Fresh Cranberry Sauce

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Flavored with orange juice and orange zest, this cranberry sauce is a must on your holiday table.

Homemade cranberry sauce requires just a few ingredients and is a cinch to make. This version is flavored with orange juice and orange zest, which makes it a little more special for the holidays. Serve it with roast turkey, gravy, and all the other classic holiday dishes. If you have any leftover, try mixing it with some mayonnaise — cranberry-mayo is delicious on turkey sandwiches!

What you’ll need to make cranberry sauce

ingredients for cranberry sauce

How to make Cranberry sauce

Begin by zesting one of the oranges. A rasp grater is the best tool but any grater with small holes will work — just be sure to leave the white pith behind as it’s quite bitter. Always zest the orange before squeezing the juice out, as it’s near impossible to do afterwards.

zesting and juicing the oranges

Combine the orange juice, water and sugar in a medium pot and bring to a boil.

water, orange juice and sugar in a pot

Add the cranberries, orange zest and salt.

adding the cranberries, zest, and salt to the pot Boil gently for about 10 minutes.

boiling cranberry sauce

Most of the cranberries should burst open, creating a thick sauce. You may need to mash them a bit with a spoon.

finished cranberry sauce in pot

Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Cranberry Orange Sauce

Flavored with orange juice and orange zest, this cranberry sauce is a must on your holiday table.

Servings: 2-1/4 cups
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, from two oranges
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (do not use dried)
  • Zest of one orange, about 2 teaspoons
  • Pinch salt


  1. In a medium sauce pan over high heat, bring the orange juice, water and sugar to a boil. Add the cranberries, orange zest, and salt and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and boil gently for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of cranberries have burst open. (You may need to mash them a bit with a spoon.)
  2. Transfer sauce to a serving bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  3. Make-Ahead/Freezing Instructions: Cranberry sauce will keep for 10 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: about 1/3 cup
  • Calories: 126
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 33 g
  • Sugar: 28 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sodium: 43 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Dear Jennifer,

    I would love to make this to accompany a dinner of roast spatchcocks. However, here in Australia there are no fresh cranberries available (they only have dried cranberries).

    Would it be possible to substitute cranberries for cherries in this recipe? If so, are there any other changes I should account for (amount of orange juice/zest etc.)?

    • — Gayathiri Pathmanathan on October 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Gayathiri, Although I’ve never tried it, I think you could get away with using cherries, but you will likely need less sugar. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on October 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Best cranberry sauce ever! Everybody loved it!

    • — Joanne E Francis on April 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • This cranberry sauce is the way to go! So much better than canned (it is not hard to make your own cranberry sauce, and the orange juice makes such a better cranberry sauce than traditional recipes recommending that you add water. The orange zest is just the perfect compliment to the cranberry sauce. We like to add a little cinnamon into ours for some fuller holiday flavors

    • — Maddie W on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious, fresh, cranberry sauce. Made this for the first time, and my grandson commented on the citrus being a nice addition to the traditional sauce that I usually make. A new holiday tradition for this family!

    • — Kathleen on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • An excellent cranberry sauce recipe, although I added about a half teaspoon of vanilla to it.

    • — Tim on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have been making this as part of our traditional Thanksgiving dinner for several years. My family (we have about 40) enjoyed it so much the next year I doubled the recipe. Also it is a great topping on turkey sandwiches.

    • — Michelle OLoughlin on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is the BEST Cranberry Sauce! The orange juice makes it perfect! The only recipe I use!

    • — Kim Young on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Can you add some sugar and can it? I’m looking for a good spiced orange cranberry jam to eat year long.

      • — Menolly on January 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • First time making cranberry sauce. Turned out great!

    • — Lillian on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I did make this cranberry sauce for the holidays . I absolutely loved the orange added to it. I still had some left and debated whether to freeze it or heat it up and can it, but then decided to look for muffin recipes using leftover cranberry sauce. Tried 2 different ones and it was excellent in both muffins

    • — Lynn Cooley on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi
    I made this cranberry relish for a turkey i cooked recently. Minus the nuts as to family member restriction. We loved it and will be a regular from now on. I also like to serve with chicken or pork so is a great addition to my meal planning.we used maple syrup that my son collected and made so it was extra special. How Canadian! Cranberries from cranberry farm in Bala Ontario🍁

    • — Corinne Severn on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was the first Once Upon a Chef recipe I tried, and it is what everyone asks me to bring now to Thanksgiving dinner. I have used it with bottled orange juice as well in a pinch, and it is still delicious.

    • — Addie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this today and it tastes amazing! However, I have a lot of seeds in the sauce. What did I do wrong? Did I boil it too high or too long?

    • — Krista on December 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hmmm, I’m guessing a bit too long. If it’s too thick you can thin it with a bit of water.

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • Loved it, I added 3 tbs of nice red wine and it took the bite out of it and added a mellow flavor

    • — Tom Edwards on December 18, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is one of the few recipes I have physically printed out & put in my “mom’s go-to recipes binder”. I’ve made it for Thanksgiving two years in a row. It consistently converts “canned cranberry sauce” purists to the far more delicious fresh cranberry sauce team. I have always been partial to orange in my cranberry sauce, and this is a divine combo of zest & juice. Seriously, this your recipe is permanently a part of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner table, and they all just think *I* make a really good cranberry sauce… but I have you to thank. 🙂 So, THANK YOU!!!

    • — Katie on December 12, 2020
    • Reply

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