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Cranberry Orange Sauce! This delicious cranberry sauce recipe is infused with the festive flavors of orange and cinnamon, making it the perfect side for Thanksgiving and holiday dinners. Super easy to make, ready in 20 minutes and can be prepped ahead!

Cranberry Orange Sauce in a white bowl on a white surface with cranberries, orange slice and cinnamon stick in the background

Why You’ll Love This Cranberry Sauce Recipe

  • It’s delicious! Homemade cranberry sauce tastes SO much better than the canned stuff in my opinion. This version is elevated with the flavors of fresh orange juice, orange zest and cinnamon to add a festive touch and make it taste extra delicious.
  • Super easy to make! Toss a few simple ingredients into a saucepan and let them simmer for 15 minutes – it couldn’t be easier!
  • It can be made ahead of time! Knock one thing off your Thanksgiving or holiday dinner to-do list. This cranberry sauce can be prepped ahead and stored in the fridge.
  • Perfect for the holidays! This is a classic side for Thanksgiving or holiday dinners. Serve it with turkey, gravy and all your favorite side dishes. Check out some of the delicious ways to use leftovers below too. No need for any of it to go to waste!
Homemade cranberry sauce in a white bowl with spoon.

Ingredients You’ll Need

You only need a few simple ingredients to make this Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe:

Overhead photo of ingredients needed to make the Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe (cranberries, orange, cinnamon and sugar)
  • Fresh Cranberries: Easily found at every grocery store around Thanksgiving and Christmas. You will need a 12-ounce or 340 gram bag. Can also use frozen.
  • Orange: The juice and zest of one orange.
  • Sweetener: Use organic cane sugar, honey or maple syrup to cut the tartness of the cranberries.
  • Cinnamon Stick: This warming spice adds a festive touch and brings it all together.

Detailed ingredient list and directions located in the recipe card below.

Orange Zesting Tip

It is much easier to zest the orange before you juice it. I like to use a Microplane Zester. Make sure that you only grate off the orange part of the peel. Avoid grating the white part since it is bitter and will make your sauce bitter.

How To Make Cranberry Orange Sauce

It is super easy to make this homemade cranberry sauce recipe. Simply…

Numbered graphic showing steps to make homemade cranberry sauce.
  1. Combine Ingredients: Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Simmer: Simmer while stirring occasionally until cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened.
  3. Serve: Allow to cool, remove cinnamon stick and refrigerate until serving time. Perfect make ahead recipe!

Possible Variations

This Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe can be customized in a number of ways. Feel free to make it your own!

  • Add Other Spices For Flavor: Ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, etc.
  • Sweeten To Taste: Like it tarter, use less sweetener! Like it sweeter, add more!
  • Add Extra Fruit: Add a second fruit to the mix like some berries, pomegranate, diced apples or pears.
  • Make It “Adult”: Add a splash of brandy, orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or bourbon.
A mason jar filled with cranberry orange sauce and a spoon sticking out.  Orange slices, cranberries and a cinnamon stick are scattered next to the jar.

Cranberry Sauce FAQ

How long does homemade cranberry sauce last?

Store for 1-2 weeks in the fridge in a covered jar or airtight container.

Can cranberry sauce be made ahead of time?

Absolutely and highly recommended! This sauce can easily be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a week. One less thing to worry about on the day of your holiday meal!

Can you freeze cranberry sauce?

Yes – cranberry sauce freezes beautifully! Freeze for up to 6 months in small mason jars or containers and defrost in the fridge overnight before serving. To freeze cranberry sauce in glass, make sure to follow these tips for freezing food in mason jars!

Why is my cranberry sauce not thickening?

Give it some time and be patient! The cranberries need to simmer for about 15 minutes to break down and thicken. The sauce will also continue to thicken as it cools.

Is cranberry sauce served hot or cold?

This is a matter of personal preference. Cranberry sauce can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled from the fridge.

Ways To Use Leftovers

Here are a few delicious and easy ways to use up any leftover cranberry sauce:

  • Make a delicious turkey sandwich: Mix leftover cranberry sauce with mayo and slather it on turkey sandwiches. So good!
  • Top your morning oatmeal: Makes a great topping on oatmeal like my favorite steel cut oats recipe.
  • Yogurt topping: Use it to make a parfait or just to top a bowl of Greek yogurt.
  • Add it to your breakfast/brunch faves: Add a festive touch to some of your breakfast favorites like pancakes, French toast or waffles by using the leftover cranberry sauce as a topping or mixing some into the batter.
White bowl of cranberry sauce sitting on a white background with fresh cranberries, orange slices and a cinnamon stick scattered around it.

More Holiday Sides

Looking for more holiday sauces? Check out these 15 Sauces To Elevate Your Holiday Meals. Also see below for a few more side dish ideas perfect for Thanksgiving or holiday meals!

Let me know in the comments below if this Cranberry Orange Sauce makes it onto your holiday table!

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Cranberry Orange Sauce in a white bowl sitting on a white background with some fresh cranberries, orange slice and cinnamon stick scattered next to it.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 13 reviews
  • Author: Vanessa | Maple + Mango
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 20 min
  • Yield: 1.52 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish, Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This delicious cranberry sauce recipe is infused with the festive flavors of orange and cinnamon, making it the perfect side for Thanksgiving and holiday dinners. Super easy to make, ready in 20 minutes and can be prepped ahead!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 (12-ounce / 340 gram) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 orange, zest and juice (about 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar, honey or maple syrup (pick one)
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  1. Combine Ingredients: Place the cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, sweetener and cinnamon stick in a medium-sized saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Simmer: Simmer and stir occasionally for about 15 minutes or until cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened (will continue to thicken as it cools).
  3. Serve: Let cool, remove cinnamon stick and refrigerate until serving time.  Can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Notes

  • Storage: Store for 1-2 weeks covered in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.
  • Make It Ahead: This is the perfect make ahead holiday side dish.  One less thing to worry about!
  • Orange Zesting Tip: It is much easier to zest the orange before you juice it.  Make sure to only grate off the orange part of the peel and not the white part (white part is bitter).  I like to use a microplane zester.

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Pinterest collage graphic for homemade cranberry sauce.

About Vanessa Gilic

I want to help you make delicious food using real ingredients! Explore a variety of easy to follow, real-food recipes ranging from healthy eats to comfort food. Welcome to Maple + Mango – I'm so happy you're here!

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26 Comments

  1. Laura says:

    I have made this recipe for the past two Thanksgiving and Christmas. I absolutely love it! Easy to make and super yummy with the hint of orange. I store mine in sterilized glass jars which also make a nice hostess gift.






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      I’m so happy to hear that this recipe has become part of your holiday menu! The gifting idea is wonderful!

  2. nancy says:

    just that little bit of orange added to the cranberry sauce made such a big difference! it was super delicious and was an instant hit at home!






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Orange pairs so well with cranberry.

  3. Terri says:

    I had never made cranberry sauce from scratch! I love the combination of orange with it and it was so much easier than I thought!






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      It’s so easy that you’ll never go back now!