This cranberry relish is a blend of fresh cranberries, apple, orange and sugar, all mixed together to form a sweet and tart condiment. Cranberry relish is a unique and welcome addition to any holiday meal!

Cranberry sauce is often on holiday dinner menus, but have you ever tried cranberries in relish form? This fresh and chunky sauce pairs perfectly with roasted turkey and glazed ham.

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A bowl of cranberry relish topped with whole cranberries, orange zest and mint.

I always make a traditional cooked cranberry sauce, but then I stumbled across the idea of uncooked cranberry relish in a magazine and was intrigued. Turns out, this is a delicious, refreshing addition to Thanksgiving and it couldn’t be any easier to make. If you have any extra cranberries on hand after making this relish, you should definitely use them in my delicious cranberry bread recipe!

What is cranberry relish?

Cranberry relish is a condiment made from uncooked crushed cranberries and sugar. Apples and oranges are often used as flavoring agents and this sauce also sometimes contains nuts such as walnuts or pecans. This relish differs from cranberry sauce because cranberry sauce is cooked and has a different consistency.

How do you make cranberry relish?

The first step is to chop your cranberries. I find that a food processor works best for this step. You’ll want to carefully pulse your cranberries into small pieces without actually blending them into mush. I find that hitting the pulse button about 8-10 times does the trick. After the cranberries are chopped, you’ll want to chop your apple and orange in a similar fashion. Add sugar, then let everything sit until the flavors are well combined.

Chopped cranberries in a food processor.

What is cranberry relish used for?

Cranberry relish can be served alongside roasted meats such as turkey or ham. It can also be spooned over a block of cream cheese and served as a dip with crackers. I also enjoy a spoonful of relish with vanilla yogurt, or as a topping for pancakes or waffles.

Can relish be made ahead of time?

This relish can be made up to 3 days before you plan to serve it. You’ll want to make your relish a minimum of one hour before you plan to serve it so that there’s time for the flavors to meld. Store your relish in a covered container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

Chopped cranberries, apple and orange with sugar in a mixing bowl.

Can cranberry relish be frozen?

I don’t recommend freezing this recipe because the fruits will release a lot of liquid when thawed and you’ll end up with a watery relish.

Cranberry relish in a mixing bowl.

Cranberry Relish Variations

This is a basic recipe for relish but there are so many different ways you can flavor this condiment.

  • Ginger: Add 2 teaspoons chopped crystallized ginger.
  • Pear: Substitute pear for the apple.
  • Pineapple: Add drained, crushed pineapple to the relish.
  • Nuts: Add finely chopped pecans or walnuts to the relish.
  • Spice: Add a pinch of cinnamon.
  • Celery: Add 1/4 cup finely chopped celery.

A serving spoon in a bowl of cranberry relish.

Once you get a taste of this amazing sweet and tart condiment, you’ll be hooked and it will become part of your regular holiday menu. Some of my family members even prefer this relish over cranberry sauce and I have to admit, they’re both super delicious!

More holiday recipe favorites

Cranberry Relish Video

5 from 76 votes

Cranberry Relish

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of cranberry relish topped with whole cranberries, orange zest and mint.
This cranberry relish is a blend of fresh cranberries, apple, orange and sugar, all mixed together to form a sweet and tart condiment. Cranberry relish is a unique and welcome addition to any holiday meal!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Resting Time1 hour
Total Time11 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Serves 8


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 apple cored and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 orange seeds removed and end trimmed off
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • fresh cranberries and orange zest for garnish optional


  • Place the cranberries in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer the cranberries to a bowl.
  • Add the apple to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the apple to the bowl with the cranberries.
  • Add the orange to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the orange to the bowl with the cranberries and apples.
  • Add the sugar to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 3 days. 
  • Serve, garnished with cranberries and orange zest if desired.


Adapted from Genius Kitchen.


Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 11.1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    My mother made this every Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I took over making it, I added a generous splash of Grand Marnier! Even my sweet, teetotaler mother said it was better than hers!!

  2. 5 stars
    My mother made this exact recipe times 5 every year, we had a hand grinder and all 8 kids had to grind at least for a couple of minutes. This is the best on a turkey and stuffing sandwich with a little mayo. It is really best to make this 4-5 days ahead of Thanksgiving as the cranberries need to absorb the sugar..

  3. When putting this over cream cheese for a “dip” could you add a bit of onion? Or would that be awful? I don’t think I would do when using it for turkey . It is just a thought. What do you think?

  4. 5 stars
    I can just imagine enjoying this with so many dishes! Love cranberry and this recipe is the perfect one to bring out how amazing it is!

  5. 5 stars
    I love this healthier, fresh alternative to canned cranberry sauce!! I’ll definitely be using this recipe on my Thanksgiving menu this year!

  6. I never tried Cranberry relish all my life and this looks gorgeous. The color is so appetizing which prompted me to re-create this relish for Thanksgiving. Thanks for the idea.

  7. Loved it. I peeled the orange but I may add some orange peel next time. Cut the sugar to 1/2 cup and added chopped pecans. Tasty!

  8. This looks so good! I only know one relish, it’s pickles I think? lol! But this one is amazing. I can’t wait to try it.

  9. I always use cranberry sauce on my turkey at Thanksgiving. I don’t like gravy but I love the flavor cranberries add to my turkey. Think I found my new recipe to try this year.

  10. 5 stars
    I’ve been looking for something like this for the upcoming holiday meal and thanks to you I just found it in this delicious cranberry recipe. This looks so easy to make and a big hit with the family and kids – Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. 5 stars
    I have to say, I may or may not have drooled a bit at this. Is it normal to want to just eat spoonfuls of this?

  12. 5 stars
    I have never heard of cranberry relish before. Gosh, this sounds delicious! I bet it would taste great with stuffing too.

  13. This is definitely an interesting recipe. I’ve never tried cranberry relish but I’d love to try it out and introduce it to the family. We all like cranberries so it could be a hit!