Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce

By Maria Lichty

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Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe on The BEST cranberry sauce and it's so easy to make!

Cranberry sauce is the perfect side dish for any holiday meal. It is great with turkey, stuffing, plain, or on leftover turkey sandwiches. Every Thanksgiving I make fresh cranberry orange sauce. I love the flavor the orange juice and zest adds to the tart cranberries.

Every year on our Thanksgiving table we have my fresh cranberry orange sauce and a blob of jellied cranberry sauce from a jar. My brother loves the jiggly cranberry sauce that tastes like the can. I don’t know why, I can’t stand it. My dad likes to please everyone so we always serve both. My cranberry sauce is always a hit, while the blob usually only has one slice missing.

Fresh cranberry sauce is simple to make. I love watching the cranberries burst when they start to boil. I add fresh orange juice and zest to compliment the cranberries. The sauce will thicken as it cools. I always make it the day before the big meal and chill it in the refrigerator. This classic cranberry sauce is a must make every holiday season. Skip the jiggly jar sauce and make fresh cranberry orange sauce this year.

If you like this fresh cranberry sauce, you might like our Maple Cranberry Sauce too!

Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce

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Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce

4.89 from 9 votes


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest


  • 1. Rinse cranberries with cold water. In a medium saucepan, add sugar, water, and orange juice. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and add cranberries and orange zest. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low. Cook until cranberries start to burst, about ten minutes.
  • 2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour sauce into a serving bowl and chill in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.
  • *Note-you can make the sauce 1-2 days in advance.

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. My mom loved that canned sauce, too. I remember the first Thanksgiving at our house….we had to run out and BUY a can of cranberry sauce to go with my homemade one. 🙂

  2. I made this for Thanksgiving and it converted a few people to the non-canned kind. Yum! Even better on turkey sandwiches the next day.

  3. I love making homemade cranberry sauce. I, too, have found that adding in orange kicks the flavor up a notch!

  4. Looks so pretty! I’ve never tried to make cranberry sauce before. I think I might be adding something new to our dinner!

  5. wow beautiful colors! i love cranberry sauce. i love cranberries & orange even more! this looks perfect 🙂

  6. I always make my cranberry sauce the exact same way. Same ingredients as you except for the water. And I grind them fresh- no cooking. It has to be amde at least one day ahead so the flavors can marry. Happy Thanksgiving.

  7. I just made this recipe and it smells yummy and tastes yummy! It was also fun with the cranberries cooking and popping. I know it is going to be hit for my Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow. Thanks for sharing your creative dish! Two Peas, Merry Christmas!

  8. Hi, was looking for similar as first tried when living 6 months in Steamboat Springs 2006-07. We bought cranberry/orange sauce from the salad bar at one of the supermarkets there and I was hooked! We don’t get fresh cranberries here so will be trying the dried ones which are still very juicy. Any day now! I am sure it won’t disappoint.

  9. I’ve never made cranberry sauce, but I want to make it this year I ly problem is I’m diabetic any way I could make a sugar free version if it???

  10. I LOVE this recipe! I make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and everyone raves about it! It’s so simple and smells amazing as it cooks! Not to mention that it’s sooo pretty!

  11. This year I made homemade cranberry jelly. I used an old pumpkin can that I had cleaned and let it sit in that overnight. I also sprayed it with cooking spray and then wiped out the excess. On thanksgiving I took a frosting knife and loosened it from the can and slid it onto a plate. It was as a hit. It was so easy to make, was so good, and even had the lines like the store bought stuff. It didn’t have the clear look of store bought jelly but it is so tasty. Maybe your brother and others would like this?!

    Bring 4 cups cranberries, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 strips of lemon peel, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the berries pop and the sauce thickens, 20 to 25 minutes; cool. Puree, then strain. Chill.

  12. This sounds so good. We have cranberries whenever I serve a poultry meal. I found this wonderful cranberry dip recipe that has apricot (or peach) jam and pecans served over cream cheese on Allrecipes site. I love cranberries whatever the season!!

  13. Hey, is there a way or a recipe to cut down on the sugar or substitute Stevia or something? Over half of us are diabetic now but we love cranberry sauce and feel so deprived-lol . Also that pie sounds fabulous but the same sweet problem there. Love your blog and your recipes!

  14. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious.  I don’t really like cranberry sauce but thought it was great.  My mom (who does love it) raved about it, as did all of the other guests.  Will put this in the permanent T-day recipe book!  Thanks!

  15. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe every Thanksgiving! So delicious! I usually add a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg in too. Everyone raves about it and there are never any leftovers. Thank you for a great recipe!

  16. This turned out so well! Even someone that normally doesn’t like the whole cranberry sauce liked it! I’m going to make more to give as presents!

  17. 5 stars
    I have just finished making this for the first time.
    What a beautiful red colour….
    I did however tweak things by adding extra ingredients..( but stuck to your base recipe& instructions)…
    My extras were ….. One finely chopped “Pink Lady”Apple, One Clementine sliced & torn into pieces and a nice splash of port.. (I did need to add a wee bit more sugar).. Two tablespoons of soft light brown sugar..It’s in jars waiting to cool down before I try it (I can’t wait)..
    Have saved your recipe to my Pinterest collection…
    Have a Very Merry Christmas..
    Best wishes…Lorna..

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