An easy and homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe that is made with fresh or frozen cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and a bit of honey or maple syrup. Learn how to make fresh cranberry sauce with orange juice that is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, and tastes so much better than the canned kind!
Hello, Cranberry Orange Sauce!
Say goodbye to canned cranberry sauce and hello to this fresh cranberry orange sauce!!
Seriously, though. As a kid I always turned up my nose at the gelatinous glob of maroon jiggle. Who wants to eat something that looks like a science experiment?!
Cohl always looked forward to the fresh, homemade cranberry sauce that his mom cooked up. And rightfully so. It is incredible!
So if you want to learn how to make cranberry sauce, what type of cranberries and oranges to use, how to make it ahead and the best way to store it, then read on.
Cranberry Orange Sauce Ingredients
In this cranberry orange sauce recipe you will see there are only a few easy-to-find ingredients that are needed:
- Cranberries – you can use fresh or frozen cranberries. (See more info below.)
- Oranges – fresh orange juice and orange zest is the best. (See more info below.)
- Honey or maple syrup – use honey if you are not vegan and maple syrup or agave nectar if you are.
- Salt – just a wee bit goes a long way in bringing out the natural sweetness of the cranberry orange sauce.
All of these ingredients can be easily found at your local grocery store.
What Type of Cranberries
When making homemade cranberry sauce it is critical that you use either fresh cranberries that can be found in a bag in your produce section or frozen cranberries. If using frozen cranberries there is no need to defrost them before cooking or baking.
Cook’s Tip: Do NOT use dried cranberries. These will NOT work when following a homemade cranberry sauce recipe.
If you buy fresh cranberries, make sure to store them in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 weeks for best results. If using frozen cranberries, you have up to a year to use them in a cranberry orange sauce recipe.
What Type of Oranges
Navel oranges work best in this recipe and is what I recommend. However, if you would like to experiment with blood oranges or mandarin oranges, I would love to know how it turns out!
As shown below, the recipe calls for orange juice and orange zest. Trust me when I tell you it is TOTALLY worth squeezing those orange slices to get the fresh orange juice and pulling out your zester or microplane grater.
Cook’s Tip: A microplane works better when zesting the orange in this recipe since it will create smaller pieces of orange zest. If you do not have a microplane, simply zest and then finely chop the orange zest into tiny pieces.
Can I Use Orange Juice from a Carton?
Yes, you can use orange juice from a carton to save you a bit of time. If you do, make sure you get orange juice that is FRESH and not from concentrate. Fresh orange juice can often be found in the refrigerated area of your produce section. Don’t forget to still grab an orange to get a bit of that fresh orange zest into the cranberry sauce!
How to Make Cranberry Orange Sauce
Now that you have all of your cranberry orange sauce ingredients, let’s take a look at how to make cranberry sauce:
- Pour orange juice, water, and sweetener into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.
- You can either use a stainless steal (personal preference) or a non-stick saucepan.
- Once the ingredients are boiling, reduce heat to medium and add fresh or previously frozen cranberries, zest, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes UNCOVERED, stirring occasionally.
Cook’s Tip: It is VERY important you keep the saucepan uncovered to allow extra liquid to evaporate from the cranberry orange sauce. This helps the cranberry sauce to thicken up.
- Once cranberries begin to pop, turn off heat and mash the cranberries with the back of a spoon until your desired consistency is reached.
- The cranberry orange sauce will continue to thicken as it sits and cools to room temperature.
- Let cranberry sauce come to room temperature completely before storing in the refrigerator.
How to Store Cranberry Sauce
Now that you have finished your homemade cranberry sauce recipe, what is the best way to store it and how long does it last?
How long does homemade cranberry sauce last?
Fresh cranberry sauce will last for up to 2 weeks if stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Be sure to refrigerate the cranberry sauce within 2 hours of cooking.
Can you freeze cranberry sauce?
Yes, you can freeze cranberry sauce. It will be best if used within 1-2 months. Note: the texture may become a bit more watery once defrosted.
How to Prep Cranberry Orange Sauce Ahead of Time
One of the best things about making cranberry orange sauce is that it can be made up to 4-5 days in advance with no compromise on flavor. In fact, I think it actually gets a little better with more time in the refrigerator.
So instead of rushing around on Christmas or Thanksgiving morning, you can make this cranberry orange sauce recipe ahead of time!
Other Thanksgiving Day Recipes:
- Green Bean Casserole Recipe
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Oat Crumble
- Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe
- Chopped Kale Salad with Cranberries
Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe
An easy and homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe that is made with fresh or frozen cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and a bit of honey or maple syrup.
- Add orange juice, water, and honey to a medium saucepan and bring ingredients to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and add cranberries, orange zest, and salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Once cranberries begin to pop, turn off heat and mash remaining cranberries to your desired consistency.
- Let sit at room temperature until chilled and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Fresh and frozen cranberries work equally as well in this recipe. Do NOT get dried cranberries.
- Feel free to use maple syrup, or agave nectar to make this recipe vegan.
- You can use a microplane grater instead of chopping the orange zest.