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5 from 3 votes

Cranberry Orange Sauce

This 3-ingredient Cranberry Orange Sauce is an easy, make ahead side dish for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword best cranberry sauce recipe, cranberry orange sauce, cranberry sauce with orange juice, easy, homemade cranberry sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Cooling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 9 people (Yield = 2 ¼ cups total)
Calories 72kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 1 cup orange juice (fresh-squeezed or bottled is fine)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
  • Optional garnish: zest from 1 large orange


  • In a medium saucepan, bring juice, sugar and salt to a boil. Whisk frequently to help the sugar dissolve.
  • Add cranberries; return to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until berries burst and sauce thickens (about 7-8 minutes), stirring frequently.
  • Cool to room temperature and serve, or refrigerate until ready to use.


  • For a bigger batch, double all of the ingredients.
  • Use frozen whole cranberries instead of fresh cranberries.
  • Garnish with orange zest from fresh oranges so that your guests know exactly what's in the sauce. When zesting the orange, make sure that you only scrape off the very outer layer of the peel (where all of the flavorful essential oils are found), but don't get any of the white pith, which has a bitter taste.
  • For a sweeter whole cranberry sauce, increase the sugar to ¾ cup. Similarly, you can decrease the sugar to ¼ cup for a very tart taste.
  • Use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar for a slightly different flavor with a bit of molasses in the background.
  • Add warm spices to the sauce. Good options include cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
  • Cook the cranberries just until they burst and start to thicken. You know the sauce is done when the pectin in the cranberries thickens the sauce to an almost jam-like consistency. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools, so you don't want to cook it for too long or you'll end up with very thick sauce.
  • Whole cranberry sauce has the best texture, so stop cooking once almost all of the cranberries have burst. Leaving some berries whole gives it that great homemade, rustic taste and texture.
  • Stir regularly as the sauce simmers. This will help the berries cook evenly, and will prevent any scorching or burning on the bottom of the pot.
  • Give the sauce time to cool to room temperature before serving, or before packing and storing in the refrigerator.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 72kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 18.8mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.1mg