Easy Orange Cranberry Sauce (naturally sweetened!)

By Amanda Paa – Updated November 3, 2023
Infused with orange juice and maple syrup, this naturally sweetened cranberry sauce is the perfect Thanksgiving addition! Cooked on the stovetop and can be made 3 or 4 days ahead of time.
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Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving

There are a million cranberry sauce recipes on the internet. Literally.

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But I’m going to put one more out there because maybe like you, I was under the impression that all cranberry sauces were cloyingly sweet, over-spiced, and one of those “I know nobody likes it, but we have to have it on the table” type of thing.

What Makes This Homemade Cranberry Sauce So Great:

With lots of beige food on the Thanksgiving table, the burst of sweet-tart flavor and ruby red color is very welcome! So I worked on a recipe with orange juice that would appease both types of guests — those who long for something very traditional, and those who like a bit of pucker.

Classic cranberry sauce usually comes together with a combination of water and sugar, so for this naturally sweetened version, I used orange juice as the liquid, and a small amount of maple syrup to play into the warm spice of cinnamon.

A few dried cherries plump up while simmering, adding another layer of dimension, and texture, which I particularly love. And the fresh orange zest is essential for perking up the fragrance and flavor.

It’s sweet enough without any added sugar, and the true essence of cranberries shines. Better yet, it tastes even better day after it’s made, so you can prep it ahead and have one less thing to worry about while trying to baste the turkey and knead the bread.

Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving
Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving

Ingredients for Orange Cranberry Sauce:

  • fresh cranberries
  • dried tart cherries
  • orange juice and zest
  • maple syrup
  • cinnamon
Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving
Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving

More Cranberry Recipes:

Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving

Easy Orange Cranberry Sauce (naturally sweetened!)

Infused with orange juice and maple syrup, this naturally sweetened cranberry relish is the perfect Thanksgiving addition! Cooked on the stovetop.
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Prep Time :5 minutes
Cook Time :20 minutes
Total Time :35 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions 

  • Add all ingredients, except vanilla, to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to medium. Simmer lightly for 10 minutes, and remove 1/3 cup of the still whole cranberries.
  • Simmer 10 more minutes, until thickened, stirring frequently.  
  • Stir in the cranberries you set aside, and the vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Can be made up to 3 days in advance of serving. 

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November 17, 2017

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1 comment

  1. Sherrie

    The internet definitely needed this cranberry sauce added to its collection. The color and thoughtfulness of flavors and simplicity is beautiful. xx