocean Spray spokesperson told CNN Business.

Is cranberry sauce good for your kidneys? ›

The Cranberry Kidney Connection. You may know cranberries as a tasty and tart small red fruit with a history of consumption dating back to Native Americans and the earliest European settlers, but did you know that they are also good for your urinary tract and your kidneys?

Is cranberry sauce good for high blood pressure? ›

How it works: Cranberries and cranberry juice have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help prevent and reduce damage inside the blood vessels, thereby preventing an undesirable increase in blood pressure.

What does cranberry sauce do for diabetes? ›

Cranberry is one such fruit, which, when added to your diet, can help control your blood sugar levels. Cranberries are high in polyphenols (naturally occuring micronutrients in plants) that help in boosting insulin sensitivity.

Why should cranberries not be eaten raw? ›

Is it safe to eat cranberries raw? Cranberries are generally considered safe whether they are cooked or raw. However, because of their notoriously bitter, sharp taste, most people prefer not to eat them raw or unsweetened. This bitterness is due to the high tannin content of cranberries.

How did Native Americans prepare cranberries? ›

They would pound cranberries into a mixture of equal parts ground dried deer meat and fat tallow, then store the mixture in animal skin pouches. "The fat preserves it, as does the acidity in the fruit, which lowers the pH and helps resist bacteria," says food historian Ken Albala, of University of the Pacific.

What happens if you soak dried cranberries? ›

If you plan to cook or bake with dried fruit, soaking it first will keep it plump and moist. It also prevents the fruit from absorbing excess liquid from the recipe.

Why is cranberry juice good for females? ›

All the same, this juice boasts vitamin C, magnesium, and various antioxidants. Evidence suggests that these nutrients may boost immune health, ease PMS symptoms, and promote bone density in women. Cranberry juice may also help prevent UTIs, though scientific results are mixed.

How do you make Ocean Spray cranberry juice taste better? ›

Add some lemon or lime juice

Lemon or lime juice enhances the taste of the cranberry juice and at the same time takes the edge off the tartness.

Is Ocean Spray actually cranberry juice? ›

Each bottle is 100% cranberry juice, made from the juice of over 850 cranberries. It's a delicious way to get the health benefits of cranberry in a pure, authentic form. Plus, it contains no added sugar, preservatives, or artificial flavors and is non-GMO.

Do you chill jellied cranberry sauce? ›

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour the cranberry sauce mixture through a mesh sieve into a bowl. Pour the strained cranberry sauce mixture into jars. Let the cranberry sauce cool and then refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 2 hours.

Can you melt jellied cranberry? ›

Gently heat the jellied sauce on the stove. Take a can of jellied cranberry sauce and remove the jellied sauce from the can. Put it in the top part of a double boiler and melt over low heat.

Is jellied cranberry the same as cranberry sauce? ›

Cranberry sauce can be served either as a gooey liquid or as a solid jelly. The jellied version is solid enough to retain the shape of the container in which it's placed whereas the sauce version is much more fluid. The difference between the fluid sauce and the jelly versions comes down to pectin.

Are cranberries good for weight loss? ›

Cranberries are low in calories

Because cranberries are so rich in nutrients and low in calories, they're great from a weight-loss perspective, Sygo explained.

What happens if you eat too much cranberry sauce? ›

Cranberries and cranberry products are usually safe for most people if consumed in moderation. However, excessive consumption may cause stomach upset and diarrhea — and may also increase the risk of kidney stones in predisposed individuals.

Are cranberries anti inflammatory? ›

They're also high in anthocyanins. These are the compounds that give cranberries their dark red color. Studies have shown that they may have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.

What can I add to my cranberry juice to make it taste better? ›

  1. Add honey. It's nice and sweet, and if you use raw honey, it has several health benefits of its own. ...
  2. Mix it with another fruit juice. ...
  3. Use sweeteners. ...
  4. Dilute the juice with water/soda water. ...
  5. Add some lemon or lime juice. ...
  6. Add some salt. ...
  7. Add cucumber or celery. ...
  8. Use the cranberry juice in a smoothie.
5 Feb 2021

How do you get the bitterness out of cranberry sauce? ›

If your cranberry sauce comes out tasting too bitter, don't reach for the sugar. Granulated sugar might make the situation worse, especially if you don't have time to reheat the sauce so the sugar can dissolve properly. Instead, reach for another sweetener: maple syrup.

What can I do with a can of cranberry? ›

  1. Leftover Cranberry Sauce Bars.
  2. Instant Pot Cranberry Meatballs.
  3. Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken.
  4. Cranberry Jello Salad.
  5. Leftover Cranberry Sauce Mini Cheesecake.
  6. Healthy Cranberry Crisp.
  7. Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies with Almond Glaze.
  8. Slow Cooker Cranberry BBQ Pulled Pork.
4 Jun 2022

How do you plate jellied cranberry sauce? ›

Open the top of the cranberry sauce can with a can opener. Insert a rubber spatula into the can, between the edge and the sauce to break the air seal. Gently shake the can to slide the log of sauce onto your plate or serving dish. Slice the jellied sauce log into ½-inch slices.

What can you not mix with cranberry juice? ›

Possible Interactions
  • Warfarin (Coumadin): Cranberry may raise the risk of bleeding, especially if you already take medications to thin the blood such as warfarin. ...
  • Aspirin: Like aspirin, cranberries contain salicylic acid. ...
  • Other medications: Cranberry may interact with medications that are broken down by the liver.

How do you thicken cranberry juice? ›

Still stumped? Try reducing the sauce down even further so more of the liquid cooks off and the mixture thickens. If that doesn't work, add a thickener like gelatin, pectin or a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch whisked into juice or water).

Does cranberry juice interfere with blood pressure medicine? ›

Cranberry might decrease how quickly the body breaks down some medications that are broken down by the liver, including nifedipine (Procardia). In theory, drinking cranberry juice while taking nifedipine might increase the effects and side effects of nifedipine (Procardia).

What can I add to canned sauce to make it better? ›

Maybe it needs a touch of salt, red pepper flakes, or some fresh garlic to liven it up. You could add dried or fresh herbs too: oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley—they're all great! Want to go next level? Toss in some chopped anchovies (or anchovy salt), olives, or some lemon zest and/or juice.

Why do you put lemon juice in canned tomato sauce? ›

Adding the recommended amount of lemon juice (or citric acid) lowers the pH of all tested varieties enough to allow for safe boiling water bath canning. Acidifying all tomatoes now is recommended because it allows for safe processing in a boiling water bath canner (and for a safe short process in a pressure canner).

What can I add to tomato sauce to make it richer? ›

To make your sauce rich and luxurious, finish it with a pat of butter, a splash of cream or coconut cream, or a spoonful of yogurt, crème fraîche, or sour cream. 13. Swirl in some high-quality olive oil Adding a glug to the sauce just before serving gives it a similar richness and shine to butter without adding dairy.

Why does my homemade cranberry sauce taste bitter? ›

Dear Evelyn: I had the same problem when I first started making my own cranberry sauce. I found out that you should cook them just until they pop. Further cooking will make them bitter, and once that happens, you need to start again.

What neutralizes a bitter taste? ›

Sweetness: From sugar, honey, fruits or otherwise, sweetness will counteract bitter and sour flavours. It can also be used to cut down the heat of a particularly spicy meal.


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