Cranberry orange sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and tart with fresh whole cranberries and zest from an orange. Served hot with your holiday meal and cold on leftover turkey sandwiches.
Easy to make cranberry orange sauce is going to make you ditch the canned stuff for good! This healthy, easy cranberry sauce can be made from fresh or frozen cranberries, plus fresh orange juice and zest from an orange peel, for an amazing side dish perfect for a holiday table.
This cranberry sauce recipe is such a huge hit at our house that I have to make a double recipe — it is a huge part of our leftover cravings too! I love cranberry flavor but grew up on the overly sweetened, jellied variety of cranberry sauce. This recipe is the perfect combination of tart cranberries and sweet oranges and can be easily adjusted to your family’s tastes.
It also helps that this recipe smells amazing while it cooks! It really helps everyone get in the holiday spirit!
How to Make Cranberry Orange Sauce
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberries, orange zest and juice, sugar (to taste), and ground cinnamon. I love using fresh whole cranberries, but I’ve used frozen cranberries as well.
STEP TWO: Stir, add a cinnamon stick (if using), and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes — or until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens.
STEP THREE: Remove from heat, discard the cinnamon stick, and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. If you prefer the texture, you can break down the cranberry sauce further with a potato masher.
Tips to Make the Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- Don’t pass on the zesty citrus flavor. It really balances the tartness in this cranberry orange sauce and sweetens up the dish. Oranges and cranberries taste like they just go together!
- Adjust the sweetness. You can increase or decrease the granulated sugar to your preferred level of sweetness. So taste a little as you go! We also like to make cranberry sauce with orange juice instead of water. The combination of orange juice added with orange zest sweetens up the cranberry sauce.
- Don’t want the added sugar? You can use a sugar substitute. Or, try the flavor of honey or maple syrup in your homemade cranberry sauce.
- Serve it hot or serve it cold! Both are delicious. Your Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner will never be the same!
- Make a double batch! You’re going to want leftovers!
Ways to Use Leftover Cranberry Sauce
- Serve this Cranberry Orange Sauce alongside or on top of this Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin.
- Make these Juicy Air Fryer Pork Chops and top them with orange cranberry sauce.
- Time for turkey? This recipe for cranberry sauce with oranges is perfect with air fryer turkey tenderloin or these air fryer turkey legs.
- Add homemade cranberry sauce and some leftover stuffing to a turkey burger and you’ve got yourself a Thanksgiving sandwich.
- These Lemon Cranberry Bars are amazing and a unique way to use this cranberry sauce recipe
Can I Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Frozen Cranberries?
Absolutely! I have found that I need to stock up on fresh cranberries at the grocery store well before big holiday meals because my area tends to run out of them early.
As soon as they pop up in the fresh food section, I grab several bags of fresh whole cranberries and pop them in my freezer at home.
I don’t thaw them ahead when I make this cranberry orange sauce. Considering this recipe for cranberry sauce with oranges requires the cranberries to cook until they burst, I let the stove do all the work.
How Do You Get Bitterness Out of Cranberry Sauce?
We sweeten this cranberry sauce with orange juice in addition to the orange zest. That really helps balance the tart flavor and gives you the best results.
If your berries are more tart than usual, you can sweeten them up with a little sugar, maple syrup, or honey. You can also add a pinch of salt to bring out the sweet flavor without tasting salty.
How Long Will Cranberry Sauce Last in the Refrigerator?
Homemade cranberry orange sauce will last for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Make sure you store it in an airtight container. Orange cranberry sauce is a great make-ahead candidate for big dinners like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
You can also freeze cranberry sauce for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
What to Serve with This Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Air Fryer Ham
- Cornbread Stuffing
- Green Bean Casserole without Mushroom Soup
- Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pineapple
- Air Fryer Prime Rib
More Cranberry Recipes
- 12 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 large orange, zest and juiced (4-5 tablespoons of juice)
- 1/2-1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Place cranberries, orange zest and juice, sugar (to taste), and ground cinnamon in a saucepan set over medium heat.
- Stir, add a cinnamon stick (if using), and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat, remove and discard the cinnamon stick, and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 0g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.