This Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe is so easy and ready in just 30 minutes! The homemade sauce is loaded with so much flavor from the tart cranberries and combined with sweetness from the sugar and that subtle flavor from the orange, so so good!

If you like cranberries, give our cranberry scones or the cranberry bread a try for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Homemade cranberry orange sauce in a bowl topped with orange zest.

There is nothing better than a side of homemade cranberry orange sauce! The tangy cranberries sweetened with sugar and orange juice make for the perfect side dish, especially during the holidays.

The sauce is a wonderful combination of sweet and tart and has the perfect balance of flavor.

Homemade cranberry orange sauce in a white bowl with a metal spoon.

Ingredients for Cranberry Sauce-

With just 5 simple ingredients, you can make this delicious homemade cranberry orange sauce in under 30 minutes!

  • Cranberries– We like to use fresh cranberries for this sauce but you can also use frozen cranberries!
  • Sugar– This recipe calls for granulated sugar or you can use natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup you can also use brown sugar.
  • Orange juice– Orange juice or fresh squeezed orange juice can be used for this sauce for that citrus flavor.
  • Water– For the base of the sauce.
  • Lelmon zest- You want to use either lemon zest or orange zest. We like to use this microplane for zesting.
All the ingredients needed for homemade cranberry orange sauce.

How to make Homemade Cranberry Sauce-

This fresh cranberry sauce comes together so quickly and is the perfect side dish for so many recipes.

  1. Add all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often so the sugar dissolves. Cook until the cranberries begin to pop.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low heat and simmer until sauce thickens, stir continuously.
  4. Enjoy the cranberry sauce warm or keep refrigerated after you chill the sauce.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and top with orange peel shavings if desired.
Cranberry orange sauce ingredients in a saucepan uncooked.


How do I store cranberry sauce?

Once the sauce is cooled, add to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. This recipe is great to make ahead for the Holidays when you don’t want to be too busy preparing everything in one day.

How to reheat the cranberry sauce?

You can reheat the sauce in the microwave or in a saucepan until warm. If the consistency is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water when reheating the sauce.

Can I use frozen cranberries?

Yes, frozen cranberries will work great in this recipe. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator so they will cook evenly.

How long will cranberry sauce last?

The cranberry sauce will last in the fridge for up to one week!

Can I freeze cranberry sauce?

Yes, this sauce freezes GREAT! Transfer the sauce into a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months.
When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge and then serve cold or reheat to serve warm.

Can I substitute the granulated sugar?

Yes, if you want to use natural sweeteners you can use honey or maple syrup.

Can I add a cinnamon stick?

You can add a cinnamon stick in while cooking if you like that taste! You can also add any of your other favorite spices for a spiced sauce.

Cranberry sauce topped with orange zest in a white bowl.


Cranberry sauce is great to serve during the holidays, especially for Thanksgiving! Here are some of our favorite ways to pair the cranberry sauce with:

  • Side– This is a classic sauce to spread over Turkey or Honey Baked Ham or to enjoy as a side during any holiday meal.
  • Topping– Serve it as a topping over homemade Dinner Rolls or soft Biscuits.
  • Dessert– This cranberry sauce makes for a great topping for cheesecake, over ice cream, or over angel cake.
  • Breakfast– We love adding leftover cranberry sauce to smoothies or to yogurt parfaits!
  • Appetizer– Make our Cranberry Crostini appetizer with this sauce.
Homemade cranberry sauce recipe in a white plate with a spoon.

Other Thanksgiving Recipes-

This sauce is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. Here are some other recipes the sauce goes great with:

Easy Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe

Author: Valentina
5 from 1 vote
This Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe is so easy and ready in just 30 minutes! The homemade sauce is loaded with so much flavor from the tart cranberries and combined with sweetness from the sugar and that subtle flavor from orange, so so good!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp  lemon zest


  • In a medium saucepan add the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, water, and lemon zest and cook on medium high heat.
  • Stirring frequently so sugar dissolves, cook until the cranberries begin to pop. 
  • Turn heat to med/low and cook an additional 15 minute or until the sauce thickens.
  • Enjoy the cranberry sauce warm or keep refrigerated. 


198kcal Calories51g Carbs4mg Sodium134mg Potassium4g Fiber43g Sugar115IU Vitamin A28.4mg Vitamin C10mg Calcium0.3mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Easy Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 198
% Daily Value*
Sodium 4mg0%
Potassium 134mg4%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 43g48%
Vitamin A 115IU2%
Vitamin C 28.4mg34%
Calcium 10mg1%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
(The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)