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orange cranberry sauce in a bowl

15-Minute Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce (naturally sweetened!)

Healthy orange cranberry sauce made with fresh orange juice, naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup or honey, and bursting with cranberries. Delicious, tangy and a MUST at your Thanksgiving table!

Course Holiday, Sauce, Side Dish
Keyword cranberry sauce, healthy cranberry sauce, homemade orange cranberry sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 137 kcal
Author Monique of AmbitiousKitchen.com


  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey, bourbon, brandy or scotch (optional)
  • zest from 1 orange


  1. Add cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, vanilla extract and bourbon in a small pot and place over medium high heat.

  2. Once mixture begins to boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce becomes nice and thick, coating the back of a spoon. You may notice a popping sound; this is the cranberries bursting so don't worry.

  3. After 10 minutes I recommend removing the lid and allowing cranberries to simmer a few minutes to thicken the sauce up. If you are using frozen cranberries, this may take a bit longer.

  4. Once the sauce is thick, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then garnish with orange zest. Serves 6 (about 1/4 cup each). Feel free to double the recipe!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

If you use frozen cranberries, you may need to remove the lid in the last 5 minutes of cooking to give the sauce time to really thicken up.

How to make cranberry sauce ahead of time: Simply cook as instructed in the recipe, then allow to cool completely, place in an airtight container and serve when ready. I prefer to serve my cranberry sauce but you can also feel free to heat it up over low heat in a small pot on the stove. This orange cranberry sauce recipe can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Nutrition Facts
15-Minute Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce (naturally sweetened!)
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 137
% Daily Value*
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 2.8g12%
Sugar 24.2g27%
Protein 0.3g1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.