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Cranberry Orange Sauce With Cinnamon

A yellow glass bowl filled with chunky cranberryorange sauce.
Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski
  • Active Time

    10 minutes

  • Total Time

    25 minutes

Cranberries divide Thanksgiving dinner guests into two camps: Those who prefer chunky compote and those who like a jiggly, jello-like condiment with their holiday meal (store-bought or otherwise). This cranberry-orange sauce recipe is for the first group. Bright citrus and warming cinnamon are the complements cranberries look for this time of the year, and navel oranges conveniently come into season just in time for the holiday. (If you prefer cranberry relish or a cranberry sauce recipe with a bit of orange zest that’s so simple it doesn’t even require a recipe, we also have you covered).

This easy recipe is minimal, but specific. To extract the best orange flavor, don’t skip blanching the citrus in boiling water, which removes bitterness from the orange peel and pith. Once you’ve added the fresh cranberries (though frozen cranberries also work), don’t stray far from the stovetop. Along with the granulated sugar, they scorch easily and thicken quickly because they contain a lot of natural pectin, a key ingredient in jam-making. Start at high heat until you reach a boil, then lower it to medium heat to prevent the sauce from burning.

This fresh cranberry sauce can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, leaving more prep time for other staples of your Thanksgiving table like roast turkey, and side dishes like sweet potatoes, green beans, and mashed potatoes. While you won’t need to reheat it, do let it come to room temperature before serving. Use leftover orange cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches, breakfast steel-cut oats, or whatever else could use a zhuzh of yummy, sweet-and-tangy cranberries.


Makes about 2½ cups


medium navel orange, seeds removed, chopped


lb. fresh (or frozen) cranberries


cup sugar


Tbsp. unsalted butter


3"-long cinnamon stick


tsp. ground allspice

Pinch of kosher salt


  1. Step 1

    Place orange in a large saucepan and pour in cold water to come 1" up sides of pan. Bring to a boil, then remove immediately from heat and drain orange in a mesh sieve or colander. Rinse under cold water; return to saucepan. Add cranberries, sugar, butter, cinnamon, allspice, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

    Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

    Step 2

    Cook, stirring often and reducing heat as needed to avoid scorching, until cranberries burst, juices are syrupy, and pan is visible when a wooden spoon is dragged across the bottom, 12–15 minutes. Let cool.

    Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

    Editor's note: Head this way for more of our best Thanksgiving recipes

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  • Love the texture-the oranges are not bitter but provide a little chew. I would cut them smaller next time; I cut them in 1/2 inch pieces. So much sugar but it didn't taste too sweet for me.

    • Spam

    • Grafton, WI

    • 11/21/2022

  • It is a fantastic recipe, our favorite for cranberry sauce. I've done it already for four Thanksgiving meals, and next week it will be the fifth time!

    • OanaE

    • Decatur, IL

    • 11/18/2022

  • I don't understand all the fuss over cranberry sauce. I love it, btw. But a bag of frozen cranberries needs 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar (or less, if you like things tart). While heating all this add throw in 1 quarter orange squeezing each quarter for the extra juice, 1 apple cored and cut into small pieces (don't need to peel. I use a good Maine Mac as it's ok if this apple goes soft), regular and golden raisins (you choose how much), cinnamon to taste, a pinch of nutmeg and Allspice. Allow to simmer. I like my sauce junky so I don't boil it too long. No need to strain water. As it all cools add chopped walnuts. Perfection!!

    • Anonymous

    • Maine

    • 11/9/2022

  • It's difficult to imagine a serious food mag publishing a recipe so vague as "fill a large sauce pan 1 inch" That's not a measurement, and then you've photographed the ingredients in a tiny butter warmer. Discard the water? Keep the water? Don't bother with instructions there, either.

    • C Greene

    • Pickens, SC

    • 11/9/2022

  • This is the BEST cranberry sauce! I’ve made it three times now and it’s always a hit. However, you could add slightly less sugar or add a little orange juice if you prefer a more tart cranberry sauce.

    • Catherine

    • San Francisco

    • 11/25/2021

  • So, this is my first time making homemade cranberry sauce. I had NO idea you had to keep the peel on the orange? I wish the directions were a little more specific. Anyway, I made it without the peel and I kind of think its better? So many of the reviewers complained that the oranges didn't break down very well and were awkward to eat so I'm not experiencing that problem. I added some zest from the peel right at the end and let that cook for like, a minute and it really brightened and livened up the flavor. So, happy accident? Sure.

    • Adrianna

    • Rhode Island

    • 11/22/2021

  • I’ve never preboiled the orange - I just chop it up and add to the cranberries and sugar in the pot. Substitute cardamom for the cinnamon - you won’t be sorry.

    • Carswell

    • Canada

    • 11/7/2021

  • Our family favorite! Love that it can be made 1 week ahead.

    • Anonymous

    • California

    • 10/24/2021

  • It was very delicious!

    • Kevin

    • San Diego, California

    • 11/27/2020

  • I am making this recipe for the past 10 years, I found it in an old Bon Apetit magazine. It is simply the best!

    • Anonymous

    • 11/17/2020

  • This recipe should be more specific about the size of orange pieces. I did "chop" size pieces and they did not break down. Had to remove them and run through an emersion blender before adding back in.

    • Anonymous

    • 10/10/2020

  • This was so simple and it has so much flavor! I used really ripe local oranges for mine and I didn’t get any bitterness from the rinds after boiling. I added about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt instead of a pinch. I chose this recipe over the 2019 cranberry sauce, because I didn’t want to deal with a food meal and bunt pan and I am so glad I did!!

    • Tarathenotsoprofeasionalchef

    • Maui Hi

    • 11/28/2019

  • There is one CUP of sugar in this, how are other reviewers even possibly calling this bitter??? I made this for Thanksgiving 2018, it was delicious and I'll definitely make it again. If you have elderly family, I'd definitely recommend chopping up the orange into tiny pieces/removing as much of the flesh from the tougher parts as you can. Some of the orange pieces just don't break down and are harder to chew.

    • Thomas_

    • 1/30/2019

  • Orange can cause bitterness just cut it with salt a little bit at a’ll smooth out

    • Jus765

    • 12/24/2018

  • Well, boiling the orange did not remove the bitterness at all. I think if there is a next time I will just use Mandarin orange slices. The bitterness must have squashed to sweetness, so I did some doctoring up with just a little more sugar, a bit of vanilla extract.

    • Anonymous

    • Florida

    • 11/22/2018