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Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce

5 stars based on 30 votes

Fresh homemade cranberry sauce is a cinch to make. This version is flavored with orange juice and orange zest, which elevates it into an elegant holiday dish. Serve with simple Roast Turkey and Gravy.


Begin by zesting the orange. I like to use my Microplane rasp grater but any grater will do — just be sure to leave the white pith behind as it’s quite bitter.


Using the same orange, squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. You should get about a half cup.


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


Add the cranberries, orange zest and salt and boil gently until most of the cranberries burst open, creating a thick sauce.


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


Cranberry Orange Sauce

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


  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, from one orange
  • 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. Bring orange juice, water and sugar to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add cranberries, orange zest and salt and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for about 10 minutes, until most of cranberries have burst open.
  2. Transfer sauce to a serving bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

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

Reviews & Comments

  • Good morning Jenn,
    Our Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up… October 9th, and I have 2 questions for in 2 recipes I would like to make… One is the cranberry sauce, the other is your pecan pumpkin streusel torte.
    I want to make as much in advance as possible, so, will the cranberry sauce hold, if I make it today(Saturday) for next Monday, obviously in the fridge, for that long and when it comes to the torte, I know you say it can be made a day in advance, but any chance you’ve made it a couple of days in advance? I also can’t remember if you stated how this should be stored when making it in advance, room temp or in the fridge.
    Thank you

    - Diana on September 30, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Diana, Go ahead and make the cranberry sauce but I’d freeze it and then defrost the day before serving. For the torte, I think you could safely make it two days ahead and store, loosely covered, in the fridge. Just be sure to bring to room temp before serving. Hope that helps and happy early Thanksgiving! šŸ™‚

      - Jenn on October 1, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Fantastic. I made this for thanksgiving and it was a hit. I also make every time I roast a chicken.

    - Marie on February 11, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for Thanksgiving and it was FANTASTIC! I’m guilty of opening the can however my son brought his New England girlfriend home and I felt guilty not serving fresh cranberry sauce. I have officially added this to my Thanksgiving repertoire. It’s easy and delish!

    - Julie on December 4, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn I just love all of your recipes! I made your fresh cranberry orange sauce for our Thanksgiving day dinner and I’m wondering why I’ve never made the fresh sauce before?! Your recipe is so simple, not too sweet and just perfect the way it is! I’ll be making more of this to use everyday on our breakfast toast and biscuits. It’s too good to only have it once a year! Thank you!

    - Vickie on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was fun to make. My smaller oranges yielded less juice, so I needed two of them. For those who don’t like the orange flavor, try using cranberry or tart cherry juice.

    - Lauren Paul on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this using a little bit of port wine as the liquid. It was a hit and I will make again for Christmas!

    - Marty Roggenbaum on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for Thanksgiving. Wonderful balance of flavor. Added a splash of Grand Marnier. Thanks for another great recipe.

    - Eli on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! The simplicity of the cranberries and orange were a perfect way to brighten up the turkey dinner.

    - Paula on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • How long can this stay in the fridge for?

    - Jerrika Grissette on November 28, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Jerrika, this will be good in the fridge for several days.

      - Jenn on November 28, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this cranberry sauce for my thanksgiving and my family loved it. I doubled the recipe and used 350g of sugar.

    - Jeremy Scheck on November 26, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi, this is a perfect recipe. I added a dash of triple sec, it adds just a touch of yumminess.
    I tried to find the nutritional information for this recipe but didn’t see it anywhere on your site. Can you guide me to the nutritional information?

    - Chris on November 24, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Chris, so glad you liked the cranberry sauce! I just added the nutritional information. (You can find them immediately under the recipe.)

      - Jenn on November 26, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great recipe, Jenn! Very simple, super tasty. I love your presentations. Thank you!

    - Stephanie on November 23, 2016 Reply
  • As a diabetic, can I substitute Stevia for the sugar?

    - Anne on November 23, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Anne, I haven’t used Stevia before, so I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that should work just fine. Happy Thanksgiving!

      - Jenn on November 23, 2016 Reply
      • 4 stars

        I used Truvia as a substitute for those with diabetes

        - Tia on November 24, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Awesome and not too sweet or caloric. I smash/strain the cranberry sauce into bowl before chilling. I dislike the skins.

    - jen on November 22, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Thank you for the wonderful recipes, photos and stories–your site makes me look forward to cooking a new meal! I have a question about coconut sugar–do you think it would be an acceptable substitute for cranberry sauce? I’m trying to not use refined/white granulated sugar, but am still learning where it works and where it doesn’t. Would greatly appreciate your advice!

    - Angela on November 12, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Angela, glad you hear you enjoy the recipes! I’ve never used coconut sugar, so I can’t say for sure. What I do know about it is that it tastes more like brown sugar than granulated sugar, so I’m not sure it would be appropriate here. If you do try it, though, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      - Jenn on November 13, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for Thanksgiving and it was the star of the meal. Planning to make it for Christmas also. I actually don’t care for cranberry sauce, but this was great. I will never buy canned cranberry sauce again.

    - MrsDLA on December 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made this for Thanksgiving. So simple and so delicious! What I would love to find are some good uses for leftover cranberry sauce in different dishes.

    - Paula on December 3, 2015 Reply
    • Paula, another reader suggested mixing the extra cranberry sauce into oatmeal. It would also make a tasty addition to plain or vanilla yogurt.

      - Jenn on December 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This has been my go-to cranberry sauce for the last couple of years. I stopped looking for a better recipe. I do reduce the sugar a bit since I’ve weaned myself from sweetness. I discovered that the leftovers from Thanksgiving taste great in my morning oatmeal.

    - Carol F on December 2, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made it . Delicious. I used hand blander to get smoother texture. Happy Thanksgiving!

    - Agnieszka on November 25, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious! Instagramed and tagged #onceuponachef

    - Elizabeth on November 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I don’t know where in the world you have been my whole cooking life, but I’m so very glad to have stumbled (upon) your site via Zite. I have cooked some pretty awful things from recipies found on many cooking blogs and sites, well known and not so well known. I started to think it was me! Ha! I swear any recipie I have cooked fom your site has been the most delish food. That my whole family loves. I think I have based my entire Thanksgiving menu on just your recipies, except for my moms pecan pie. Thank You for all your wonderful recipies and your obvious talent as a chef. I’m so excited to try as many as I can over time. Happy Thanksgiving to all.


    - Diana on November 24, 2015 Reply
    • Thanks for the nice words Diana and Happy Thanksgiving to you!

      - Jenn on November 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wonderful sauce. Very happy. I used 1/2 cup instead of 3/4 and it was totally fine. Great recipe.

    - Chithra on November 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just made this during my lunch break while working from home today and it is AMAZING! yummmm! Thank you for your recipes šŸ™‚ I can’t wait to share with my family on Thursday!

    - Erin on November 24, 2015 Reply
  • Hello Jen…listen, they don’t have cranberry in parts of Mexico where I’m going. Do you have any other suggestions?

    - Angel O'Connor on September 9, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Angel, Unfortunately, I can’t think of any good substitute in this case. Sorry!

      - Jenn on September 13, 2015 Reply
    • Try cherries maybe?

      - Stephanie on November 23, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    As a single Mom I love quick and easy recipes that taste great. My kids and I usually get the cranberry relish at our local market, but seeing this recipe I wanted to try it. It was great! Both of my kids love it and have labeled it their new fav. It was easy and I liked that it was homemade. We used it in our turkery and bacon sandwiches and it really added to the flavor.

    - Melissa L. on September 2, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Easy and perfect! Simplicity at its best!

    - Julie spencer on March 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Very nice sauce. I love it and make it even off season:)

    - Afsaneh on January 6, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jen,
    Can’t wait to try this for Christmas Eve dinner…along with your curried carrots, roasted Brussel sprouts, and sausage stuffing, Tried your Baby Kale salad for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! We normally don’t do salad with such a heavy meal but glad I did and will do it again for Christmas Eve. I’m such a fan! Thank you. Marty

    - Marty on December 16, 2014 Reply
    • Thanks, Marty! So glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

      - Jenn on December 16, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have been making a similar recipe for years (learned from my mother to puree an entire orange in the food processor and add with cranberries). This year, I decided to give this recipe a try. Much easier and similar results. I used a few clementines instead of the orange as that is what I had on hand. Delicious and so refreshing. We will be making this all winter and as long as cranberries are available at the market.

    - Liesel on December 5, 2014 Reply
    • 5 stars

      Liesel: My Mom used to used a old fashioned hand food grinder The kind you have to screw onto a counter. Whole Oranges, Cranberries, way too much sugar and unflavored gelatin. I hated it. This recipe is the best and we use it every holiday and anytime we crave Turkey mayo and cranberry sandwiches. This year a double batch!

      - Kimberlee Marshall-Coleman on November 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was delicious! It was a big hit at Thanksgiving. Only thing I did different was that I didn’t have enough sugar that the recipe required (too much baking haha), so I ended up doing half a cup of sugar and measured out the remainder with brown sugar… surprisingly, the brown sugar ended up giving the cranberry sauce an addition level of flavor. I liked it a lot. I left out the orange zest because my orange was not organic.

    - Loan Hong on December 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The fresh cranberry orange sauce was absolutely delicious. The orange juice added extra flavor. A touch sweet but other than that a perfect compliment to our Thanksgiving smoked turkey. I will be making this easy recipe every year.

    - Pat G on December 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I absolutely LOVE this recipe!! I hosted a small Thanksgiving dinner the Saturday before Thanksgiving and made this Cranberry Sauce and added 1/2 cup of brandy and it was a huge hit with my husband so I made a double batch on Thanksgiving day for my entire family and everyone raved about how smooth it was without the bitterness. THANK YOU!! This is my go-to Cranberry recipe from now on.

    - Victoria on December 3, 2014 Reply
    • Did you substitute the brandy for water or add water and brandy? Many thanks

      - Libby on November 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Excellent- will replace my former cranberry recipe. We loved it- easy to make and perfectly delicious.

    - Sandy on November 30, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Jen, I have struck gold finding you on Pinterest! LOVE all of your recipes I’ve made so far. For this cranberry sauce, can you make it the day before Thanksgiving? Or do you recommend the day of for best taste? Thank you! Stephanie

    - Stephanie on November 8, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Stephanie, So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! It’s absolutely fine to make this a day (or even several days) ahead of time; taste will be the same.

      - Jenn on November 8, 2014 Reply
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  • I use fresh or frozen red raspberries for a change. Really yummy.

    - Charlene on February 16, 2014 Reply
  • Jenn, am I reading that correctly?? That only make 2servings???? How should I adjust the recipe for 16 people???

    - Judee on November 23, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Judee, it should say it makes 2-1/4 cups. For 16, I would double the recipe. You may have extra but better safe than sorry šŸ™‚

      - Jenn on November 23, 2013 Reply
  • I have been using the same recipe for over 20 years. It is awesome! Have added a teaspoon of lemon zest to change it up. Awesome!

    - James E on November 22, 2013 Reply
  • I would like to try substituting Stevia for the sugar…I wonder how much I should use?

    - Peggy on November 22, 2013 Reply
    • So sorry, Peggy, I have never cooked with stevia so I can’t answer that.

      - Jenn on November 22, 2013 Reply
      • I use stevia sometimes but find it leaves a little bit of a bitter after taste.

        - Charlene on February 16, 2014 Reply
        • If you add less stevia and add some erythritol (recommend the organic variety), then you will not get the bitter aftertaste. Erythritol is about 70% of the sweetness value of sugar. It is a natural sugar alcohol, which does not get digested, but just passes through your gut. It normally has a slightly cold mouth feel to it but, when used with Stevia, they work together synergistically and cancel out one another’s “negative” aspects. No bitterness from the stevia, and no cold mouth feel from the erythritol. And no sugar spike or calories from either one. Additionally, erythritol and xylitol are the only two sugar alcohols that are least likely to cause gas and bloating in the gut.

          - Stephanie on November 23, 2016 Reply
  • Hi! This recipe is DELICIOUS! I shared the link to it on my Facebook page. Thanks for sharing! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    - Ruthie ~Sugar Pie Farmhouse on November 22, 2013 Reply
    • Thank you, Ruthie! So glad you enjoyed it šŸ™‚

      - Jenn on November 22, 2013 Reply

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