(Last Updated On: December 8, 2023)
This easy cranberry sauce recipe with orange juice is super quick to make with simple steps to follow, and the taste is amazing. There are no preservatives or ingredients you can’t pronounce like the canned stuff because it’s homemade.
Cranberry sauce can be served year round, but it is especially popular during Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner. Fresh cranberry sauce looks amazing on the holiday table alongside the roast turkey breast, dressing, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and green bean casserole.
🥄 Key Ingredients
- 4 cups frozen cranberries
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice – fresh orange juice (squeezed) or store bought
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Orange zest – from one orange peel to add a little extra flavor – optional
🍽️ How to Make Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice (Step-by-Step Instructions with Detailed Photos)
Step 1. Rinse the Frozen Cranberries
We used frozen whole cranberries for this recipe. Take them out of the freezer and put them in a colander in the sink. Rinse the cranberries under cold running water, then let them drain in the colander for a few minutes.
Step 2. Put the Cranberries in a Pot
After the rinsed cranberries have drained for a few minutes in the colander, transfer them from the colander to a medium saucepan.
Step 3. Add Other Ingredients to the Cranberries
Add 1 cup of light brown sugar, 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract together with the whole cranberries in the saucepan.
Note: We used store bought orange juice, but you can use fresh oranges to squeeze your own orange juice. Add orange zest (optional) at this time if you prefer. Also, the amount of sugar can be adjusted in this recipe according to your tastes. Use less sugar if you like tart cranberry sauce, and add a little more sugar if you like it on the sweeter side.
Step 4. Combine the Cranberry Mixture Well
Mix the light brown sugar, orange juice, water, ground cinnamon, and vanilla extract together with the cranberries until blended well.
Step 5. Bring the Cranberry Mixture to a Boil
Put the saucepan on the stove, then turn the burner on medium-high heat. The cranberry mixture will begin to boil. Stir the cranberry mixture occasionally.
Step 6. Simmer the Cranberry Mixture
After the cranberry mixture begins to boil, turn the burner down to medium heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the cranberries burst open, and the ingredients begins to thicken.
Step 7. Remove from Heat and let Cool
After the cranberry mixture has simmered for 15 minutes, remove it from the stove and let it cool at room temperature for a few minutes. As the cranberry sauce cools, it will thicken up.
Step 8. Refrigerate before Serving
Pour this classic cranberry sauce in your favorite serving dish and put it in the refrigerator to chill before serving. It will thicken up even more as it chills in the refrigerator.
🌟 Recipe Variations
- Use fresh cranberries instead of frozen cranberries.
- Fresh orange juice can be used in this recipe instead of buying orange juice in the grocery stores.
- You can use one cup of white sugar (granulated sugar) instead of brown sugar if you prefer.
- Adjust the recipe with a little more sugar if you want it to be sweeter.
- Jazz up the cranberry sauce with a couple squirts of lemon juice.
Put any leftover cranberry sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Do not leave any leftover sauce sit out on the countertop.
Yes, you can freeze cranberry sauce. It should last about three or four months in the freezer. When ready to use, you can put it in the refrigerator the night before so is can thaw.
✏️ Final Thoughts
I love whole berry cranberry sauce the next day with leftover turkey sandwiches, but especially at our Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meal with slices of turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes.
Whether you are a fan of cranberry sauce year round as me, or you serve it only during the holiday season at the Thanksgiving table, this easy homemade cranberry sauce, with its simple ingredients and tart flavor, is sure to please all the cranberry lovers out there.
📑 Recipe Card
Easy Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice
- Put the frozen cranberries in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Let the excess water drain off.
- Put the rinsed cranberries in a medium saucepan.
- Add all the other ingredients to the saucepan with the cranberries. Mix well.
- Bring the cranberry mixture to a boil on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally.
- Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes until the cranberries burst open. The ingredients will begin to thicken.
- Remove the cranberries from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Transfer the cranberry sauce to a serving dish and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours until ready to serve. The cranberry sauce will thicken even more while it is in the refrigerator.
💑 More Thanksgiving Recipes You Will Love
- Make roasted turkey breast and legs instead of a whole turkey. Both white and dark meat and less waste.
- Impress your family and guests with this amazing but easy-to-make pumpkin cheesecake dessert. It melts in your mouth with homemade whipped cream and rich pumpkin and spice flavors. It’s absolutely the best pumpkin cheesecake ever!
- This canned sweet potato casserole is so delicious. The recipe is made without nuts.
- Don’t forget about the fruit salad with cool whip with plenty of fruit in every bite. This recipe is easy to make and so delicious!
A wife, a mother to a son and a daughter, and a grandmother to three granddaughters. Flo loves sharing recipes passed down from her own mother, her mother-in-law, and her grandmother as well as new recipes created with her daughter, Tamara Ray.
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