Orange Cranberry Sauce

4.82 from 27 votes
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Orange cranberry sauce recipe with cinnamon and honey! Sweet and tangy flavors that you must have on your holiday menu.

Orange cranberry sauce recipe with cinnamon and honey! Sweet and tangy flavors that you must have on your holiday menu.

Put away those can openers because you’re making homemade orange cranberry sauce from scratch this year! Why? Because this recipe is incredibly quick (less than 30 minutes) and tastes a thousand times better than the can version.

Cranberry sauce in a can is just an afterthought to the Thanksgiving feast, where everything is made with so much love and attention. Why not give these ruby red berries a little TLC by cooking them in a sweet citrus syrup, creating a delicious and fresh sauce in a matter of minutes!

Stove top pan cooking cranberries, orange shavings with a cinnamon stick

I started making homemade cranberry sauce over a decade ago (wow I’m starting to sound old, haha). Before then I always thought it would be something difficult to tackle. That is until my stepmom Lynne convinced me how easy it was and boy was she right!

Fresh cranberries are rarely eaten raw, and for good reason, it may look shiny, bright red, and enticing on the outside, but it sure is mouth-puckering sour. To sweeten up the sauce flavor, I use fresh orange juice, honey, and a whole cinnamon stick.

Using my 2-quart saucepan, I simmer the berries down in a sweet citrus syrup until you can hear all of the berries “pop.” In less than 30 minutes, you have a beautiful naturally sweetened orange cranberry sauce.

Spoon picking up a scoop of homemade orange cranberry sauce from a pan

Are your days leading up to turkey day slammed? The best part of this recipe is that you can make this orange cranberry sauce up to a week before the big feast. The beautiful cranberry and citrus flavors get even better over time and are ready to top in heaping spoonfuls on your turkey when the big day comes.

Photo looking down on a clear jar of homemade cranberry-orange sauce

Fast, delicious, and easy, music to a busy host’s ears! If you are looking for more holiday side dish ideas, try my super quick and healthy citrus green beans with almonds, cranberry almond quinoa, or a little more indulgent foolproof mashed potatoes. Happy Holidays!

Recipe Science

How does cranberry sauce naturally thicken?

When making fresh cranberry sauce from scratch, magic happens when you combine sugar, water, acid, and pectin (naturally found in the cell walls of cranberries) and cook those ingredients together. As the cranberries open from the high cooking temperature, the pectin inside the skin is exposed. The pectin molecules separate from the fruit cells and reconfigure to form a stiff network of complex carbohydrates. What you get is a fruity jelly that makes for one delicious jammy pot of cranberry sauce! (Source: Cranberry Sauce)

Orange Cranberry Sauce

Orange cranberry sauce recipe with cinnamon and honey! Sweet and tangy flavors that you must have on your holiday menu.
4.82 from 27 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American


  • 12 ounces cranberries, washed
  • ½ cup honey, or maple syrup
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, freshly grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  • In a medium-sized pan add cranberries, honey, orange juice, zest, and cinnamon stick.
  • Bring sauce to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture has slightly thickened.
  • Make sure to stir occasionally, about every 5 minutes. Taste sauce and add more honey if desired.
  • Discard cinnamon stick and cool sauce.



  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
  • Sauce can be stored in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 7 days.
  • MAKE IT VEGAN: Substitute maple syrup for honey.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 16 servings
Calories 40kcal (2%)Carbohydrates 10g (3%)Protein 0.1gSodium 0.5mgPotassium 19mg (1%)Fiber 0.4g (2%)Sugar 9g (10%)Vitamin C 4.1mg (5%)Calcium 10mg (1%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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10 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Tara- Typically a little more sweetness like sugar, honey or maple syrup can help balance out the bitterness.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Cyndy- You can use them 1:1. Granulated sugar gives a stronger upfront sugar taste, and honey has a little more of a caramel flavor.

  1. Thalia @ butter and brioche says

    I’ve never made my own cranberry sauce before, thanks for the great idea and delicious recipe – definitely something I will be trying!