Orange Cranberry Sauce

Post from 11/13/12, Pictures updated 11/8/16

When I was younger, I wasn’t a huge fan of the cranberry side at Thanksgiving.

My mom loved the classic canned jellied cranberry sauce. She loved the ridges on it and how it would pop out of the can. I love that this is a staple on our table for her. I just didn’t really love the texture of it. Plus, cranberries were so tart to me back then.

I think things all changed when I was working in the South End of Boston by a place called Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe.  You see, Charlie’s would sell oatmeal with a cranberry compote that I would get if I as a treat for suffering through retail on the weekends. I loved the warm oatmeal in the winter and the compote really added a lot of flavor to an otherwise pretty plan breakfast.

And then I met this amazing guy who just loved homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. So now when we’ve gone back to my mom’s to celebrate Thanksgiving there have been 2 kinds of cranberry sauce on the table. It’s great to have cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving but really I believe you can have it at any point in the fall. It works hot with oatmeal or cold with yogurt if you can’t get enough of it and want to enjoy it for breakfast as well.

No matter if you call this a sauce, chutney, salsa, compote, or a relish, you will call this a new family favorite. I love the orange and cranberry combination so much. It helps highlight the natural flavors of the cranberry while adding some sweetness at the same time. I often throw a vanilla bean that I’ve been using in my homemade vanilla extract to add a bit more flavor. I just give it an extra scrape and throw it into the pot. You can add a bit of vanilla extract instead or even substitute the sugar for vanilla sugar, or skip it all together. If you feel you might light a scrape of nutmeg or to throw a star anise in there then give it a try as this is all about finding the right flavors so this will be a family favorite.

Orange Cranberry Sauce


  • 2- 12oz bags of fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • zest from 1 orange
  • vanilla bean, optional


  1. Rinse the cranberries and pick through to remove bruised berries and to remove any stray stems on the berries.
  2. Mix and combine all of the ingredients in a medium size pot and cook on medium low until you have a slow simmer. The berries will be popping during this process, stir often. Turn down to low to allow the sauce to continue cooking until the desired amount of berries have opened up.
  3. Can be served warm or cold. Store in an air tight container.

3 thoughts on “Orange Cranberry Sauce

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