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Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice brighten up the traditional holiday cranberry side dish in this cranberry orange sauce.
cranberry orange sauce in a white bowl

Make this cranberry orange sauce ahead of time to relieve some of the holiday stress on the big day. In the quest to make the perfect Thanksgiving dinner there always seems to be some panic when it comes down to crunch time: Will the side dishes be ready at the same time as the turkey? Did I make enough stuffing? Do I have the right serving bowls and platters for each food?

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.

Start with this cranberry sauce. Make it a few days (or a week) ahead of time and this Thanksgiving staple will be ready, delicious, and waiting for you and your guests.

This recipe doesn’t differ much from the standard cranberry sauce recipe listed on the back of the OceanSpray bag of fresh cranberries but the addition of orange zest and juice makes this a 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!

Yield: 2 cups

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

cranberry orange sauce in a white bowl

A beautiful orange and cranberry sauce would make a great addition on your Thanksgiving table!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • The Juice and Zest from 2 oranges (approx 1/4 cup fresh orange juice)
  • 1 12 ounce package of fresh cranberries


  1. Zest the oranges and set aside the zest.
  2. Juice the oranges and add the orange juice, 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. Add the cranberries and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat and cook for another 5 minutes. You can leave the berries whole but I prefer to use a potato masher to break down most of the cranberries. Add the zest in the last minute of cooking.
  5. Let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature before you refrigerate it. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 38Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 0g

This data is provided by Nutritionix and is an estimate only.

Did you make this recipe?

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cranberry orange sauce in a glass jar

Overhead photo of ginger pear Bundt cake with cream cheese frosting.
Ginger Pear Bundt Cake
Pumpkin butter in a mason jar
Pumpkin Butter in the Crock Pot

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)

Saturday 17th of November 2012

I agree about the last minute crunch panic. We're having Thanksgiving tomorrow for our family due to some travel plans, and I'm laying in bed reading food blogs instead of making final plans. I'm officially feeling anxious. :) Happy Thanksgiving Holly.

Holly @

Saturday 17th of November 2012

I am sure your meal will be lovely! And then you will be able to relax this whole week and hopefully enjoy the long weekend coming up. Happy Thanksgiving!

Barbara | Creative Culinary

Friday 16th of November 2012

I just bought a big bag of cranberries from Costco yesterday for my sauce. You won't be surprised right when I tell you there is wine in it right?

Homemade is so easy and so good; this year we are simplifying and good for the was most certainly not cut from the list!

Sorry you can't make it tomorrow; we'll miss you.

Mrs. Herb

Friday 16th of November 2012

Looks yummy! Cranberry and orange is a great combination, so I bet this is fabulous!

Holly @

Friday 16th of November 2012

Thanks! I like how the orange zest brightens up the dish and reminds me how much better homemade cranberry sauce is compared to the store-bought version. Happy Thanksgiving!

Karen Harris

Friday 16th of November 2012

I'll be digging the cranberries out of the freezer any day now to start this process. One of the wonders of Thanksgiving. I hope you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving Holly!