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Orange Cranberry Relish


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Making your own cranberry sauce is not only easy, but also incredibly rewarding. This homemade Orange Cranberry Relish recipe combines the tartness of fresh cranberries with the sweetness of oranges and zest from lemon, creating a relish that will tantalize your taste buds. Plus, it’s a fantastic alternative to store-bought, canned cranberry sauce.

One of the best things about this cranberry relish is its make-ahead convenience. Prepare it days before Thanksgiving and store it in the fridge. This time-saving tip ensures you have one less thing to worry about on the big day, allowing you to focus on enjoying the feast with your loved ones. Want a perfect guide to your Thanksgiving dinner? Check out my new e-book, also available paperback, “Mastering Thanksgiving – A Guide to Perfecting Your Thanksgiving Dinner.

A white bowl filled with homemade orange cranberry relish with pumpkins in the background.


Making your own cranberry sauce allows you to control the ingredients, ensuring a fresher, healthier and more flavorful option compared to canned versions. You can adjust the sweetness and texture to your liking, creating a relish that perfectly suits your palate.



  • Fresh Cranberries: Frozen cranberries (thawed) can be used as a substitute for fresh cranberries. Dried cranberries can be rehydrated by soaking them in hot water for a few minutes. Keep in mind that the texture and taste will be slightly different.
  • Sugar: Brown sugar can be used instead of white sugar for a slightly different flavor. Maple syrup, agave or honey can be used as natural sweeteners. Stevia or other artificial sweeteners for a low-calorie option.
  • Orange Juice: Store-bought orange juice can be used if fresh oranges are not available. Tangerine or mandarin juice can be used for a different citrusy twist.
  • Apple Juice: Pear juice or white grape juice can be substituted for apple juice.
  • Cinnamon Sticks: Ground cinnamon can be used as a substitute for cinnamon sticks. Use it sparingly, as ground cinnamon is more potent than sticks.


  1. In a pot, combine sugar, orange juice/water mix, apple juice, lemon peels, and orange peels. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has melted.
  2. Add rinsed, fresh cranberries, salt and cinnamon sticks. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until most of the cranberries have popped. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and citrus peels.
  3. For a smoother consistency, crush the cranberries slightly. If you prefer a chunkier relish, leave them as they are. The relish will thicken as it cools.
  4. Remove from heat and allow the relish to cool. Once cooled, garnish with lemon and orange zest. Chill before serving.


Serve the cranberry orange relish alongside roast turkey as a classic Thanksgiving pairing. The tartness of cranberries and the citrusy zing complement the rich, savory flavors of the turkey, adding a burst of freshness to every bite.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Orange Cranberry Sauce can last for up to a week, making it a great addition to post-Thanksgiving creations:

  • Turkey Sandwich: Spread cranberry sauce on sandwiches, especially those made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, for a burst of flavor.
  • Grilled Cheese: Add a layer of cranberry sauce to grilled cheese sandwiches for a sweet and savory twist.
  • Salad Dressing: Mix cranberry sauce with olive oil, vinegar, and seasonings to create a unique and tangy salad dressing.
  • Cheese Platter: Serve cranberry sauce alongside cheese and crackers for a delightful sweet contrast to the cheese’s richness.
  • Dessert Topping: Use cranberry sauce as a topping for desserts like cheesecake, ice cream, or yogurt.
  • Breakfast Spread: Spread cranberry sauce on toast, bagels, or English muffins for a flavorful breakfast treat.
  • Cranberry BBQ Sauce: Combine cranberry sauce with barbecue sauce for a tangy and fruity twist on traditional BBQ sauce, perfect for grilling or glazing meats.


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A white bowl filled with homemade orange cranberry relish with pumpkins in the background.

Orange Cranberry Relish


Making your own cranberry sauce is not only easy, but also incredibly rewarding. This homemade Orange Cranberry Relish recipe combines the tartness of fresh cranberries with the sweetness of oranges and zest of lemon, creating a relish that will tantalize your taste buds. Plus, it’s a fantastic alternative to store-bought canned cranberry sauce.



  • 24-ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • juice of two oranges plus enough water to make 1 cup
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 lemon peels 
  • 2 orange peels
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • orange and lemon zest for garnish


  1. Combine sugar, apple juice, orange juice/water, and citrus peels in a sauce pot.
  2. Heat to medium and allow the sugar to melt.
  3. Add in the cranberries, salt and cinnamon sticks. 
  4. Cook, stirring often, until most of the cranberries have popped (about 10 minutes).
  5. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and citrus peels.
  6. For a smoother texture, mash the cranberries with a masher, or back of a spoon.
  7. The cranberry relish will continue to thicken upon cooling.
  8. Garnish with fresh citrus zest. Chill in the fridge before serving.
  9. ENJOY!


  • Opt for fresh ingredients, if possible.
  • Rinse the cranberries and toss any that do not appear fresh.
  • Adjust the sweetness to your preference.
  • Easily substitute the granulated sugar with brown sugar, maple syrup, agave or honey. 
  • For a lower-calorie version of this Orange Cranberry Relish, use Stevia or other artificial sweeteners.
  • Try not to overcook as the cranberries may become too bitter. 
  • Stir often to ensure the sugar and sweetness released from the cranberries does not burn.
  • Feel free to add additional spices; nutmeg, allspice, clove or even ground ginger will add another depth of flavor.
  • Add fresh herbs (rosemary or thyme).
  • For a smoother texture, use a masher or the back of a spoon to crush the cranberries into your desired consistency.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side dish, Condiment
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: American

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WELCOME! My name is Melissa Latin aka. Charlotte Fashion Plate. Happy to meet you! I am more than just recipes. I love fashion and style too! Most importantly, I love my Family (my Hubby and my Fur Babies). My Husband (aka my “Kitchen Bitch”) means the world to me. He’s pretty damn cool too. Not only is he one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, he also has had a lengthy career in professional hockey. Not only winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early ’90’s, but most recently winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers, amongst many other accolades. If you live in Charlotte and play hockey, or have a family member who plays, be sure to contact him!

Our life has changed dramatically in the past few years with the passing of our two goldendoodles, Vegas and Viva. We were lucky enough to have Vegas for five years (totally wish it was longer). Most recently, losing our Viva to a brain tumor in July of 2020. We welcomed our mini goldendoodle 7, almost seven years ago. We just added the amazing Hazel! Of course, I am always posting tons and tons of photos! Be sure to check out my recipe for Pet Bone Broth! This broth is super rich in nutrients and will provide your pet with a multitude of health benefits!

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