Cranberry Orange Sauce — Damn Delicious

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Cranberry Orange Sauce

Skip the canned cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving and make it right at home – it is embarrassingly easy to make with just 3 ingredients! You can even make it ahead of time!

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is in less than 2 weeks?! It’ll be a Thanksgiving festival here at Damn Delicious until then so stay tuned for many Thanksgiving dishes until now and the big day. And to kick off this Thanksgiving feast, let’s start with this incredibly easy cranberry sauce.

Now I’m not sure how you host Thanksgiving or what you’re responsible for cooking but cranberry sauce has got to be one of the easiest dishes to make. And if you’re like me, any dish that takes minimal effort for the big day is a huge relief since you’ll probably be crazed with a million other things that day.

So how does this come together? Easy. Just 3 ingredients, if you don’t count the water, and all you have to do is let it simmer and thicken. Done and done. Seriously, didn’t I tell you it was embarrassingly easy? It’s also wonderfully sweet and tart, beautifully complementing the orange kick.

Not only is it effortless to make but you can also whip this up ahead of time since it’ll keep for at least a week in the fridge! Although it never lasts that long in ours – we slather it on everything, and they’re also so perfect for Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches!

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Yield: 3 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Skip the canned cranberry sauce and make it right at home. It’s embarrassingly easy with just 3 ingredients!


  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or more, to taste
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest, sugar and 3/4 cup water over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Stir in cranberries and bring to a boil; reduce heat and let simmer until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.
  3. Let cool completely before serving.

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This cranberry sauce needs to be on my Thanksgiving table, gorgeous!

I love cranberry sauce and this one this perfect. Simple, but SO good! Totally making this!

I can’t believe this has so few ingredients! Looks incredible!

Cranberry Orange Sauce it the best part of Thanksgiving dinner – looks great!

I love this recipe, and will definitely have to try and incorporate it into our thanksgiving 🙂 yum!!

Chung-Ah! I love cranberry and orange together. Your homemade cranberry sauce looks so easy. I feel like cranberry sauce should be a year-long phenomenon. I love the stuff!

When our local grocery has cranberries buy one / get one, I stock up my freezer, and have sauce whenever I want all through the year.

I make it at different times of the year. It’s great with pork or chicken Cornish hens so if you get cranberries fresh fresh some for later they are hard to find. My husband loves it on toast also he uses it like jam and on muffins.

This is my first year hosting thanksgiving and my mom asked if there would be cranberry sauce. I was like, ughh no icky cranberry globous goo. But now I’m kind of excited to make it! Thanks!

I’m so glad! Good luck on your first year of hosting! If you need any tips, let me know. My first Thanksgiving feast involved 17 people and it was a bit of a nightmare!

Homemade sauce is 1000x better than the canned stuff! Love the addition of orange too!

This is going to be my sauce for this Thanksgiving and might add a touch of Grand Marnier for an extra kick. Thank you!

Beautiful, Chung-Ah! Pinning!

Easy peasy, gotta try it!

Divine! Can never go wrong with orang and cranberry flavors together 🙂

Excited to try this! How many oranges did you use to make the juice?

One orange should be sufficient but you could always add more to taste!

“Just 3 ingredients, if you don’t count the water, and all you have to do is let it simmer and thicken.”
Actually, there are four ingredients listed. Water isn’t one of them.

Actually, Syndi, there are still 3 ingredients:
1. orange
2. sugar
3. cranberries

Orange zest and orange juice come from 1 ingredient.

Where is the water used?

Sylie, the water is used in the very first step. As stated in the instructions, “In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest, sugar and 3/4 cup water over medium heat.”

I live in Mandarin orange country and it is harvest time. I just brought home 10 lbs of mandarins from my neighbor’s orchard so I am going to prepare this recipe with the mandarins instead of regular oranges. Mandarins are smaller so I will use the zest of two of them instead of one orange, and they are sweeter so I may not need as much sugar. I will give it a try and I bet it will be yummy! Thanks, by the way I found you by googleing cranberry orange sauce and you came up top of the list. I am bookmarking your site, its great!

I just finished cooking this. It smells wonderful. I did add a dash or two of salt and a bit of cinnamon. I think salt always makes sweet sweeter. The cinnamon just seemed right. Thanks for a great recipe!

Okay this is what I’m making but I bought a 3lb bag of cranberrys. I’m not great in the kitchen or conversions. How much should I use?

The recipe calls for 1 pound of cranberries so you can triple the recipe if you want to use the entire 3lb batch of cranberries.

I think the recipe is calling for 12 oz , not a pound of cranberries? Is that correct? I am terrible with food conversions but I try!

16oz is one pound. That is equal to 2 cups 🙂 The recipe calls for a cup and a half.

Actually it says 12oz and a pound is 16oz so if you have 3lb that is 48oz and you will need to multiply all of the ingredients by 4, 3 cups of water 2 cups of sugar or more to taste, 1 cup orange juice (I use fresh tangerines here and substitute 2 per orange so 8 of those for zest), zest of 4 oranges, and a 50ml shooter of Grand Marnier at the end. Happy Thanksgiving!!

This recipe can use anywhere from 12-16 ounces cranberries. But feel free to triple or quadruple to taste!

I just got done making this and it came out great and tastes delicious! I added 1 cinnamon stick to this recipe and it really brought the flavor out more and came out perfect (smells amazing too!) Definitely will be making this every year!

I made this sauce with brown sugar, erring on the low side of the sugar, and added a little bit of Stevia at the end because I had gone a little too low on the suger. The final product tasted great, and the touch of Stevia didn’t detract from the overall flavor. I served it on top of “mashed” butternut squash, topped with roasted hazelnuts. It was delightful. Thanks for the great recipe!

can this be canned so that I could have it for maybe 6 months or longer? If so how do I process?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer this with certainty as I have never tried canning this myself. Please use your best judgment if you decide to move forward with the canning process.

Yes, it can be canned. I’ve done it. The orange zest and fresh orange juice have more than enough pectin in them to get it to gel; in fact that’s what commercial pectin is made of. Just cook it until it gels and then can it like jam in a boiling water canner. Most jams call for ten minutes of processing time so that’s what I did, and it turned out great. I confess it didn’t last six months on my shelf, though – I kept adding it to Greek yogurt for my lunches so I almost didn’t have any left for Christmas. 🙂

Dont worry about canning…just freeze it…however using normal canning procedures for jams and jellys, you should be fine…but use mason jars, not cans

This is my second year making this upon my family’s request. I didn’t print it out last year and panicked that I wouldn’t find it. I’ve officially written it down and I will hold on to it tight! This recipe is the only kind I’ve ever had not from a can (I was a canned fan for almost 25 years!), and I’m so happy with it I dare not go back, or bother to find a different recipe. Delicious, delicious, delicious!

What if it doesn’t thicken.

You can use a potato masher to speed up the process and let it help thicken.

This is the second time I have made this cranberry sauce and it gets better every time. It is delicious and so simple to make!

Looks soooo good. I’d like to try this 🙂
But, what is it for? Meat? (I’m not from the States and where I live we have nothing similar)
Thank you :)))

Cranberry sauce is typically made for Thanksgiving as a traditional accompaniment to turkey.

I’m hosting about 20 this year and I’m making this. I hate the canned, congealed stuff but this recipe looks scrumptious!

HI! I have made this before and it is my son’s favourite. I am cooking for 40 this year and wondering if I made it this weekend could I throw it in a water bath canner and can some and then have it? I could also make extra and send home as a gift. What do you think? Happy Thanksgiving early 🙂

What a great idea! But without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment.

My aunt made fresh cranberries one year and I would like to try it this year. Most of the berries in hers stayed intact and burst in your mouth. Will this be similar or will they be more cooked down and mushy?

The beauty of this recipe is that you can choose to cook the berries down completely or leave them intact.

I add cinnamon , star anise and a pinch of cloves to mine!

How far in advance can this be made? Was thinking of making it tonight to prep for Thursday’s feast, think that would work?

I just discovered your web site today while looking for a Mexican Rice Casserole recipe… After reading recipes after recipes, I’m really impressed with what I see. I’m sooo looking forward to trying some over the weekend 🙂

As far as this Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe goes, I love it! I haven’t made it yet but just 2 nights ago, I got creative in the kitchen as I was craving some Homemade Chunky Cranberry Sauce. I ended up making mine with a 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries, 2 peeled & diced apples, 1 c. of water, 3/4 c. sugar, juice of 1/2 an orange + zest, a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and a small packet of vanilla sugar: it turned out great! (It yielded 2 16 oz. Ziploc containers)

By the way, I did make a “One Pot Mexican Rice Casserole” inspired by your recipe and it turned out great; even my picky 13 year-old son loved it! Next, I’m going to make your Cranberry Sauce Cheesecake Brownies: sounds divine! So, thank you so much for sharing your culinary talents with us: it’s truly inspiring!

Great recipe! Loooove simple and quick. I also add crushed pineapples and slices of Christmas oranges. After berries stopped popping , I take a potatoe masher and mash in the pineapples and oranges. It’s a huge hit.

What is the best way to reheat this recipe for a large group? I’ll be making it ahead of time.

You can heat low and slow until just heated through on the stovetop.

Can you use Splender in lieu of sugar?

Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

I add blackcherry jello nutmeg and cinnamon …. everyone waits for this cranberry!

I’m not normally a big cranberry sauce fan when it comes to Thanksgiving foods. However, I made this last year and everyone LOVED it(including myself 🙂 )! I’m looking forward to making it again this year! Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi! Wondering how many people this recipe serves. Hosting my first thanksgiving and want to make sure I have enough for everyone. Thanks!

Shannon, this recipe yields about 3 cups – that should be enough for 6-8 servings, if not more. It just depends on how much your guests will use!

I made it this morning, carefully according to the recipe. I did not get any pith in with my zest. But the result is a little bitter. Is there anything I can add to improve the flavor? Will it get better overnight?

Booklady, comments may take 24-48 hours to be moderated. There is no “disillusion” here. It’s also Thanksgiving today and I am on holiday with my family and baby corgi, but doing my absolute very best to answer reader questions. 🙂

Just finished making for tomorrow. It is amazing. Love it, love it, love it… Just the right balance between sweet and tart. I’ll add this to my arsenal of recipes. Thank you!

I made it today, too. Turned out a bit bitter, and I am hoping the blogger will post my question (sent in earlier) with a possible answer. I’m wondering why your comment shows up and not mine. .

Perhaps your batch of cranberries are a bit tart? You can add additional sugar as needed. Hope that helps!

Since my questions and comments keep disappearing while others are published, I can only conclude you post only positive comments and nothing that raises any question about your recipe. Most disappointing and disillusioning.

Simple, easy, delicious and elegant! Great recipe, thank you for sharing. I love it! For sure a new addition to our table ♡

I just love this cranberry sauce and add them to my margaritas. They were a huge hit this holiday so I added it to my blog. Come by and check it out.

This sounds delish! How Can I fix this dish where I can enjoy it ?

I love cranberry sauce but for the most part, the rest of my family doesn’t care for it. This looks incredible though! I may have to make it for my work potluck.

I add Port too – but I am English!

I’ve been making cranberry sauce like this for years… wouldn’t have it any other way! I also add a few whole cloves for that extra ‘zing’!

I grew up eating a cranberry gel thing that I never thought was any good. I have made this for our family and my son, who would never eat cranberries, goes back for thirds. I add a little nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and walnuts. It is so good.

Doubled the recipe (why isn’t the water on the ingredients list?) And it didn’t want to thicken

If you really want to set it off, add 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

This sauce can be canned in a boiling-water bath canner, like jam. It only made a couple of jars, though, so you might want to double it to make it worthwhile running your canner. The orange zest and fresh-squeezed juice are the key: that’s where the pectin is that will make it gel. To test the gel, put a plate or ramekin in the freezer ahead of time, and drop a teaspoonful of sauce onto it when you think it’s done. If it gels, you’re good; if it doesn’t, keep cooking for a few more minutes.

Come join me in my culinary adventures where we’ll be using simple, fresh ingredients and transforming them into sophisticated and elegant meals for the everyday home cook.

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