This easy homemade orange cranberry sauce is made in just 15 minutes! Flavored with apple cider and orange zest and slightly sweetened with brown sugar, this fresh cranberry sauce is the best for Thanksgiving or holiday turkey.
This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated for content.
I know some people aren't fans of cranberry sauce, but it's one of my favorite parts of of the holiday season. The taste of homemade cranberry sauce is so fresh and tart and it pairs perfectly with roasted turkey, chicken or even duck.
This easy homemade version of cranberry sauce is made with just a few simple ingredients. It will be perfect on your holiday table alongside mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, maple roasted acorn squash or cheddar jalapeno cornbread pudding.
🍊 Ingredient notes
- Fresh Cranberries - Whole fresh cranberries can be found in the produce section of the grocery store during the Fall and Winter months. They are tart, crisp and will soften as they are cooked down.
- Apple Cider - Apple cider adds a nice spice and flavor that pairs well with the cranberry. Orange juice or apple juice can also be used as substitutes.
- Brown Sugar - I prefer using brown sugar in this recipe because of it's deep, caramel flavor. Granulated white sugar can also be used instead.
- Nutmeg - Nutmeg has a rich, woody flavor with a hint of sweetness that tastes great in this sauce. Alternatives that could be used as well are ground cinnamon or ground allspice.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Spicy - Dice up a jalapeno and cook it with the cranberries to make this a spicy orange cranberry sauce.
- Nuts - Sprinkle the finished and cooled cranberry sauce with chopped pecans or walnuts for some extra crunch.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, mix together all of the ingredients in a pot and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are softened.
Chill the finished sauce for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator and top with extra orange zest for garnish, if desired!
⭐ Expert tips
- Make sure to stir the sauce occasionally as it's cooking to prevent burning. It also helps to mash the cranberries a bit to help them cook down.
- Don't skimp on the chilling time in the refrigerator. The sauce will thicken as it cools and it also gives time for the flavors to infuse together.
💭 Frequently asked questions
Plan for at least ¼ cup of cranberry sauce per person. If your guests like cranberry sauce or you want to have leftovers, plan for ½ cup per person.
Cranberry sauce can be served chilled or at room temperature.
⏲️ Make ahead and storage instructions
Cranberry sauce is best when made ahead. It can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until serving time.
Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up the 7 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months. Frozen cranberry sauce can be thawed in the refrigerator.
For a quick overview of this recipe, check out my web story for this homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest!
🦃 More thanksgiving recipes
If you loved this recipe for homemade orange cranberry sauce, try these other Thanksgiving recipes that I now you will love too!
Don't forget! If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and give it a rating. I love to hear from each and every one of you! Tag me on Facebook and Instagram as well! It makes my day to see all of your photos of the food you have made.Print