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Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe

This easy Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe has just four ingredients – perfect for your holiday table!

Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe

There’s nothing quite like homemade cranberry orange sauce. Yes, you can buy it from the store and save yourself some food prep time, but when you make it yourself you get to experiment with the basic concept and modify it to be far more “you” than store-bought.

Food Network’s Sunny Anderson knows this all too well–her own approach is to go ahead and purchase store-bought cranberry sauce and add her own extra ingredients. At least that was her approach for her Food Network recipe. Anderson whisks her store-bought, and adds fresh cranberries to jazz up the dish.

We aren’t suggesting you take that approach with this recipe, but if you find yourself in a pinch and you need to really stretch some cranberry sauce, that’s not the worst idea in the world.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange

This recipe is so easy and fast to make, and it is perfect for your night-before food prep. You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to make this–make it ahead of time and stash it in the fridge!

This cranberry sauce recipe has a subtle orange flavor and there is no “spin” on the fruit-forward approach here–no cinnamon or other spices. This is a good recipe for anyone who prefers a “straightforward” cranberry flavor. If you prefer even more, feel free to omit the orange zest and juice and add the same amount of water. However you like it, it will pair well with your juicy turkey!

Using Frozen Cranberries

Some may be tempted to swap out frozen cranberries for fresh ones. If you do this here, be sure to thaw them completely before using. It may be a lot more difficult to deal with partially frozen cranberries during the prep stage.

Why Cook This Recipe?

Some want to know why the cooking stage is necessary with this recipe. Why not just mix all the ingredients together cold? There are many reasons to cook this recipe but one of the biggies is the fact that raw cranberries may simply be too bitter for some. Cranberries, like wine, contain tannins. Some of those will cook off and that’s exactly what you want with this recipe.

Sweet Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange for Thanksgiving Dinner

Cranberry Stains

There is one little aspect about cooking with cranberries that tends to annoy many–the stains. Cranberry juice is notorious for leaving stains on clothing, countertops, and dish towels. Want to know how to get rid of those stains?

Attack them as soon as possible and do not let them set. The University Of Illinois Extension official site has a cranberry cleanup recipe that includes the following instructions:

  1. Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol.
  2. Sponge the stain with the vinegar/alcohol solution.
  3. Blot until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the stain disappears.

Do You Have Leftover Ingredients?

Cranberry and orange juice are key ingredients in the mixed drink some of us know and love as a Cosmopolitan. That’s the cocktail made famous by Sex In The City and typically requires (for some recipes) an ounce of orange juice and an ounce of cranberry juice among other ingredients. If you’ve never had a Cosmo before, it might be a good time to try one when making this sauce! You don’t even have to add Vodka! Skipping the Triple Sec might leave a bit of a hole in the flavor of that mixed drink, but a teaspoon or two of orange extract might be an acceptable substitute.

Try this homemade cranberry sauce without oranges.

Put down that can opener! Homemade Cranberry Sauce couldn't be more simple yet tastes amazing. This version can be made with or without the additional flavor of orange - delicious!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange

Yield: 6-8 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Skip the canned cranberry sauce and make this delicious cranberry orange sauce!


  • 1 12- ounce package fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 large strips orange zest
  • large pinch of salt


  1. Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Stir gently and frequently until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium. Continue to stir frequently and cook until cranberries start to pop and split.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove orange zest and chill until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 120Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 18mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 27gProtein: 0g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Try these Delicious Cranberry Recipes:

Kristy Bernardo
Latest posts by Kristy Bernardo (see all)

Carolyn Ward

Thursday 28th of November 2019

I think you need to add water to the ingredients...

Kristy Bernardo

Wednesday 4th of December 2019


Tricia Weaver

Friday 20th of November 2015

Any chance this could be made in crockpot?

Kristy Bernardo

Saturday 21st of November 2015

Hi Tricia, I haven't tried it but I don't see why not. Let me know how it works for you!

Mary Frances

Friday 13th of November 2015

That looks amazing!! Never tried cranberry sauce and yes, such a great idea to make it for thanksgiving.I'm sure my family and friends would love it! Thanks :)

Kristy Bernardo

Saturday 14th of November 2015

Thanks, MF!


Thursday 27th of November 2014

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange via @thewickednoodle


Thursday 27th of November 2014

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange via @thewickednoodle

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