Cranberry Orange Sauce

This cranberry orange sauce is totally honey (or maple) sweetened, loaded with orange flavor and is quick and easy to prepare! Perfect for the holidays. Naturally paleo, grain-free, dairy-free and with a vegan option. Scroll to the bottom of the post for a how-to recipe video.

This is probably the easiest recipe I’ll ever post. You mix together cranberries, honey, orange juice and zest and cook it for 10-15 minutes. That’s it.

If you need convincing to make this, go check out the reviews in the comments! I first posted this recipe years ago and it’s been a big hit.

Mr. Texanerin and I visited my family in Texas a few years ago for Thanksgiving. I was so outrageously excited for my German to experience his first American holiday that I planned everything out months in advance.

I emailed people their “jobs” in June (I swear I wasn’t annoying about it! ;)) and I decided that the guy who had never done Thanksgiving before got to make the easiest recipe. Seriously. Have someone who’s totally unable to cook in your family? Let ’em make this!

Or this French apple cake, which is also incredibly simple (but delicious!). This gluten-free apple crisp would also be a great option. And by the way, there’s no weird flours in there! Just oats and ground up oats.

Before Mr. T made this cranberry sauce with orange juice, my family had never had homemade cranberry sauce. I don’t think we knew how to make cranberry sauce or just how easy it is.

It was like that stuff that you had to have, just because it was Thanksgiving, but nobody really wanted. That’s because the canned stuff is just gross. Gloppy and way too sweet.

This homemade cranberry sauce is far from gloppy and is just sweet enough! At Thanksgiving dinner, everyone pretty much freaked out at how good it was and they all swore to never buy canned cranberry sauce again. My aunt even went and bought more cranberries the day after Thanksgiving so we could make more.

This naturally sweetened cranberry sauce is honey sweetened but you could also use regular granulated sugar if you prefer. That makes the recipe vegan! You can’t taste the honey here – it’s all cranberry and oranges!

You can make this orange cranberry sauce several days in advance and then that’s one less thing you have to worry about for Thanksgiving. Awesome, right?!

I don’t have kids but if yours want to help contribute something to Thanksgiving dinner, I think this cranberry orange sauce would be a great recipe for kids to make (under supervision, of course!). It’s so ridiculously quick and easy and they can feel super proud of themselves.

Mr. T was kind of the star of the day with his homemade cranberry sauce. It’s that good.

If you’re looking for something a little different, try this whole berry cranberry sauce from Amanda’s Cookin’!

I think that’s about it for me and Thanksgiving side dishes. Next week, I’ll start in on the most important element of any holiday meal – dessert!

Until then, I can highly recommend these apple brownies or these pumpkin pecan pie bars. If you want something a little fancier, this caramel pecan cheesecake pie has always been a big hit!

Need something to drink? Try this Thanksgiving punch!

Cranberry Orange Sauce (naturally paleo with vegan option)

Rated 4.7 by 7 readers
Cranberry Orange Sauce
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 2 cups


  • 1 cup (240ml) orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (160 grams) honey or for a vegan version, use 3/4 (150 grams) granulated sugar or 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) maple syrup1
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
  • 1 12-ounce package (340 grams) fresh cranberries


  1. Over medium heat, dissolve the honey or granulated sugar in the orange juice. add orange zest. Add the cranberries and cook, uncovered, until most of the berries have popped and the sauce has thickened a bit (it'll continue to thicken as it cools, which takes about 15-20 minutes). It takes about 10 – 15 minutes of simmering. I don't bother stirring, but you can if you like.
  2. Pour the cooled sauce in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. For paleo, make sure to use honey or maple syrup.

Recipe by  |

Pin post on Pinterest Share post on Facebook Share post on Twitter Share post on Google+

80 comments on “Cranberry Orange Sauce” — Add one!

  • Wendy says
    November 19, 2018 @ 6:39 pm

    This is my 3rd or 4th year making this sauce, it’s sooooo good! Why would anyone ever buy it off the shelf? This is 100x better. I’m going to add just a sprinkle of cinnamon this year. I’m wondering if a pinch of nutmeg would be good, also. has anyone tried that yet?

    • Erin replies to Wendy
      November 21, 2018 @ 9:34 pm

      I’m so happy you like it! I haven’t tried that and I’m not sure about it to be honest. Maybe just a tiny bit? ;) I’d love to hear how it comes out!

  • Amy
    November 22, 2017 @ 3:55 am

    Made this in preparation of Thanksgiving! I added ground cinnamon & clove. I used 1/4c raw honey, & 1/4c Real syrup. It smelled amazing cooking! Taste is superb! Can’t wait to share with my family! Thanks so much for this delicious easy recipe!!

    • Erin replies to Amy
      November 24, 2017 @ 5:27 pm

      I hope that they enjoyed the sauce and that you had a great Thanksgiving! Cloves and cinnamon sounds like a great addition. :) Thanks for your comment!

  • Michelle says
    November 21, 2017 @ 7:20 pm

    Yum! I will have to try it with honey. I never have before. I usually use brown sugar, and add a few cinnamon sticks. Otherwise, it is the same as how you make it.

  • Louise Rasmussen says
    November 20, 2017 @ 3:50 am

    I made this last year and it was great. Would you believe that I had some leftover and had bagels from Thanksgiving breakfast. Idea!!! creamed a package of cream cheese and added the leftover cran sauce. It was even better than it was as a side on Thanksgiving day. This year I’m planning on freezing enough cranberries so that I can make it year round.

    • Erin replies to Louise Rasmussen
      November 20, 2017 @ 11:55 am

      Oh my word. That sounds amazingly delicious! I’ll have to try that, too. :) Thanks a bunch for your tip! I’m so happy you liked it.

  • Tracy
    October 30, 2017 @ 3:09 am

    Made this tonight as a sauce it was very tasty,spread over my turkey breast very good.Will make all the time.

    • Erin replies to Tracy
      October 31, 2017 @ 2:42 pm

      So happy you liked it! Thanks for your comment.

  • Angie | Big Bear's Wife says
    January 19, 2017 @ 3:06 am

    I’m pretty sure that I would eat this year round! love the flavors! I love that it’s not super sweet!

  • ashley says
    November 25, 2016 @ 5:41 am

    I found your recipe on pinterest and decided to give it a go as I was nominated to bring the cranberry sauce this year. This was a total success!! Everyone completely loved it! I added in some cinnamon as well for a little more holiday flavor and I doubled the recipe and it still turned out great. Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe!!

    • Erin replies to ashley
      November 25, 2016 @ 4:55 pm

      That’s awesome! I’m so happy it was a hit. :) I’ve been meaning to try this with some cinnamon. Thanks for the reminder and for your comment!

      • Michelle replies to Erin
        November 21, 2017 @ 7:22 pm

        Cinnamon in cranberry sauce is so good!!!

  • Sarah Evelyn says
    November 24, 2016 @ 12:37 am

    This is such a great recipe! It’s my first time making cranberry sauce and I thankfully got the approval to make it paleo ;) It is so yummy and I love the tartness!

    • Erin replies to Sarah Evelyn
      November 24, 2016 @ 6:07 pm

      Thanks so much! I hope everyone enjoyed it. I hope you’re having a happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Jamie H. says
    November 22, 2016 @ 8:13 pm

    This is the second year I’ve made this. My husband specifically requested it this year. And it’s even better than I remember…so so so so good. I’ll be stocking up on cranberries to have this any time I want it! Thanks!!!!

    • Erin replies to Jamie H.
      November 22, 2016 @ 8:41 pm

      Aww, yay! I love that your husband specifically requested it. :) And good idea to stock up on cranberries! I still don’t have any. I hope there’ll be some left for me tomorrow when I go shopping. Thanks for your feedback!

  • Carolyn St.Pe' says
    November 22, 2016 @ 4:59 pm

    Getting ready to make your cranberry sauce….no other recipe will do ever since you made this at Papa’s all those years ago. I remember that trip for more cranberries the next day. Tell your friends to go ahead and double the recipe because they are going to want to use it with all kinds of other things. Try it before it gets too thick, while still warm and just pour it over….everything. LOL
    Your old aunt

    • Erin replies to Carolyn St.Pe’
      November 22, 2016 @ 8:42 pm

      Haha. I remember the trip for more cranberries, too. :) I think that was our family’s first try of homemade cranberry sauce. I have no idea why we had never had it before! I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. :)

  • Charlotte Moore
    November 21, 2016 @ 10:44 pm

    I have this cooking right now. Smells great!!

  • Jeannie says
    November 19, 2016 @ 10:10 pm

    How many does this serve? I’ve got a huge group of single airman/young families coming this year and would love to make this. Just need to know how much of everything to get so I have enough.

    • Erin replies to Jeannie
      November 19, 2016 @ 10:52 pm

      I wish I would have measured out the sauce to have an exact yield! Sorry about that. I looked at similar recipes and they say 6-12 servings (which probably isn’t any help at all!) for the amount of cranberries and liquid I used. I’d say 6 servings to be on the safe side. I hope everyone will enjoy it!

  • Denise James says
    October 2, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

    I’m making it, right now! I made it, last year, similarly.
    I will not consume white sugar! Personally, I feel that it’s poison. It’s addicting, causing inflammatory resp6, and diseases! Ha!
    Unfortunately, the rest of the family I’m bringing this to (we do Sunday dinners, rotating over 3 homes) they will eat the canned crap.
    Thanks for sharing this!

    • Erin replies to Denise James
      October 2, 2016 @ 10:07 pm

      You’re bringing this to a dinner and the others are eating canned sauce? That’s such a bummer. :( This is so much better! I’m happy you enjoyed it enough to make again. Thanks for your comment!

  • Ellie-May says
    November 22, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

    Hello! I plan to make this on Thursday, by orange juice do you mean orange juice in a carton you buy from a supermarket or fresh orange juice from an actual orange? :)

    • Erin replies to Ellie-May
      November 22, 2015 @ 2:57 pm

      I normally use store-bought (no added sugar) but I’ve also used freshly squeezed and both work! I can’t tell any difference. :) I hope you’ll enjoy the sauce!

  • Stephani says
    November 28, 2014 @ 2:41 pm

    Well I made the sauce yesterday for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! Everyone loved it although my husband felt it had a tad bit too much zest in it. I only put 2 tablespoons in so I may try it with 1 next time. It sure looked beautiful in the beveled crystal bowl I had it in! Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Stephani
      November 29, 2014 @ 8:03 pm

      I’m so happy that it came out well for you! Thanks so much for the feedback. :)

  • Noanne says
    November 27, 2014 @ 3:55 am

    I made this tonight with a 8oz bag of cranberries I had on hand.
    I used 3/4 cup of OJ and zest from clementines. ( I wish I
    Would have diced one and put it in but I read that review too
    late. Next time!
    I used a 1/2 C of honey and I threw in a cinnamon
    stick. It tastes great. Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Noanne
      December 2, 2014 @ 10:23 am

      I’m so happy it came out well! I also want to try the diced orange thing. :) Thanks so much for the feedback!

  • Jamie says
    November 26, 2014 @ 5:04 pm

    Just made this for Thanksgiving tomorrow….Didn’t add the zest as recommended, but added zest from a “cutie” (clementine) and then added the diced up cutie to the sauce. It was delicious. Thank you for the recipe ( I accidentally made this comment in the applesauce comment…..sorry!!)

    • Erin replies to Jamie
      November 26, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

      Yum! Adding the diced up clementine sounds great. :) Thanks so much for your feedback and no problem with your comment in the applesauce recipe (I deleted it so as not to confuse anyone about zest ;)) Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Stephani says
    November 25, 2014 @ 11:13 pm

    I found this on Pinterest and plan to make it tomorrow! Looks good, and I’ve never been a fan of cranberry sauce. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year, and I think Mom would be disappointed without some cranberry sauce! Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    • Erin replies to Stephani
      November 26, 2014 @ 9:31 am

      I hope you and your mom will enjoy it! Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for your comment. :)

  • April says
    December 4, 2013 @ 3:51 am

    This was really good. I used less orange zest because I had limited organic oranges. My three year old loved it and I felt good giving him sauce with raw honey instead of refined sugar. Thanks.

    • Erin replies to April
      December 4, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

      I’m so happy that you liked it, April! And I agree – I feel much better feeding my family cranberry sauce made with this recipe rather than one with a cup of white sugar. :)

  • DeAndrea says
    November 30, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

    Mmmm, this recipe sounds wonderful. I buy cranberries this time of year and keep them in the freezer so I can have cranberry something year round. You can beat the cranberry and orange flavor!

    • Erin replies to DeAndrea
      December 4, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

      So sorry for the slow reply! I’ve had a bit of a comment issue. I love your idea of freezing cranberries! It seems wrong to enjoy them just in November and December, right? Thanks for the tip. :)

  • Marge says
    November 29, 2013 @ 12:04 am

    very tasty! Best part: I prefer honey than sugar…and by luck I had “home-made” honey in stock!

    • Erin replies to Marge
      December 4, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

      Homemade honey?! Mmm! Sounds awesome! Do you keep bees? :) Thanks for the feedback! And sorry for the slow reply. I’ve had a bit of an issue with the comments!

  • Donnie Kirk says
    November 28, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

    Great recipe! When going to make my regular cranberry sauce, I realize I didn’t buy a small sack of sugar. Thank goodness I had honey. Googling for a recipe, I came across your cranberry sauce recipe. I modified a bit using a cup of tart cherry juice for the OJ and adding a small container of Simply Fruit Marmalade for the orange component. And…I always add a quarter cup of red wine to cut the sweet. I can out perfect!!! Thanks for your recipe! I never thought of honey instead of sugar! My new “traditional” recipe! Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Donnie Kirk
      December 4, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

      I’ve had a bit of a comment problem – sorry for the slow reply! I’m so happy that you like the cranberry sauce. :) And it’s your new traditional recipe?! Awesome! Thanks so much for the feedback. :)

  • holly
    November 28, 2013 @ 1:54 am

    Do you think this could be frozen in an ice cube tray for individual servings?

    • Erin replies to holly
      November 28, 2013 @ 8:25 am

      Yes, that should be fine. :)

  • Jessica says
    November 27, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

    Making now =) Used fresh orange juice since I had to zest so many oranges :D Hope it’s a hit!

    • Erin replies to Jessica
      November 27, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

      Haha. Well I hope it’s worth all the zesting trouble! Hope you all like it. :)

  • Samantha says
    November 27, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

    I’m making it right now with clementines and raw orange blossom honey!! Should be good :-)

    • Samantha replies to Samantha
      November 27, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

      Clementine juice that is !

    • Erin replies to Samantha
      November 27, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

      Ooh, that sounds amazing! I hope you’ll enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  • Leslie B says
    November 23, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

    We have an abundance of satsumas this time of year in Louisiana so I think I will juice some and give this recipe a try. Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Leslie B
      November 24, 2013 @ 10:55 pm

      Mmm! That sounds great. :) I hope you’ll enjoy the sauce! Let me know how it goes. :)

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says
    November 22, 2013 @ 10:19 am

    Oranges and cranberries always make a perfect pair, love that this is sweetened with honey!

  • Elise says
    November 18, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

    Hello Erin,

    I would like to make cranberry sauce and can it as gifts for the holidays. Can I can this recipe?



    • Erin replies to Elise
      November 19, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

      Hi Elise! I don’t have any experience canning so I’m afraid that I can’t say. :( Sorry I don’t have a more definite answer for you!

  • Rose | The Clean Dish
    November 18, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    Erin, what a wonderful recipe! As you may know, Cranberry Sauce is not something you typically eat in Germany and I have not really eaten lots of it in the States either – I never quite liked it, to be honest. This, however, I will try for sure!!

    • Erin replies to Rose | The Clean Dish
      November 20, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

      I hope you’ll like it! I really think you’ll like it. It tastes “real” if you know what I mean! :)

  • Dorothy Barclay Weisbord says
    November 16, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

    Can you freeze this?

  • Tracey says
    November 10, 2013 @ 11:52 pm

    Ok I’ll confess, I like the stuff from the can… But, I’m also a fan of homemade, and this version looks awesome! Cranberry is one of the best holiday flavor combos :)

    • Erin replies to Tracey
      November 16, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

      What?! From the can?! Nooooo. That can’t be! ;) But I’m happy you’ve tried the homemade kind!

  • Yasmin Scheiber says
    November 10, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

    I love cranberry, but I hardly find the fresh cranberry here in Stuttgart. Your recipe of cranberry sauce looks so good, can I use dried cranberry instate of fresh one? Thanks for your replay -:)

    • Erin replies to Yasmin Scheiber
      November 10, 2013 @ 9:10 pm

      Really? Kaiser’s, Kaufland, Edeka, and all the non-discounters have cranberries here! They usually have them in a strange place, though. Maybe you could ask at the supermarket? I don’t know about using them in this recipe but I found this one. Scroll about halfway down. You could use 1/4 cup (80 grams) honey instead of sugar, if you like. I hope that helps! :)

  • Anna@CrunchyCreamySweet
    November 10, 2013 @ 2:51 am

    I love love cranberries!! The addition of orange sounds fabulous!

  • Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen says
    November 9, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

    MMMM girl this sauce looks so good! I would serve this at my Thanksgiving table over traditional cranberry sauce!!

  • Becca - Cookie Jar Treats says
    November 9, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

    My mom is the only one in my family that eats cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. But I’m sure she would be so into this. The color is absolutely gorgeous. :)

  • Celeste @The Whole Serving says
    November 9, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

    I found your blog through RachelCooks and I love it, I’m inspired. I live in the Dallas area and just recently started a food blog, after reading others and becoming inspired to go for it. Love your food philosophy.

    • Erin replies to Celeste @The Whole Serving
      November 9, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

      Hi, Celeste! I checked out your blog (it’s great! Pretty tomato sauce.) and your G+ profile. I’m from the same city! :) Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi. So happy you found the site!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
    November 9, 2013 @ 6:15 am

    Beautiful cranberry sauce, I love that you used honey!

  • Suzanne
    November 9, 2013 @ 1:50 am

    Your photos of this sauce are beautiful and I love to make my own cranberry sauce I change it up a little each year too. I just may have to try honey this year.

    • Erin replies to Suzanne
      November 16, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

      Ooh, I like your style of changing it up every year! I’ll have to try that, too. :)

  • Danielle @ says
    November 8, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

    Yum! This cranberry sauce looks so good!

  • Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen says
    November 8, 2013 @ 10:46 pm

    Great recipe, Erin….and the planner in me seriously loves that you were doling our jobs in June! I was reading along thinking about much I love the simplicity of your recipe, then I got to the part about the spiced cranberry sauce and thought ‘oh wow, we both have spiced cranberry recipes’….except that it was totally a link to my blog :) Thanks so much!!

    • Erin replies to Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen
      November 16, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

      Haha. Funny! I love it when that happens. It’s only been once or twice but talk about exciting. :D And um. I’m usually the worst planner ever. It’s Saturday and I haven’t posted since Monday. Yup. That’s more typically me. ;)


Comments? I’d love to hear from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *


Comments are moderated. If you don’t see your comment immediately, don’t panic… it went through! Thank you so much for taking time to leave feedback!

Please help others by rating the recipe: