Side Dishes

Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce

November 25, 2019
finished homemade cranberry orange sauce

I had never really enjoyed having cranberry sauce as a side for the holidays. If my family ever did serve cranberry sauce, they would serve the jellied sauce in a can. That stuff isn’t bad, but it is a bit boring if served straight from the can. It wasn’t until I saw the Friends Thanksgiving episode “The One With the Late Thanksgiving”, where Chandler gets really excited to make cranberry sauce, that I realized I might be able to make cranberry sauce at home.

My first time making cranberry sauce did not go well. I burnt it. There is this whole long story about how that happened, but basically, it was put into the oven to warm up, but left in too long. Aaaanyways….I needed to redeem myself this time around, and boy did I redeem myself with this Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce.

Even though I had burnt my cranberry sauce, I can promise it is very easy to make. You will need fresh cranberries, orange juice, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and water. You can find fresh cranberries at this time of year in the produce aisle of your grocery store, and the other ingredients can be found year-round.

This cranberry sauce is tart, but the sugar and vanilla provide a depth of flavor that works so well to balance the tartness of the cranberries and orange juice. What I love about cooking from home is you can always adjust the recipe to be more sweet or tart according to your tastes. Though I don’t think you will need to do that with this recipe because it is super tasty just the way it is.

Let me show you how easy it is to make this Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce

Step 1: Sugar mixture

First, get yourself a medium sized sauce pan. If you get one that is too small you may not have room to add your cranberries. Add the sugar, orange juice, and water. Let the sugar mixture heat up over medium heat, and stir until the sugar is melted.

Step 2: Burst the cranberries

Once the sugar has melted add the fresh cranberries to the mixture and stir until the cranberries begin to burst open. This will take just a few moments before the first cranberries start to break.

homemade cranberry orange sauce cooking

Step 3: Finish up your homemade cranberry orange sauce!

After the cranberries begin to burst add the lemon zest, ground cinnamon, and vanilla extract and mix together well. Continue to cook for 10-15 more minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.


See? Wasn’t that super easy? Now you can bring something awesome Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce to share this year for your holiday dinner, and you will impress them with your awesome cooking skills. Oh yeah!

finished homemade cranberry orange sauce with orange zest

Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce

  • Author: Lynnette
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: 2.5 cups 1x


Just a few simple ingredients make up this delicious Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce. Tart cranberries and vanilla blend perfectly with orange and spices.



  • 1 12oz package fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice ~ 1 large orange
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar


  1. Melt sugar in orange juice and water
  2. Add cranberries to sugar mixture
  3. Stir cranberries until they begin to burst
  4. Add orange zest, cinnamon, and vanilla extract
  5. Stir 10-15 minutes until thickened
  6. Set aside to cool



This can be made  1-2 days ahead of time if stored in the refrigerator. You can add 1 tbsp of additional sugar to sauce as it cooks if you want to add sweetness to your sauce.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

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