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This is the best Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe and it’s so easy to make! With only four simple ingredients, this simple make-ahead dish will help you rock the holidays.

a bowl of orange cranberry sauce topped with fresh cranberries and orange zest

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

The Case For Making Cranberry Sauce Ahead of Time

There is enough cooking to do on big holidays. Cranberry sauce does not need to be one of those things! You’ll also love my free Thanksgiving Checklist printable for all your Type-A holiday planning needs!

You can keep cranberry sauce in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it for 3-6 months. I freeze mine in wide-mouth canning jars. I use pint jars for smaller servings and quart jars for large gatherings. See: the best make-ahead Thanksgiving dishes.

Just allow the sauce to fully cool before adding it to the canning jars. And leave 1-inch of space between the top of the food and the top of the jar.

And if you need to free up your stove while making it, check out our Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce. If you want to make it shelf-stable, check out this tutorial on Canning Cranberry Sauce.


  • Add 1-2 cinnamon sticks to the pot prior to cooking if you prefer spiced cranberry sauce.
  • Sub in maple syrup, honey, or even coconut sugar in place of the regular sugar.
  • Stir in a little homemade Strawberry Puree to take your sauce to the next level.
  • If you have leftover cranberries after making this, learn all about Freezing Cranberries to save the extras for another time. Or, make a batch of Cranberry Jalapeño Dip.
  • Make the sauce pop even more by adding in a few pieces of dehydrated oranges during the cooking process. Discard prior to serving.


a bowl of orange cranberry sauce topped with fresh cranberries and orange zest

5 from 5 ratings

Orange Cranberry Sauce

Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 16 minutes
a bowl of orange cranberry sauce topped with fresh cranberries and orange zest
Four simple ingredients create a deliciously easy make-ahead cranberry sauce.


  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 12 oz bag cranberries


  • In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice and sugar. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the cranberries, and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Allow it to cook until you start to hear the cranberries popping.
  • With a wooden spoon or potato masher (what I use), smash down the cranberries until it reaches your desired texture.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest.
  • Allow sauce to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.
  • Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for 3-6 months.


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.


Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 31kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 0gFat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgPotassium: 31mgFiber: 0gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 30IUVitamin C: 8.3mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. 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. 😉5 stars

  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.5 stars

    1. 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. 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.5 stars

    1. 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.