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Zesty Orange Cranberry Sauce

I always make my own cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. This year, I'm making Zesty Orange Cranberry Sauce! I make this a day or two ahead so the flavors have some time to meld together!

Cranberries spilling from a mason jar


  • 12 oz fresh organic cranberries

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (adjust to taste)

  • 1 cup water

  • Zest of 1 orange

  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)


  • Rinse the Cranberries: Rinse under cold water and remove any stems or leaves.

  • Combine Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest, fresh orange juice, and the optional cinnamon stick.

  • Cook on Medium Heat: Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil.

  • Reduce Heat: Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer. Stir occasionally.

  • Simmer: Allow the cranberries to simmer until they start to burst and the sauce thickens, usually around 10-15 minutes.

  • Add the Zest: Add the zest after the berries burst.

  • Check for Sweetness: Taste the cranberry sauce (it will be very hot - put some on a spoon and let it cool first) and adjust the sweetness if needed by adding more sugar. Keep in mind that it will continue to thicken as it cools.

  • Remove from Heat: Once the cranberries have burst and the sauce has started to thicken, remove the saucepan from the heat.

  • Cool and Remove Cinnamon Stick: Allow the cranberry sauce to cool for a bit. If you used a cinnamon stick, remove it.

  • Chill and Serve: Transfer the cranberry sauce to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

  • Serve: Serve the Orange Zest Cranberry Sauce alongside your Thanksgiving feast or as a flavorful topping for desserts.

This cranberry sauce can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Enjoy the sweet-tart burst of flavor with the added zing of orange zest! Best - Jen G.

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