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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 4 ingredients (plus water) and is a cinch to make. This version is flavored with orange juice and orange zest, which makes it just a little more special for the holidays. The sauce keeps for up to 10 days in the refrigerator, and it can frozen for up to two months, so it’s a great dish to make ahead of time for the busy holidays. Serve cranberry sauce 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 leftover turkey sandwiches.

Fresh cranberries are the star of the holiday table and abundant over the holiday season. You will find them in the produce section of the supermarket October through December; stock up so you can make more festive recipes, like Nantucket cranberry pie, cranberry nut bread, and cranberry chutney.

What you’ll need to make cranberry sauce

ingredients for cranberry sauce

Step-by-Step Instructions

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 afterward.

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.

How to Store Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce should be cooled completely before storing. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 10 days.

How To Freeze Cranberry Sauce

Fresh cranberry sauce freezes beautifully, so you can make it a month or two ahead of time to get a jump start on your holiday cooking. Allow the sauce to cool completely and then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let the cranberry sauce thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.


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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: 2¼ cups
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice, from two oranges
  • ¾ 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 water, orange juice, 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

Powered by Edamam

  • 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, Edamam.com. 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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  • I made this yesterday with a bag of fresh cranberries I needed to use from the holidays….WOW! It is refreshing and delicious. Going to serve it along cornflake crusted chicken for dinner. Thank you!

    • — Jill on January 4, 2023
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  • Delicious!!!

    Tangy and not too sweet. It is a refreshing flavor on your Thanksgiving table. The orange adds freshness and compliments the heavier dishes. My family really loved it!

    • — Stephanie R. on November 29, 2022
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  • Best Cranberry sauce we have ever had! Perfectly balanced between sweet and tart and very bright!

    • — Derek on November 28, 2022
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  • So easy and delicious! Definitely a keeper recipe!

    • — Deana S on November 26, 2022
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  • I make this every year and it is the best! Easy to make and always get compliments!!!

    • — Judy Speers on November 26, 2022
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  • Officially switching to this recipe. Made if for Thanksgiving and it is so delicious! Thanks!

    • — L on November 24, 2022
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  • Very good. I added a cinnamon stick and it was perfect.

    • — Heather P. on November 24, 2022
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  • I did not add water to mine, had a little more than half cup of juice & that was plenty of liquid for us. My go-to recipe for cranberry sauce! Sometimes I add a bit of cinnamon & nutmeg, but generally let the cranberries stand out.

    • — Terry M on November 24, 2022
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  • This was excellent. I forgot to make/buy cranberry sauce although I did have bag or two in the refrig. Simple and great recipe. I didn’t forget to wash the crans.

    • — Judy Schell on November 23, 2022
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  • Delicious and so simple

    • — Bella on November 23, 2022
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  • This is my go to cranberry sauce every year. Family and friends that don’t care for cranberry sauce love It! I am now passing it on to my children and grandchildren. A treasured family recipe now.

    • — Carolyn G on November 23, 2022
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    • Yes. Turned out excellent. I will admit that I added maybe 2 extra tbl sugar as the berries were a bit sour. Beautiful. I do mash probably more than you would have but I wanted a more consistent sauce. Thanks.

      • — Ommie7 on November 23, 2022
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  • This turned out fantastic, and I’m not a cranberry sauce person, I made it for the family and I love it! First time I’ve ever liked cranberry sauce! I used fresh squeezed OJ from Whole
    Foods instead of from the orange

    • — Marcie on November 23, 2022
    • Reply

      • — Marcie on November 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delish- I did add half a chopped apple. Will be making this again !

    • — Camille on November 23, 2022
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  • I make this every year for Thanksgiving now and it’s so flavorful and fresh. My family loves it. It has a good balance between the sweetness and tartness; the orange flavor is phenomenal.

    • — Legolas on November 23, 2022
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    • I reduced the amount of sugar by a half and added a splash of best quality ginger liqueur toward the end. Delicious!

      • — Tracy on November 23, 2022
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  • This cranberry sauce is a winner—i’ll be adding it to my Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes! I added a packet of plain gelatin and a few drops of almond extract. I also cut up an orange to put in it!

    • — Paulette on November 23, 2022
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  • This is so delicious! Simple to make and yields so much flavor. I used a potato masher at the end to slightly blend the cranberries. I will be making this year round! Thank you Jenn for yet another fabulous recipe.

    • — Leda on November 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • My go-to cranberry sauce recipe from now on! Absolutely the best I’ve ever made!. It is a wonderful balance between sweet, tart, and orange. I followed the recipe just as written and it turned out beautifully.

    • — Chandra Lake on November 22, 2022
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  • Just made double this recipe adding some cinnamon sticks. Picked some (Hawaiian) oranges and got a cup of juice from just two. This is delicious: sweet and tart. Will be great on turkey sandwiches on Friday.

    • — Janet on November 22, 2022
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  • I made this recipe but
    -1 used the juice of 3 clementines (all I had) and added 1/2 of the juiced clementine to cook in the sauce instead of zest
    -added a cinnamon stick
    -1 saved 1/4 of the cranberries to add 5 minute later for varied chunks.
    And it turned out so yummy!!

    • — Gabrielle on November 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • I just made this in preparation for Thanksgiving (as I do every year). I like to rough chop the cranberries in the food processor and add a cinnamon stick while cooking. I love this year-round! I also use it to dress meat dishes (such as baked chicken thighs topped with sauce) and I smear it in between layers for a yummy grilled cheese sandwich. The possibilities are endless! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Kathye on November 21, 2022
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  • I wanted to make a different cranberry sauce to try this Thanksgiving. This one is fantastic! I usually use the recipe on the Ocean Spray bag. This is so much better! I doubled it and used a touch less sugar, as I always do. I can’t wait for my family to try it! I love the taste of the orange in it.

    • — CarolK on November 21, 2022
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  • Making this for the second year in a row. Perfect sauce! Thank you!

    • — Alyssa on November 20, 2022
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  • It is a staple for T giving turkey and Christmas filet. This recipe was printed on the plastic bag containing “Moody Cranberries” found in the midcoast of Maine at specialty grocery stores. It is superb–made it for about 15 years now.

    • — Jim Bowditch on November 19, 2022
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  • I have made and enjoyed this recipe many times! Making ahead now for upcoming Thanksgiving. Thanks Jenn. I have discovered years ago that adding a small amount of allspice takes this to new limits. Seems a perfect complimentary flavor to cranberries and orange. I find allspice a very underused spice.

    • — MaryAnn Neblock on November 18, 2022
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  • Oh, so good! No more canned cranberry sauce for me. This is easy and delicious. My guests will love it.

    • — Nancy on November 18, 2022
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  • This is the best cranberry dish I have ever made! Thanks for the easy and delicious recipe.

    • — Barbara on November 17, 2022
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    • Wonderful recipe! Another version: I add some diced apple and a small bit of allspice or cardomom. Everyone loves some version of this easy delicious recipe.

      • — Me on November 21, 2022
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  • As always, a delicious recipe! This Thanksgiving I plan to double it as everyone loves it.

    • — Rae Kahn on November 17, 2022
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  • Delicious flavor! It was just WAY too sweet for us, it drowned out the cranberries. Will definitely try the recipe again, with a third of sugar less. 🙂

    • — Stephanie Torres on November 12, 2022
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    • I just made this for Thanksgiving dinner. Just the right amount of orange juice and zest. Thanks for a simple way to elevate cranberry sauce
      It’s delicious!

      • — Judy on November 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • I saw in the other comments that maple syrup could be used in place of sugar, but for diabetics would Sweet N Low or Splenda work?

    • — Karen B. on October 31, 2022
    • Reply
    • I think that would work and I’d go with Splenda. Please LMK how it turns out with it!

      • — Jenn on November 1, 2022
      • Reply

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