This quick orange cranberry sauce is sweet, tart, and tangy all in one. Ditch the can and make your own sauce from scratch in less than 30 minutes.
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Here in the US the countdown to Thanksgiving is quickly winding down. While I should be in my kitchen getting ready, I had to share my recipe for quick orange cranberry sauce. It’s sweet, and tart, with just the right amount of tangy goodness.
With just 4 ingredients it comes together in less than 30 minutes. In order to properly set, it should be chilled a minimum of 2 hours prior to serving. It will stay fresh in the fridge for a few weeks, so you can also make it in advance.
This sauce is so incredibly simple, it will make you wonder why you have been eating jellied cranberry sauce from a can all these years.
For this recipe you are going to need a one cup liquid measuring cup, a tablespoon measuring spoon, a 2-quart sauce pan, a large spoon or spatula for stirring, and a lidded container for storage. This recipe as written makes 3 cups, but can be sized up or down based on your number of guests. While my Thanksgiving guest list is only 4 people this year, I know I’ll use the leftovers as jam all season long.
Start by dumping the cranberries, maple syrup, orange juice, and lime juice into your pan. Yep, all four ingredients go in at once. Put the pan on a medium high flame and give it a chance to come to a boil. If you hear cranberries popping, don’t be alarmed – that is what they are supposed to do.
I like to use fresh cranberries for this recipe, but frozen will work as well. If you opt for frozen, allow them to thaw for about 20 minutes at room temperature prior to use.
If you don’t have real maple syrup on hand, any liquid sweetener (like honey, agave, stevia, etc.) will do. The flavor of the finished product will be slightly different, but you probably won’t notice, unless you’ve first tasted it made with maple syrup.
In my kitchen I like to use fresh orange juice and fresh lime juice, but I also have these fruits super accessible, as they are growing in my backyard. If you don’t have fresh, using the stuff out of a bottle will work just fine. If you are going to juice the oranges fresh, I highly recommend using clementines (the little oranges that are easy to peel) over the larger naval oranges. It took me 6 1/2 clementines and 1/2 of a lime to get the right amount of juice, but this will vary based on the ripeness of your fruit.
Once the sauce comes to a boil, as you can see in the picture above, drop the heat to a low-to-medium low setting and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. If the the bubbles stop all together, the heat is too low. Stir the sauce occasionally, using the back of the spoon to help gently break up the cranberries as they soften.
The 20 minutes time frame is just long enough to release the naturally occurring pectin in the berries, and turn it into a beautiful, soft, chunky sauce. If you are looking for something that gels up to the consistency of the stuff from the can, reduce the time to 15 minutes and chill it for 6 – 8 hours prior to serving. The recommend 20 minutes results in a sauce that is more spreadable.
As the berries break up and the sauce cooks down, the ruby red color will become more uniform and the the mixture will noticeably thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool 30 minutes. Carefully pour the still warm mixture into your lidded storage container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
This sauce pairs perfectly with your turkey dinner, but I also like it on hot buttered crumpets or on a leftover turkey sandwich. The way you enjoy your quick orange cranberry sauce is up to you!
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