Thanksgiving is just not complete without Cranberry Orange Sauce in my eyes! A wonderful mix of sweet, tart and warm fall spices. The flavors pair perfectly with all the other Thanksgiving flavors.
Cranberry Orange Sauce is something I love to eat at Christmas time too. Or really anytime for that matter. It’s a blend of cranberries, raisins, apples, walnuts, orange, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
The recipe is super easy to put together and is done in no time. It’s a no fuss recipe, which are my favorite kinds of recipes for the holiday season! If you’re a cranberry lover like I am, then Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce may be the perfect holiday dessert for you.
Try some other Thanksgiving dishes!
- Glazed Shallots
- Old Fashioned Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Perfectly Spiced Pumpkin Pie
- Southern Sweet Potato Pie
- Homemade Au Gratin Potatoes
- Dutch Apple Pie
- Easy Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
- Southern Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole
Can Cranberry Orange Sauce be made ahead of time?
Yes it can and that’s another reason I love it! Sometimes during the holidays it’s just go, go, go. This recipe is nice because you can do it a couple days ahead of time and not have to worry about it.
Although Cranberry Orange Sauce can be served warm or at room temperature, I typically serve it chilled. So it really works out perfectly to make it ahead of time.
Just prepare according to the recipe then remove it from the refrigerator when you’re ready to serve. If you’d like to serve it room temp then remove it a few hours ahead of time and let it come to temp on the counter.
Alternatively, if you’d like to serve it warm then just heat it up in a sauce pot prior to serving. You could also heat it in the microwave, covered and stirring frequently.
Can I freeze Cranberry Orange Sauce?
You sure can! Cranberry sauce freezes beautifully and can be kept for up to 3 months. You’ll want to cool the cranberry sauce completely before freezing it.
At that point you can store it in an airtight Tupperware container or freezer safe reusable bags. To thaw the cranberry sauce out, place it in your refrigerator for 2 days or you can let it thaw on the counter for about 6 hours then serve immediately while still chilled.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Fresh Cranberries – Fresh cranberries are a must. Please do not use canned cranberries here
- Granulated Sugar – Cranberries are very tart so you need sugar to sweeten them up
- Water – A little water so the sauce isn’t too thick
- Apple – Apple helps sweeten the Cranberry Orange Sauce too and adds a nice crunch
- Walnuts – Walnuts are optional here but add some nice texture in the sauce and great flavor
- Raisins – Raisins also help sweeten the sauce and pair well with all the different flavors in the sauce
- Fresh Orange Juice – Fresh squeezed orange juice is best here but if you only have bottled that will work
- Fresh Lemon Juice – The lemon juice adds a bit of brightness
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon blends so well with the rest of the warm spices
- Nutmeg – A touch of nutmeg adds a bit of extra flavor. Fresh grated or ground is fine
- Allspice – This adds an extra little kick of flavor in the sauce
- Kosher Salt – Salt will help bring out all of the flavors in this dish. Please do not substitute table salt for kosher salt
Tips for the best Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Toast your walnuts! This will bring out a stronger deeper flavor that is highly delicious
- Pecans can be subbed for the walnuts
- The nuts are optional so if you don’t like/can’t have, just leave them out
- Fresh cranberries must be used here for the recipe to turn out
- Fresh orange and lemon juice are the best for this recipe
- Use whatever type of apple you like best, I prefer Granny Smith in this recipe
- Make the Cranberry Orange Sauce ahead of time! It can be store in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months
- Cranberry Orange Sauce can be served warm, room temp or chilled. I prefer chilled
- Cooking Vessel – I prefer to cook my cranberry sauce in a Dutch oven, THIS is what I usually use
- Oven – For toasting the walnuts
- Chef Knife – A sharp knife for cutting the apples and walnuts
What to do with leftover Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Use it on a sandwich – Although there are countless sandwiches that this sauce would be delicious on, I do have a favorite! A croissant with cranberry orange sauce, mayo, turkey, brie cheese and lettuce. You just toast the croissant, smear either side with cranberry sauce and mayo, microwave the turkey and brie just until it starts to melt then add lettuce. Super easy and SO delicious
- Cranberry Mayo – You can mix equal parts cranberry sauce and mayo together and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. This is delicious on any sandwich you want to create. Especially turkey, bacon, chicken or ham
- Baked Brie – This cranberry relish would be amazing on top of baked brie
- Muffins – Mix a little in your muffin batter instead of blueberries
- As Pie or Cake Topping – A little dollop on top of your cheesecake, pumpkin pie or vanilla cake
- Cinnamon Roll Filling – Spread this on your cinnamon roll dough before rolling and baking! I would suggest leaving out the cinnamon that’s normally added in the rolls because the cranberry sauce already has cinnamon. Add it to my Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls!
How to make Cranberry Orange Sauce
Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the walnuts on a sheet tray. Roast them for 7-10 minutes until lightly toasted then let cool and chop.
Add all ingredients to your Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer then continue cooking for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the Cranberry Orange Sauce from the heat and let cool. Once the sauce cools, transfer it to desired container or serving dish and chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!
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Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Dutch oven or large sauce pot
- chef knife
Cranberry Orange Sauce
- 1 cup walnuts toasted
- 24 oz fresh cranberries
- 1½ cups granny smith apples ¼ inch dice
- 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1¼ cup water
- ¾ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup orange juice fresh squeezed
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 1¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp allspice
Toasting the Walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lay walnuts out on a sheet tray
- Roast the walnuts for 7-10 minutes until lightly browned. Check them after 7, they can burn quickly
- Set aside walnuts to cool then rough chop them
Making the Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Add all ingredients to Dutch oven and give a good stir. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil
- Turn the heat down and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes
- Remove from the heat and let cool
- Transfer to a storage container or serving dish and refrigerate until chilled. Serve and enjoy!