This Homemade Cranberry Sauce, flavored with fresh orange juice, orange zest and honey is the easiest side you can make over the holidays!
Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Honey is the perfect tangy, but sweet bite to plop on your plate next to your Thanksgiving turkey and other tasty sides.
And it’s definitely the perfect garnish for Leftover Turkey Tacos!
Have you ever made homemade cranberry sauce? Up until a few years ago, we only ever had the canned stuff that jiggles as you dump it out of the can. And you know what? It brings back very fond memories for me because my dad loved the canned cranberry stuff and even though he’s no longer with us, we still serve the canned kind alongside this healthy cranberry sauce.
Both homemade cranberry sauce and canned are allowed to coexist on your Thanksgiving table and holiday menus. I don’t think you have to choose and everyone can win.
Plus, this cranberry sauce with orange takes all of 25 minutes and can be made before the main event! It’s the most low maintenance side dish you can make at Thanksgiving – seriously!
What’s in this healthy cranberry sauce?
This homemade, healthy cranberry sauce with orange and honey is made with just 5 ingredients:
- fresh or frozen cranberries. fresh will taste better, but you can definitely use frozen if needed.
- honey or pure maple syrup. to naturally sweeten and balance the tart cranberries. Use maple syrup if you are vegan.
- fresh orange juice and zest from the same orange. So festive and bright, perfect to add in since it’s citrus season.
- water. to help boil and cook down the cranberry sauce.
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks. Is there anything better than adding a hint of cinnamon to anything in the fall?
- a pinch of salt. like really just a small pinch.
How to make healthy orange cranberry sauce
This is the easiest recipe of all your Thanksgiving dishes — from beginning to end, this healthy cranberry sauce takes only 25 minutes to make!
- Combine ingredients in a medium pot. Start by combining cranberries, sweetener, juice from one orange, orange zest, water, cinnamon sticks and a pinch of salt.
- Boil then reduce to a simmer. Set over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or so. The cranberries will begin to become soft, break down, and become thick. The longer you let this simmer, the thicker the sauce will get. Just don’t let ALL the liquid cook out or it will burn. Stir more frequently near the end. You can mash the cranberries down with a fork or the back of the spoon if you like.
- Cool and serve. Let this cranberry sauce cool for about 20-30 minutes before serving.
How to make cranberry sauce ahead of time
You can make this healthy orange cranberry sauce ahead of time and serve later in the week. Cook as instructed in the recipe, and then allow to cool completely, before placing in an airtight container (any container or jar with an airtight lid will work) and serve when ready. This orange cranberry sauce recipe can be made 3-4 days in advance.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can you freeze homemade cranberry sauce?
Yes! Homemade cranberry sauce freezes easily. Pour into a freezer safe container or bag (squeeze out extra air) and place it into the freezer for up to 3 months for the best quality. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
If you want to rewarm in a pot after thawing, have at it.
Can dogs have cranberry sauce?
As a dog-lover and owner of 3-pups who rarely get table food except for special occasions, I have researched and confirmed that yes, dogs can have homemade cranberry sauce in small amounts. More info, guidelines and citing, here.
This homemade cranberry sauce doesn’t use added table sugar or currants such as grapes or raisins, so if you do opt to let your dog celebrate Thanksgiving with a few scraps, a small amount of this recipe will be okay. Check with your veterinarian before serving if you’re unsure.
More Holiday Side Dishes to Make
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Butternut Squash Risotto
- Garlic Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
- Winter Side Salad
If you decide to make homemade cranberry sauce, I would be honored if you would take the time to leave a star rating and comment below! I spend hours developing and testing these recipes, and always love to hear feedback and user experience.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Honey
- 12- ounce bag of fresh cranberries - can also use frozen
- 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup - use maple syrup to keep vegan
- Juice of one large orange
- Zest of same orange
- 1 cup water
- 2 medium cinnamon sticks
- pinch of salt
- To a medium saucepan, combinine cranberries, sweetener, juice from one orange, orange zest, water, cinnamon sticks and a pinch of salt.
- Boil over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or so. The cranberries will begin to become soft, break down, and become thick. The longer you let this simmer, the thicker the sauce will get. Just don’t let ALL the liquid cook out or it will burn. Stir more frequently near the end. You can mash the cranberries down with a fork or the back of the spoon if you like.
- Cool and serve. Let this cranberry sauce cool for about 20-30 minutes before serving. Can be made 3-4 days ahead of time.