Best Cranberry Orange Sauce

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This Cranberry Orange Sauce is an absolute must have on your Thanksgiving dinner table. It makes for the perfect side or accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey, and tastes so much better than canned sauce does!

If your family loves cranberry sauce, you definitely need to give this recipe a try. It smells amazing, tastes great and is super easy to put together too!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Vibrant Flavors: Experience a burst of tangy cranberries perfectly complemented by the citrusy zing of orange in every spoonful.
  • Homemade Goodness: Our canned cranberry sauce-inspired cranberry orange sauce recipe brings the warmth of homemade creations to your table.
  • Versatile Pairing: Elevate your dishes with this versatile sauce that pairs beautifully with turkey, pork, desserts, and more.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Orange Juice & Zest: Provides a zesty, citrusy flavor that perfectly complements and balances the tartness of the cranberries.
  • Sugar or Sugar Powder: Adds sweetness to counterbalance the tart cranberries, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
  • Fresh Cranberries: The star ingredient, they bring a vibrant color and a unique, tangy flavor to this festive sauce.
Cranberry Orange Sauce Ingredients.

How to Make the Cranberry Orange Sauce?

Step one: Prep the Ingredients

Prepare all ingredients. Extract the orange juice and zest.

Step two: Combine the Sugar, Zest and Orange Juice

Mix juice, zest and sugar or powder in a medium saucepan.

Step three: Cook Until the Sugar Dissolves

Boil until sugar or sugar powder dissolves. About 1-2 min

Step four: Add the Cranberries

Add all the fresh whole cranberries.

Step five: Cook Until the Sauce Thickens

Cook until the cranberries burst and the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.

Step six: Serve and Enjoy

Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy your homemade Cranberry Sauce!

Expert Tips

  • Texture Preference: For a chunkier texture resembling cranberry relish, maintain the cranberries in a chunky state. If a smoother consistency is preferred, utilize a potato masher to mash the cranberries.
  • Blending Method: For a different approach, blend fresh cranberries in a food processor before combining them with orange juice and zest. Stir the mixture intermittently until it reaches a harmonious blend.
  • Thickening Technique: If the sauce appears thinner than desired during cooking, reduce the heat and simmer for additional minutes until the cranberries begin to break down, resulting in a thicker consistency once cooled.
  • Zesting Guidance: When incorporating orange zest, ensure to grate only the orange portion, avoiding the bitter white pith. Stop grating once you reach the white part to prevent bitterness from affecting the sauce’s flavor.


  • Spice Infusion: Elevate the flavor profile of your sauce by adding warm spices like cinnamon stick and grated ginger. If cinnamon sticks are unavailable, ground cinnamon serves as a suitable substitute.
  • Enhancing Sweetness: To adjust the sweetness of your cranberry orange sauce, consider incorporating granulated sugar or brown sugar for a sweeter touch. Simmer the sauce longer on medium heat to allow the flavors to meld.


  • Healthier Sweetener Options: Opt for a healthier alternative by using additional fresh orange juice or maple syrup as sweeteners in your cranberry orange sauce.

storage & reheating instructions

  • Storage: Transfer leftover cranberry sauce to an airtight container once cooled. Store it in the refrigerator for up to one week to maintain freshness.
  • Reheating: To reheat the sauce, simply place it in a saucepan over low heat on the stove. Stir occasionally until warmed through. Alternatively, microwave the desired portion in short intervals, stirring in between, until heated to your preference. Avoid boiling to preserve the sauce’s texture and flavor.

what to serve with this recipe?

  • Roast Turkey: Pair fresh cranberry sauce with roast turkey for a burst of flavor. Elevate leftover turkey sandwiches with cranberry orange sauce.
  • Desserts: Use this versatile sauce as a topping for desserts like cheesecake, ice cream, or pound cake to introduce a fruity and tangy twist to your sweet treats.
  • Grilled Chicken: Pair cranberry orange sauce with grilled chicken breasts or thighs for a savory-sweet combination that tantalizes the taste buds with each bite.


Can I use frozen cranberries for this recipe?

Yes, frozen cranberries can be used in this recipe without compromising the delicious flavor and texture of the homemade cranberry orange sauce. Just ensure to adjust cooking times accordingly for optimal results.

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