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
    I have been making a variation of this for many, many years. I have only used cranberries, orange, and sugar. I use a whole orange since I don’t use the apple. I will try with the apple next time – sounds like a good addition.

    I agree with those who say too much sugar. Depending on the size of the orange and its sweetness, I start with 1/2 cup sugar and perhaps add a little more if needed. But I prefer tart flavors to sweet.

  2. 5 stars
    Made it with 1\2 a small can of crushed pineapple, 1/2 C chopped pecans, and only about 1/4 C of sugar. We loved it and my husband isn’t a big cranberry fan so that’s saying something lol. And it’s a must to make at least a day ahead. This stuff is addictive! Thank you for sharing😊

  3. Yum! I remember this recipe as a child….a neighbor used to make it. Thank you!

    I’m going to serve it on individual leaf lettuce salads with chopped celery, sliced sweet pickled beets, feta cheese and a touch of balsamic dressing….I think they will be delicious, and beautiful on the table!

  4. Love your recipes.

    This makes lots. There’s just two of and we use it with chicken and ham. Can I freeze half to use later?

    1. You can easily halve the recipe! If you freeze it just be aware the consistency may be more watery when thawed.

  5. 5 stars
    I am SO going to make this. I actually come from a family of cranberry ‘haters’. How could they? I think this relish will turn them around. If it doesn’t convert them, I’ll keep it all to myself! Thank you for sharing and the video was a plus!

  6. 5 stars
    Have been making this for about 30 years. I like to add dry raspberry Jello as part of the sugar. A large box then add sugar to taste. Add lots of chopped walnuts to taste. Thanks for the recipie.

  7. 5 stars
    My Grandma made this every thanksgiving going way back (over 50 years) and we still do it every year and always talk about her. She added walnuts and mini marshmallows. Still use her old hand crank meat grinder just for this recipe. Thanks for posting this recipe.

    1. No way – My grandma also used her hand crank meat grinder! I now have her grinder and I’ll be attempting to recreate it this year, wish me luck 🙂

    1. Hello. I have several questions, and I hope you can answer them shortly. I was looking up a recipe that had more chopped foods avoiding the jello and canned cranberry sauce recipes.

      I saw the picture of your 3 daughters. They are lovely and precious. Such a blessing.

      I don’t know if you peel the orange or leave on the orange peel intact and put in food processor.
      Please help me with this.

      Also, how large of serving would this make per person?
      Do the children like it also?
      *Have you every added any of the following additions to your recipe that you liked?
      crushed pineapple – drained how much (whole can) ?
      *Nuts sound good to me, but did you have many that had to turn it down because of health issues and avoiding nuts? Is one nut better than another? And how much finely chopped?
      *Do you like the 1/4 cup celery added.

      *Thank you sincerely for your help with this. It sounds delicious but want others to enjoy the different ingredients also. I’m trying to make one trip to the grocery store, and I wanted to make sure I had all my ingredients needed on my list.

      God’s blessings this day.


      1. You leave the peel on the orange, it’s about 1/2 cup person. It’s sweet enough that kids who like cranberries should enjoy it. You would use an 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple. I typically just ask if people have nut allergies as I plan my menu. Hope this helps!

    1. I love this recipe it’s so simple to make and taste awesome. I’m making pumpkin scones to go with it, plus I like it on my turkey. Happy Thanksgiving everyone enjoy

  8. 5 stars
    Too much sugar as written, for my taste. Thankfully I started by adding just half. I’ll let it sit for a couple hours and taste again. It might need a couple more tablespoons, but certainly not half a cup!
    Other than that… Yum! Maybe it’s a good thing that the grocery store was already out of cranberry relish when I stopped in this morning. Thanks for coming to my rescue!

  9. This is the closest recipe I’ve found online to the way my mother made it. In my mind, it’s just not Thanksgiving without it! My mom’s recipe uses 1lb. fresh cranberries (this is another example of a product now sold in a smaller quantity [12 oz.] at the same price as the original quantity [1 lb/16 oz]), 2 apples, 2 oranges, and ½ lemon. Sugar 1½ – 2½ cups according to taste. My mother used a hand-crank meat grinder for the fruits; I use a food processor, but I don’t like the way I end up with such unevenly chopped pieces. I recently bought an electric meat grinder to make my own ground beef, so this year I’m going to try using it instead of the food processor to make the relish. The relish lasts for a couple of weeks in the fridge if stored in an air-tight jar. It is FABULOUS on sandwiches made with leftover turkey!

  10. 5 stars
    I only had frozen cranberries (which I thawed first), and this was still amazing. So easy to make, and wonderfully fresh tasting. It’s even better the next day too!

  11. 5 stars
    We have had this exact recipe in our family for more than 40 years and is a treat anxiously looked forward too every fall. However we do often freeze it for up to a couple of months because it’s easy to make and we use the 1 lb bag of fresh or frozen cranberries. We use a food grinder for our consistency, so glad others have enjoyed it!

  12. This was an absolute it at Thanksgiving. I used an Asian Pear and grated candied ginger, My dad said I should market it until I explained that it is fresh so it only keeps about 3 days at its prime and would pretty much only sell at Thanksgiving so I would need 9,000 people to work 1 day. He said ‘Never mind, just make it for me.’ Anyways I have made fresh before but this was truly the best.