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Cranberry Punch (Homemade Cranberry Juice Cocktail)

This Cranberry Punch is very easy to make and bursting with vibrant flavors from fresh cranberries, crisp apples, and warming whole spices.

Sweetened naturally with honey, it’s much healthier than any store-bought fruit punch and definitely better tasting! Serve hot or cold.

Spiced cranberry apple punch in a Mason jar. Glass mugs with punch in the background.

If you want to reduce your sugar intake during the holidays, skip the sugar-loaded store-bought cranberry juice cocktail and embrace the festivities with this homemade cranberry apple punch.

At the heart of this charming concoction lies an infusion of tart and tangy cranberries, succulent apples, and a medley of warming cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and fresh ginger.

However, the best part of this cranberry punch recipe is that it doesn’t contain any refined sugar.

Instead, you’ll sweeten it with a gift from the bees, AKA honey!

It’s worth noting that while this cranberry punch is non-alcoholic, you can easily transform it into a spiked party punch.

Regardless, your loved ones won’t be able to resist this delightful beverage. Cheers!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are three reasons why this holiday punch recipe is a keeper:

  • It’s healthy! This homemade cranberry juice cocktail has all-natural, refined-sugar-free ingredients, including fresh fruit, whole spices, and honey.
  • Quick and easy. This festive drink is a cinch, and you don’t need a fruit juicer or a blender. All you need is your stovetop and a saucepan.
  • Easy to customize. This cranberry punch recipe works with any combination of fresh fruit and berries. Plus, it’s an excellent cocktail mixer if you’re feeling extra festive!

Cranberry punch in glass mugs garnished with cinnamon sticks.

Ingredient Notes

Here is a brief overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make this delicious drink:

  • Water – For the purest-tasting punch, use filtered water, as tap water often contains flavor impurities.
  • Fresh cranberries – Fully ripe cranberries are firm to the touch, so when you press them gently between your fingers, they should feel solid and not mushy or overly soft. You can also use frozen cranberries.
  • Apples (cored and chopped) – You can use any apple variety. Try Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala, Pink Lady, or Fuji.
  • Fresh ginger (sliced) – The distinctly warm and cozy aroma infuses the punch with a touch of holiday spirit.
  • Whole cloves and cinnamon sticks – Infusing the punch with these whole, warming spices enhances flavor, aroma, and presentation.
  • Honey – It sweetens the punch naturally and intensifies the warm, fruity flavors without overpowering them. You can also use maple syrup here.

How to Make Cranberry Punch

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make this easy punch:

  1. Prep the cranberries: Wash the cranberries, pick out any soft and squishy ones, and place the rest in a medium saucepan.
  2. Simmer the punch: Add water, apples, ginger slices, cloves, and cinnamon sticks, cover, and gently heat on low-medium for about 30 minutes or until the cranberries begin to burst. Turn off the heat.
  3. Add sweetener: Add the honey and stir to combine, then let the mixture stand on the warm burner for about 15 minutes so the flavors can blend.
  4. Strain (optional) and serve: Strain out the cranberries, apple pieces, and whole spices (I like leaving everything in the punch), and keep it in a glass jar in the fridge for about 3 days. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe Tips

  • Dilute with water as needed. As the punch simmers, the flavors will become more concentrated, so give it a taste and add more water if the taste is too intense.
  • Make it fizzy. To make a sparkling cranberry punch, let it cool to room temperature before pouring it into a large punch bowl, leaving room at the top for a splash of sparkling water, club soda, or ginger ale.


The beauty of this homemade fruit punch is that you can customize it to suit any taste.

Here are some flavor-enhancing ingredients you might like:

  • Fresh fruits – Build on the tantalizing fruity flavors by infusing additional fruits, such as pineapple, pomegranate seeds, and pears.
  • Citrus – Brighten up the flavors by adding orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime slices.
  • Berries – Apart from cranberries, you can add strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
  • Vanilla – Try Infusing the cranberry apple punch with a vanilla bean or a splash of pure vanilla extract for extra warmth and sweetness.
  • Whole spices – Besides fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves, add other spices like cardamom, nutmeg, and star anise.

Storing & Freezing

Strained cranberry punch will last in a covered container in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If freezing, leave a few inches at the top of the container for expansion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few related questions about making cranberry punch:

What’s the difference between cranberry juice and cranberry juice cocktail?

Cranberry juice is made from 100% pure cranberries, with no additional sweeteners or additives.

On the other hand, cranberry juice cocktail is a blend of cranberry juice with other fruit juices (such as apple, grape, or other berries) and is sweetened with added sugars.

What is good alcohol to mix with cranberry punch?

Make this cranberry punch a mixed drink by adding a splash of rum, vodka, or sparkling wine to individual glasses or spike the entire pitcher.

In this case, consider serving a non-alcoholic version as well so everyone can enjoy it.

How much alcohol should I add?

If you opt for individual cranberry punch cocktails, add 1¼ – 1½ ounces of your alcohol of choice to each glass before topping it with the punch.

Or, if you want to spike the whole pitcher, stir in about a cup of alcohol before serving.

More Cozy Drink Recipes

Here are a few more drinks for the holiday season:

Cranberry and Apple Punch

Cranberry Punch (Homemade Cranberry Juice Cocktail)

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This spiced cranberry punch is made with basic ingredients and is a perfect holiday drink the whole family can enjoy.


  • 10 cups water
  • 3 cups fresh cranberry
  • 2 apples, cored and chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey


  1. Wash the cranberries and remove any that are soft.
  2. Put the cranberries in a medium saucepan. Add the water, apples, ginger slices, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Cover and heat on low-medium heat for about 30 minutes. Don’t boil the mixture, but make sure it’s hot enough for cranberries to start popping. Turn off the heat.
  3. Add the honey. Mix well and let the mixture stand on the hot stove for about 15 more minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  4. You can strain the mixture to remove the cranberries, spices, and apple pieces. I prefer to leave everything in the punch.
  5. Keep the punch in the fridge in glass jars for up to 3 days. Serve hot or cold.

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