Orange-Cranberry Sauce, Plus Variations

Making cranberry sauce is ridiculously easy. If you’ve always used canned sauce, why not switch to homemade? This recipe is simple and can be put together quite easily on the day of the Thanksgiving feast or it can be made ahead of time. Remember that cranberries have an enormous amount of pectin, so the sauce gels pretty quickly. If you like a looser sauce, cook it for a shorter period of time. If it’s gotten too thick for your tastes, thin with a bit of orange juice or brandy.

This recipe makes 1 cup, so it’s appropriate for Thanksgiving dinners with fewer people. Just double it if you want a larger amount.

What You’ll Need

  • a small saucepan
  • a zester
  • wooden spoon
  • measuring cup and measuring spoons
  • a jar or bowl


  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest (from half an orange)
  • pinch or two of ground cloves


How to make the sauce

  1. Put sugar, water, and orange juice into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and stir until sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.
  2. CookingBerries2

  3. Add the cranberries and cook until they pop, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. You can always smash them against the side of the saucepan with your spoon.
  4. BerriesPopping

  5. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest and the cloves.
  6. Place in a bowl and cool to room temperature. Serve or refrigerate for up to a week.



With Walnuts

Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped toasted walnuts after removing the sauce from the heat. Be sure to toast first, so that the walnut flavor comes through the orange and sugar.

With Ginger

Omit the cloves. Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped candied ginger after removing from the heat.


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