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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5 from 76 votes (50 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    really refreshing. just what you need after a big meal. made it with a little less sugar than recipe called for. loved it and will make it again for sure.

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious! I lowered the amount of sugar a bit, and used both cinnamon and ginger. I only had frozen cranberries so I had to drain it a bit but soon soooo good!

  3. 5 stars
    I make cranberry every year in memory of my grandma. I switched jobs in the past year and the left the recipe behind accidentally on my previous work computer. THANK YOU for this recipe! I just couldn’t remember how much sugar and if I was missing anything.
    This is exactly what I needed.

  4. This recipe has become a Thanksgiving tradition. So delicious with the Thanksgiving meal and also to eat on a cold turkey sandwich the next day!! The only thing I do different is include the entire orange…not 1/2.

  5. Hi! I’m going to try this for Thanksgiving! It sounds exactly like what I was looking for!
    What type of apple would you recommend using?! Thanks in advance!

    1. Yes you take an orange, cut the stem end off, then cut it in half. Remove the seeds and use the half orange in the recipe. You include the peel.

  6. Came across this recipe trying to find a version that sounds close to my grandma’s- unfortunately we couldn’t find it written down after she passed. I think she included celery and walnuts, as you mentioned in the optional variations. I look forward to using your ratios in an attempt to recreate this tradition! I’ll have to stick to using her antique cast iron meat grinder that she hauled out every year just to make it though – I still laugh remembering the year we learned about her using that heavy grinder and how she casually dismissed our astonishment 😀

  7. This recipe looks delicious. In the picture it looks like the orange peel is left on. Is this correct, or is the orange peeled? The instructions don’t mention it either way. Thank you