Cranberry sauce with orange juice is the most delicious and classic way to prepare cranberry sauce and so easy to make. This simple homemade cranberry sauce is made with orange juice, orange zest, sugar, and nothing else. Just 3 ingredients and so much flavor. This easy cranberry sauce is perfect for Fall and when fresh cranberries are in season. I am also going to show you more ways to use cranberry sauce beyond the usual Thanksgiving holidays so you can enjoy it all year long.
The cranberry sauce recipe is made with orange juice and is a more traditional one with a little orange and sugar added to the cranberries. If I have time I love making sugared cranberries to add to this homemade cranberry sauce for a Thanksgiving side. It adds to that whole cranberry sauce feel with a wonderful pop of texture.
This classic-style cranberry sauce is so much better than canned cranberry sauce and it takes only minutes to make. It's also perfect for a make ahead dish which is so important during the Fall holidays.
As with all homemade cranberry sauce, you need to start out with fresh cranberries. They are readily available during the Fall season and around Thanksgiving.
You could make this sauce any time of year though if you want to use frozen cranberries. This delicious sauce is very refreshing and loaded with antioxidants from the cranberries so you can eat this and feel good about it!
There are not many ingredients needed to make this delicious cranberry sauce. Here is what you need (full recipe below):
- Fresh cranberries: I like to buy fresh cranberries for this recipe but you can also make this with frozen cranberries if you prefer or they are not in season.
- Orange: You will need the juice and the zest of the orange.
- Kosher salt: This is literally just a pinch. The salt helps bring out the sweetness in the recipe.
- Granulated Sugar: Although cranberries are so good for you and loaded with so many delicious antioxidants, you need sugar to offset the natural bitterness of cranberries. If you have tried cranberry juice that has no sugar, you will understand 🙂
How to make cranberry sauce with orange juice
- Add ingredients to a pot: Add your fresh cranberries, orange juice, sugar, and salt to a medium saucepan.
- Simmer for 20 minutes or until the cranberries begin to burst and the sauce thickens. To test for the right thickness of the sauce, dip a spoon into the cranberry sauce and coat it well. remove the spoon from the sauce and run your finger down the back of the middle of the spoon. If the line you made through the sauce on the spoon stays and does not fill up again with the sauce from the sides then it is ready.
- Cool: Once ready, remove from the stove and allow to come to room temperature. The sauce will thicken a bit at this point.
- Refrigerate: Once it comes to room temperature, pour your sauce into a container with a lid and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Making this into a whole-berry cranberry sauce
To make a cranberry sauce with whole cranberries still in it after cooling, I like to add sugared cranberries into it. I make a big batch at the holidays and then save some for garnishing drinks and dishes then add the rest into this cranberry sauce.
The first thing you want to do to make this recipe is to make the Sugared Cranberries.
You will end up making a little more than the recipe calls for but that is ok. These sugared cranberries are going to serve double duty at your holiday table.
First, they are going to be used in this cranberry sauce. Second, they can be added to your holiday cocktails or as a beautiful decoration to your table.
I really love snacking on these as is, so go ahead and make extra for just this reason. The other great part about making the sugared cranberries is you will have a beautiful simple syrup left over that you can use to make some holiday cocktails.
These cranberries are made ahead of time so it is the perfect holiday recipe to make your gathering more festive and your cranberry sauce more amazing.
Making cranberry sauce ahead of time
The classic cranberry sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. Since this is served as a side dish, that makes it an easy one to prepare at the holidays since it frees up your main day of cooking at the holidays.
Once you make the sugared cranberries, you can go ahead and move on to the cranberry sauce part of the recipe. These can be made back to back since both need time to cool and then are refrigerated. This cranberry sauce recipe is made with fresh orange juice and it is so good
Ways to enjoy this classic sauce all year
Now you probably already know that this classic cranberry sauce goes so well at the Thanksgiving table or any holiday table and you can easily find fresh cranberries during this time for this reason. We also enjoy making this delicious sauce throughout the year with frozen cranberries.
Here are some of our favorite ways to use cranberry sauce:
- On top of our Philadelphia cheesecake recipe or as a topping for cheesecake bites.
- As the fruit base for a shortbread tart.
- Inside of baked brie en route.
- As a topping for whipped cottage cheese.
- We like to use it as a substitute for jam in recipes.
- On Charcuterie boards.
Get creative! Cranberry sauce is for more than just the holidays and it is so full of nutrients (even if it has lots of sugar.) Remember that this is not just for the holidays.
More cranberry recipes:
Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- 10 oz fresh cranberries
- 1 large orange juiced
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
Sugared Cranberries (Optional)
- 10 oz fresh cranberries
- 2 cups sugar (1 cup for cooking the cranberries and 1 cup for rolling the cranberries in after cooking)
- water- enough to fill a small sauce pan
- Start off with making the sugared cranberries.
- Once you have finished making the sugared cranberries, start with your cranberry sauce.
- Add your fresh cranberries, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and salt to a medium sauce pan.
- Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the cranberries begin to burst and the sauce thickens. To test for the right thickness of the sauce, dip a spoon into the cranberry sauce and coat it well. remove the spoon from the sauce and run your finger down the back of the middle of the spoon. If the line you made through the sauce on the spoon stays and does not fill up again with the sauce from the sides then it is ready.
- Once ready, remove from the stove and allow to come to room temperature. The sauce will thicken a bit at this point.
- Once it comes to room temperature, pour your sauce into a container with a lid and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to serve the cranberry sauce, take 1 cup of your sugared cranberries and add them to your cranberry sauce.
- Gently fold the sugared cranberries into your cranberry sauce.
- Serve right away.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here