Why this recipe works:
Cranberry sauce with orange juice is a twist on the traditional homemade cranberry sauce. Fresh orange juice and orange zest brighten this sauce and make it a wonderful side dish for the holidays.
In an attempt to cut back on the stress on the day of Thanksgiving, make a few items ahead of time and feel good that you’ve checked something off your endless to-do list. Cranberry orange sauce can be made a week ahead of Turkey Day then refrigerated until Thursday’s meal.
This recipe doesn’t differ much from the standard cranberry sauce recipe listed on the back of the Ocean Spray bag of fresh cranberries but the addition of orange zest and juice elevates the sauce for a special occasion.
Double the recipe if you have a crowd and hope that you have some sauce leftover because this cranberry sauce is fantastic on a turkey sandwich!
- Fresh Cranberries are the key to this recipe. They are bright and tart. You’ll find them in groceries stores year round but especially October through December for the holidays.
- Granulated sugar cuts into the tartness of the berries and sweetens this sauce right up. Make sure to completely dissolve the sugar in the water and juice so that you have a smooth sauce.
- Oranges are the addition here that pair perfectly with cranberries. Use both the zest and the juice of two fresh oranges. Navel oranges work well as would many other types of oranges.
How to make this recipe
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- Zest the oranges first. I like to use a citrus zester which is a kind of microplane. You can find a citrus tool on Amazon. (affiliate link) You’ll need about two tablespoons of zest.
- Now slice the oranges and juice them. I find that two oranges produce about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. A handheld orange squeezer is a good tool to have in your kitchen.
- In a large saucepan combine the water, orange juice, orange zest, and sugar. Hold off on adding the cranberries for a few minutes. You first want to dissolve the sugar by bringing this mixture to a boil.
- Next, add the fresh cranberries.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to medium, stirring constantly. You’ll find that the berries may pop as they heat up. Wear cooking mitts and keep your arms covered so that you are not burned by the exploding berries.
- Let the cranberry orange sauce cool then refrigerate.
Tips and tricks for success
Follow this advice for the best cranberry sauce recipe!
Yes, make this for a crowd with no trouble. Double the recipe and use a deep saucepan to give the berries plenty of room to bubble up as they cook.
Yes, my mother-in-law adds port wine which is a fortified wine to her cranberry sauce and it is delicious! Another suggestion is to add an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau. A generous tablespoon would be a lovely addition.
Store this sauce in the refrigerator.
This sauce will last 10 to 14 days in the refrigerator. Store it in an air-tight container. You can serve it chilled or let it warm up to room temperature before enjoying.
Yes, this sauce freezes well. Seal in an air-tight container and put in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- The Juice and Zest from 2 oranges (approx 1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh orange juice)
- 12 ounce (1 package) of fresh cranberries
- Zest the oranges and set aside the zest.
- Juice the oranges and add the orange juice, orange zest, water and sugar to a saucepan. Use a medium to large saucepan. The sauce will bubble up as it boil and could easily overflow if you use a small pot.
- Cook the mixture for 5 minutes. It will come to a boil then reduce it to a simmer as you stir, making sure the sugar dissolves.
- Add the cranberries and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature before you refrigerate it. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Store in the refrigerator for 10-14 days
- Freeze for 3-6 months
- Feel free to add a generous tablespoon of orange liqueur or port wine if you'd like to spike this sauce
- Use fresh cranberries when available. If not, frozen cranberries are fine too.
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Serving Size:1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 51Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 0g
This data is provided by Nutritionix and is an estimate only.
Please note that this post was originally shared in November, 2012, and more recently updated with new photos and text in November, 2020.
Holly Baker started the food blog, A Baker’s House, in 2011. She is the writer, recipe creator, and photographer for the site. Holly loves to bake and shares recipes for gluten free food, canning recipes, as well as traditional desserts too. Her recipes and food photography have been highlighted by BuzzFeed, Reader’s Digest, and She Knows.