This cranberry orange sauce is a 5 ingredient recipe that’s made with fresh cranberries, sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Cranberry orange sauce is a fresh, bright tasting accompaniment to any holiday meal.
I always make homemade cranberry sauce for the holidays, along with some of our other Thanksgiving favorites like fall rice pilaf and slow cooker turkey. This easy cranberry orange sauce takes just minutes to make and is way better than the store bought canned kind. If you have cranberry lovers in the house, you’ll also want to try my cranberry bread recipe!
While it’s definitely easy to grab a can of cranberry sauce for the holidays, making your own fresh sauce takes just about 10 minutes and the flavors are just SO much better.
How do you make cranberry orange sauce?
The first step is to get some cranberries. I prefer fresh cranberries, but frozen cranberries will also work fine. The cranberries are simmered with granulated sugar and orange juice until the cranberries burst, then fresh orange zest is added into the mix.. You can either add all the cranberries in at once, or add half, then stir in half later on so that there are some whole berries in the final sauce.
What ingredients are in cranberry orange sauce?
The basic ingredients in cranberry orange sauce include cranberries, orange juice, granulated sugar, orange zest and salt. I like to use fresh squeezed orange juice whenever possible.
How do you zest an orange?
This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of orange zest. To zest an orange, you can use a microplane, a grater with fine teeth, or a vegetable peeler. With a microplane or grater, simply run the surface of the orange against the tool to make zest. Be sure to only take off the outer orange layer, the white layer underneath is bitter.
To zest an orange with a vegetable peeler, you’ll want to peel off a chunk of orange peel, then mince it with a kitchen knife.
Can you make cranberry orange sauce ahead of time?
You can make cranberry orange sauce up to 3 days before you plan to serve it. I always make my cranberry sauce at least one day in advance because I feel like the flavors have more time to develop as they sit in the fridge.
Can you freeze cranberry orange sauce?
You can freeze cranberry orange sauce for up to one month before you plan to serve it. Simply reheat your cranberry sauce over medium heat in a skillet. Freezing the sauce introduces more water into the mix, so your cranberry sauce will not be as thick as when it was originally made. You can simmer your sauce for about 5-6 minutes to let some of the liquid evaporate off.
Orange cranberry sauce variations
This is a basic orange cranberry sauce recipe, but you can add other ingredients to customize it to your liking.
- Ginger: Add 1 tablespoon finely minced crystallized ginger to the sauce.
- Pineapple: Add 1 cup canned crushed pineapple.
- Apple: Add one peeled and diced apple.
- Pecans: Add 1/4 cup diced pecans.
- Pear: Add one peeled and diced pear.
How to use leftover cranberry orange sauce
I typically don’t have a ton of cranberry sauce leftover, but if you find yourself with extra, you can spoon it over waffles or pancakes, serve it on top of oatmeal, or try one of these other delicious ideas.
- Cranberry Meatballs
- Cranberry Yogurt Parfaits with vanilla yogurt, cranberry sauce and chopped pecans.
- Cranberry Jello Salad
- Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Sandwiches
The flavors in this cranberry sauce are so delicious that you won’t be tempted to buy the canned version again!
More Thanksgiving Recipes
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Southern Cornbread Dressing
- Bacon Green Bean Bundles
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
- Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
Cranberry Orange Sauce
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup orange juice fresh squeezed is best
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries frozen will also work
- 2 teaspoons orange zest plus more for garnish
- pinch of salt
- Place the sugar and orange juice in a medium pan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the cranberries, orange zest and salt, then simmer for 8-10 minutes or until cranberries have burst. If you prefer a chunkier sauce, add 3/4 of the berries, then after the cranberries have burst, stir the remaining 1/4 berries in.
- Let the cranberry orange sauce sit at room temperature until cool, then transfer to a container and store in the fridge until you're ready to serve it.