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The Best Orange Cranberry Sauce

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The best Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe you’ll ever make! With only four simple ingredients, this simple make-ahead dish will help you rock the holidays.

a jar of orange cranberry sauce with a spoon and cranberries on a white board

Ok friends, let’s be clear about one thing. This is not the canned cranberry sauce that your great aunt slops into a bowl for Thanksgiving. You know the kind that comes out of a can, makes a squelching sound when it slithers out and could retain the shape of the can even during a nuclear holocaust.

This is not that sauce. This cranberry sauce has depth and flavor. It has legs. It is cranberry like cranberry was meant to be.

At many holiday dinners, I am one of the only ones who want cranberry sauce. Apparently, the deliciousness that is cranberry sauce is polarizing to people. I think it is because they have only tried the overly-sweet stuff that comes out of the aforementioned creepy can.

Many people who make cranberry sauce from scratch make it way too complicated. They add dried fruits, liquors, or even worse, nuts. No. Just no. This sauce has four simple ingredients, is a cinch to make, and has a flavor that makes you sit up and ask for more.

It tastes even better the next day and will keep in the fridge for a week or freezer for a month. Plus you get to make it yours by deciding how much texture is in the final product.

Cause you’re the boss, applesauce…errr, cranberry sauce.

a close up shot of orange cranberry sauce in a bowl with a spoon

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a jar of orange cranberry sauce with a spoon and cranberries on a white board
5 from 4 votes
Orange Cranberry Sauce
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
16 mins

Homemade cranberry sauce to help you rock the holidays this year. Four simple ingredients create a deliciously easy make-ahead cranberry sauce.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: orange cranberry sauce, simple cranberry sauce, thanksgiving side dish make ahead
Servings: 16
Calories: 31 kcal
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice and sugar. Bring to a boil.

  2. Add the cranberries, and reduce the heat to medium. Allow it to cook until you start to hear the cranberries popping.

  3. With a wooden spoon or potato masher (what I use), smash down the cranberries until it reaches your desired texture. I prefer mostly mushed with a few whole berries sprinkled in there.

  4. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest. Allow sauce to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature (so it doesn't heat up your fridge), and transfer to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator. It will thicken a bit as it cools.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is super easy to scale. The ingredients listed make one batch but simply double or triple to create enough for a big crowd.

Cranberry sauce is one of the best things to make ahead of a holiday event. It tastes even better the next day and will keep in the fridge for days.

If you're like me and want cranberry sauce year round, buy bags when they go on sale after the holidays to freeze. 

Nutrition Facts
Orange Cranberry Sauce
Amount Per Serving (0.25 cup)
Calories 31
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Potassium 31mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 7g
Protein 0g 0%
Vitamin A 0.6%
Vitamin C 10%
Calcium 0.2%
Iron 0.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you are looking for a sugar-free version of cranberry sauce, try this one sweetened with honey.

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8 comments on “The Best Orange Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Yum! Random cranberry side note: We buy the bags of whole cranberries when they go on sale, then throw one in a gallon size ziplock back and use that as an ice pack. The berries hold up really well and mold to whatever injured part of the body.

    • We totally did that too growing up! 🙂
      I stopped doing it as an adult because the bag got a hole in it and we didn’t notice. It left quite the fun stain.

  2. Yum! Cranberry sauce. We just had our Thanksgiving here in Canada, and my recipe is quite similar to yours (except I add cinnamon).
    The Dialect Quiz was fun! It ended up pegging me as either from St. Paul, Minnesota, or Buffalo, New York. Not too bad as I am a Canadian originally from Manitoba who’s lived all over the country before settling onto the west coast.

    • I think the timing of Canadian Thanksgiving makes so much more sense than US Thanksgiving. If it is meant to celebrate the harvest, late November (our Thanksgiving) is the worst possible time to do so. Nothing is growing in November and all the traditional foods that are served at dinner aren’t actually in season. It makes zero sense to me!

  3. Easy and fantastic. My daughter is a cranberry sauce fiend and gobbled this up.

  4. Yum! I love orange juice in my cranberry sauce.

  5. Up until this past thanksgiving I always had CANNED cranberry sauce!
    I’ll let you recover….

    This was sweet and tangy, just like cranberry sauce is supposed to be. A+

    But I missed the slurp of the sauce coming out of the can. 😉