This Thanksgiving, sink your spoon deep into a bowl of homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce. It’s tart, sweet, subtly spiced, and the EASIEST Thanksgiving side.
It’s time for some Thanksgiving life advice.
Do not, I repeat, do not buy canned cranberry sauce or cranberry jelly.
I’m saying this because I care.
The holiday meal you spend hours preparing deserves the real deal.
5 Star Review
“This sauce couldn’t be easier to make. I don’t think I will ever go back to the slab of canned sauce everyone else sticks on the table. Tangy, tart, but semi-sweet.”— Kathleen —
This Thanksgiving, I’m on a mission to eradicate canned cranberry sauce and demonstrate to all that homemade cranberry sauce is:
- Easy. Simply dump all the ingredients into a saucepan, stir, and BOOM. Bright, blissful cranberry orange sauce that’s the perfect tart bite against juicy Thanksgiving turkey, Glazed Sweet Potatoes, and Balsamic Brussels Sprouts.
- Healthy. Made without preservatives and naturally sweetened with honey, with fresh berries giving you vitamins to boot.
- Extra delicious. With notes of orange, cinnamon, and floral honey, this recipe elevates everyday cranberry sauce beyond expectations.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Sauce
Tart, yet sweet and fresh cranberries are accented by hints of orange, warm spices, and naturally sweet honey to create the BEST cranberry orange sauce for roast turkey.
- Fresh Cranberries. Ditch the can and head to your produce department for a bag of fresh whole cranberries. You also can often find frozen cranberries.
- Orange Juice + Zest. For a fresh, festive pop that brightens and sweetens the cranberry sauce. Burst of happy flavor!
- Honey. Save the granulated sugar for Pecan Pie Cobbler and instead grab a bottle of honey. I love the subtle floral flavor it lends the sauce. And less sugar also means saving your calories for other delicious parts of the meal.
- Cinnamon + Cloves. Add warmth and subtle spice.
- Salt. Pinch of salt balances all the flavors in this homemade cranberry orange sauce recipe.
- Bring all ingredients to a boil then simmer over medium heat in medium saucepan.
- Cook, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries break down and the sauce thickens. Remove, let cool, serve. ENJOY!
For the best cranberry orange sauce ever, follow these tips:
- Sweeten to Taste. Some like it tart, others like it sweet. Add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey to the sauce, if desired (be careful when you taste—the sauce is hot!).
- Perfect Consistency. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little extra water to thin the sauce until the desired consistency is reached.
- To Store. Store cranberry orange sauce in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- To Freeze. Homemade cranberry orange sauce may be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before serving.
- To Reheat. Warm in the microwave or on the stovetop to the desired temperature. You may also serve leftover cranberry sauce at room temperature or chilled from the refrigerator.
Meal Prep Tip
Knock one thing off your Thanksgiving to-do list. Cranberry orange sauce can be prepared ahead of time and then chilled in the fridge or frozen until ready to serve.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Saucepan. A standard saucepan like this will be your handy sidekick not just on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year.
- Measuring Spoons. An essential tool no cook should be without.
- Serving Bowl. Because even cranberries deserved to get dressed up for the holidays.
- Microplane. The perfect grater for zesting the orange peel.
Let this be the year of homemade cranberry orange sauce.
Instead of the “plop” of the canned stuff, you’ll hear only a spoon clinking against the bottom of an empty serving bowl.
That’s beautiful Turkey Day music, my friends. I’m glad we had this talk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t be afraid to jazz up your easy cranberry sauce further with a dash of maple syrup, garnish of cinnamon stick, splash of red wine, or a few chopped dried apricots or cherries.
Be patient. It can take time for cranberries to break down, reduce, and thicken. Give this sauce the full 15 minutes to simmer and do its thing. Also, note that the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
Cranberries are bitter because they contain powerful antioxidants, called tannins. Adding something sweet, like honey or orange juice, helps balance the flavors so that the sweetness of the cranberries can shine.
Cranberry sauce is cooked and sweetened, whereas cranberry relish, like this Cranberry Orange Relish, is made of fresh fruit pureed in food processor and served cold.
Cranberry Orange Sauce
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries thawed if frozen
- Zest of 1 orange
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup honey plus 2 tablespoons (plus additional 1 to 2 tablespoons to taste)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Bring cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey, water, cinnamon, cloves, and salt to a simmer over medium heat.
- Continue cooking, stirring often, until the cranberries break down and the sauce thickens. Taste (careful, it will be hot!) and add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey as desired. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little extra water to reach the desired consistency. Let cool, then serve.
- TO STORE: Store cranberry orange sauce in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- TO FREEZE: Homemade cranberry orange sauce may be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before serving.
- TO REHEAT: Warm in the microwave or on the stovetop to the desired temperature. You may also serve leftover cranberry sauce at room temperature or chilled from the refrigerator.
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