This 3 ingredient homemade cranberry orange sauce is so fresh and easy to make! It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart and is extra special from the addition of orange juice!
I love to try out new recipes for the holidays. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I sometimes try different cranberry recipes, but this Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce is one I have made for many years.
This homemade cranberry sauce is naturally gluten-free.
Originally posted on November 2018 and updated for content on November 2022. I love to try out new recipes for the holidays. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.
I sometimes try different cranberry recipes, but this Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce is one I have made for many years.
It truly does not take too much effort to make your own fantastic cranberry sauce. As soon as I find cranberries in the store, I start to make cranberry sauce and we eat it even with baked chicken.
You can serve this cranberry and orange sauce with roast turkey, pork chops or even roasted vegetables. It can also be used as a spread for sandwiches or toast, or as an accompaniment to oatmeal and pancakes. Cranberry sauce is a delicious and versatile addition to any meal! Enjoy!
- Why you'll love this orange cranberry sauce recipe?
- Ingredients you need to make this homemade cranberry sauce
- Variations and Substitutions for this 3 ingredient cranberry sauce
- How to make homemade cranberry sauce?
- How to serve this cranberry sauce
- Do Italians Celebrate Thanksgiving?
- What do Italians eat on Thanksgiving?
- Italian Thanksgiving Terms
- Recipe FAQ's
- Some other recipes to enjoy:
- Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce
Why you'll love this orange cranberry sauce recipe?
- It's so easy to make with just 3 basic ingredients
- Takes less than 15 minutes!
- Much tastier than the canned cranberry sauce
- Easy Thanksgiving side dish
Ingredients you need to make this homemade cranberry sauce
- Cranberries: I like to use fresh cranberries, but frozen will work too
- Orange: You'll need the juice and zest of one orange
- Sugar: I like to use white sugar, but you could also use brown sugar
Variations and Substitutions for this 3 ingredient cranberry sauce
- Sugar Substitute: If you're looking to reduce the sugar content, you can replace the sugar with an equal amount of a sugar substitute like Stevia or Erythritol.
- Different Citrus: Swap out the orange juice and zest for lemon for a tart, refreshing twist.
- Spices: Add in a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to give the sauce a warming, spicy note that's perfect for the holiday season.
- Alcohol: Incorporate a splash of Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur for an adult version of this sauce.
How to make homemade cranberry sauce?
Step 1: Gather ingredients
Step 2: In a medium sized bowl, rinse the cranberries with cool water, and remove any stems or blemished berries. Drain the cranberries in a colander.
Step 3: Heat orange juice and sugar to boiling in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
Step 4: Stir in cranberries. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling about 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to pop.
Step 5: Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Step 6: Pour sauce into bowl or container.
Before serving, add on the orange zest and orange slices. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled.
How to serve this cranberry sauce
Do Italians Celebrate Thanksgiving?
There is a Harvest Festival that is celebrated in some parts of Italy. It’s mostly celebrated during September and that’s when they are thanking God for their successful harvest season.
If you happen to be in Italy during Thanksgiving, or you are an expat living there, you will feel sentimental during this very American holiday. Even though it’s not an Italian holiday, it has become part of the lives of the Italian immigrants that settled in America (like my dad and my husband) and they celebrate it.
What do Italians eat on Thanksgiving?
When I was growing up, the big Thanksgiving feast sometimes started with a simple broth and pastina. We would then move on to various antipasto dishes and cold cuts. It’s the perfect thing to snack on while everyone is hungrily awaiting the turkey to finish roasting.
When you are finished snacking on the antipasti it’s time to move on to the lasagna (yes, pasta!) or even ravioli (I know so many Italian American families whose aunts or grandmothers make ravioli for Thanksgiving in the States).
Is there truly room for turkey after all of this food? Of course!! Yes, Italians are sometimes a little overzealous with food proportions!
Italian Thanksgiving Terms
Here are some Italian words to impress your friends either in the States or in Italy on this big holiday!
- tacchino ripieno del Ringraziamento= stuffed turkey
- whole turkey = un tacchino intero
- turkey breast = petto di tacchino
- cranberries = mirtilli rossi
- sweet potatoes = patate dolci
- pumpkin = zucca
- turkey breast = petto di tacchino
- mashed potatoes = purè di patate
I prefer my cranberry sauce when it has cooled down from cooking (room temperature). It is even wonderful when you serve it cold. Some may even enjoy it warm right after it has cooked and cooled a little bit. You can serve and enjoy your cranberry sauce the way you like it.
That is a good question! Since it holds well in the refrigerator, I would make it even 7 days in advance and not recommend freezing. Make sure you cool it to room temperature before putting in the refrigerator.
You could freeze the actual cranberries even a month before and take them out when you’re ready to cook them.
My mom used to serve Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce for Thanksgiving and that’s when I started it making it this way (it’s been a recipe I prefer since my college days!).
When you add sweet orange juice, the citrus pairs so nicely with the tart cranberries.
I make my cranberry sauce a little less sugar than I see most other recipes. Feel free to add more or less sugar to your liking. You could even sub in maple syrup instead of sugar (I sometimes do that and it’s also delicious like that).
Make the cranberry sauce even 3 days ahead of Thanksgiving. This will save you from one more thing to do and take some stress away!
Yes, you can mix cranberry and orange juice. The tartness of the cranberry juice is beautifully balanced by the sweetness of the orange juice, creating a refreshing and flavorful blend.
Orange cranberry sauce can typically last for up to two weeks when properly stored in a refrigerator. Make sure to keep the sauce in a tightly sealed container to retain its freshness and flavor.
Adding sugar or a sweetener can help to balance out the bitterness of cranberry sauce. Additionally, citrus juices like orange or lemon juice can also help to cut through the tart flavor and add a hint of sweetness.
The two main types of cranberry sauce are jellied and whole berry. Jellied cranberry sauce is smooth and retains its shape when served, making it a popular choice for sandwiches and recipes that require a more solid consistency. Whole berry cranberry sauce, on the other hand, has a chunkier texture and is often used as a condiment or side dish.
Some other recipes to enjoy:
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below:)
Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce
- 16 ounces of fresh cranberries 2 cups
- 1 cup of sugar
- 3/4 cup of orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon orange zest to garnish
- orange slices to garnish
- In a medium sized bowl, rinse the cranberries with cool water, and remove any stems or blemished berries. Drain the cranberries in a colander.
- Heat orange juice and sugar to boiling in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
- Stir in cranberries. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling about 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to pop. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Don't worry if every single cranberry does not completely pop. Pour sauce into bowl or container. Before serving, add on the orange zest and orange slices. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.