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Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a must on the Thanksgiving table. This homemade cranberry orange sauce is full of flavour and easy to make. It is sure to please a crowd.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, or any turkey dinner for that matter, cranberry sauce is a must.

I love making my own cranberry sauce. It is easy to make and only takes a few minutes. I know there are some people out there that will argue that Thanksgiving cranberry sauce must come from a can, be jiggly, and be served in a log shape complete with the can rings still visible. (My step-father is one of these people.). But I love the texture of and tartness of fresh cranberry sauce. Plus there is something so satisfying about making something yourself.

Cranberries, fresh oranges, and cinnamon sticks on a table.

This recipe calls for fresh oranges and cinnamon which add an additional tartness and beautiful balance to the flavour of the cranberries. It also looks pretty when you serve it.

If you prefer your cranberry sauce a little sweeter and less tart, you can either leave out the orange zest, or increase the sugar a little bit.

There are really only a couple of steps to making cranberry sauce. Seriously, anyone can make this! The part that takes the longest is letting it cool and thicken. You can serve it as soon as it’s cool, but for best results I recommend making it the day before and leaving it in the refrigerator overnight.

If you have leftovers they will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. You may want to try using it in these cranberry brie & rosemary bites, these easy gluten free cranberry shortbread bars or this bakery Swiss roll cake. And if you want to use this cranberry sauce on a savoury dish, then you have to try these turkey cranberry sliders.


Are you ready?

Ok, here is is.

Add all ingredients to a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle boil. Boil and stir for about 5-7 minutes until most of the berries have popped. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Cranberry sauce ingredients in pot

Seriously, that’s it! Easy, right?

Like I said, the hardest part is waiting for it to cool. I almost always burn my tongue trying to taste it too early.

Cranberry sauce in a bowl, garnished with cinnamon sticks and oranges.

Serve in a pretty dish and watch it disappear.


  • To make this sweeter, increase sugar by 1/4 cup or eliminate the orange zest.
  • You want to make sure most (not all) the berries have popped before removing from the heat as this will help the sauce thicken.
  • If you don’t like orange, eliminate the orange juice and replace with an equal portion of water.
  • You can use fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe. Frozen do not need to be thawed before starting.
Cranberry sauce on a spoon


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Cranberry Sauce in a bowl

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Easy to make and full of flavour, this cranberry orange sauce is perfect for your Thanksgiving table.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cool time: 6 hours
Servings: 12
Author: Deanna


  • 3 Cups Cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1 tsp Orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp Ground cinnamon


  • Place all ingredients in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a gentle boil. Boil, while stirring, for 5-7 minutes until most of the berries have popped and the sauce is beginning to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.


  • This is best made the day before to allow to set in the refrigerator overnight.
  • If you like your sauce sweeter, you can increase the granulated sugar by ¼ cup and/or eliminate the orange zest.
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Friday 11th of October 2019

This looks fabulous and is going on the menu. Thank you for letting readers know that they can make my gluten free cranberry shortbread bars with any leftover cranberry sauce :-). Sharing all around.


Friday 11th of October 2019

Thank you so much. I'm so happy to share your delicious recipe.


Friday 11th of October 2019

This cranberry sauce is amazing! I love the orange and cinnamon flavor in this.


Friday 11th of October 2019

I'm so glad you like it. I love the combination of flavours too.

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