This cranberry relish has always been one of my favorite fresh cranberry recipes! It’s the perfect dish to serve with your Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas dinner.
Cranberry Orange Relish
I love this cranberry relish because it has the perfect balance of tart, sweet, and citrus flavors. This easy old fashioned recipe is so good that I can literally eat it by the spoonful!
It’s super quick and easy to make because you just toss all the ingredients in the food processor and let it do all the work. It’s a beautiful fresh alternative to cooked cranberry sauce.
I especially love the way the orange peels soften and absorb the flavors from the apple, cinnamon, and sugar. That orange zest flavor really adds so much to this relish.
It’s fantastic on your Thanksgiving turkey, but I also love having it with Christmas dinner on our holiday ham. If you like orange juice in your cranberry sauce, I’m sure you’ll absolutely love the combination of flavors in this quick and easy dish. It’s sweet, tart, and refreshing!
Cranberries: It’s important to use fresh cranberries in this recipe. Cranberries that were previously frozen and then thawed will have a mushy texture that won’t work well. Be sure to pull out any cranberries that are soft, wrinkled, have blemishes, or look off in any way.
Orange: I recommend using a Navel Orange. They’re sweeter than other varieties, and were developed in a way that makes them seedless. Not having to worry about seeds in the orange makes this recipe much easier.
Apple: I prefer to use Granny Smith apples because they hold their shape really well in the relish. They’re crisp and add to the balance of sweet and tart in this recipe.
Sugar: I prefer using regular white granulated sugar, but you could do a mixture of light brown sugar and granulated sugar if you like the molasses flavor.
Cinnamon: I love adding ground cinnamon because it’s a warming flavor that pairs perfectly with Thanksgiving. If you want to leave it out though, feel free!
Nuts (Optional): I prefer this relish without nuts in it, but some people love the addition of chopped walnuts or pecans. If you love the addition of that crunchy texture, feel free to add it!
How To Make Cranberry Relish
Wash and prep all your fresh ingredients. Make sure to throw away any cranberries that are soft, wrinkled, or look off in any way. Add the cranberries to a food processor and pulse until they’re finely chopped. Transfer the cranberries to a mixing bowl. (See the recipe card below for the full written instructions.)
Add the orange chunks to the food processor and pulse until they’re finely chopped. Transfer the diced orange to the mixing bowl.
Add the apple chunks to the food processor and pulse until they’re finely chopped. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor as you go because the apple likes to stick. Transfer the diced apple to the mixing bowl.
To the mixing bowl, add the sugar and ground cinnamon.
Mix everything together, then cover the bowl and let it rest in the refrigerator.Once the flavors have finished mingling in the fridge, serve it as a side dish. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts and helpful tips, etc.
What Is The Difference Between Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Relish?
The main difference is that cranberry sauce is cooked, while cranberry relish is made with raw ingredients that are pulsed in a food processor until the ingredients are finely chopped.
Cranberry sauce is naturally thickened when the pectin in the cranberries are heated, and it’s normally quite a bit sweeter than cranberry relish. Cranberry relish is more tart and fresh, and it hasn’t thickened from the pectin.
What Do You Eat Cranberry Relish With?
The most popular way to enjoy cranberry relish is as a sauce for your Thanksgiving turkey or your Christmas ham. I also love having some on my mashed potatoes or on a homemade dinner roll.
If you want to have it as an appetizer, I recommend serving it on top of cream cheese or on top of baked brie. It’s especially good with a side of crackers or toasted baguette slices. Either cheese pairing makes a delicious appetizer that has the perfect balance of fresh and savory.
How Far Ahead Can You Make Cranberry Relish?
Cranberry relish should last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. I prefer to make it 1-3 days in advance of Thanksgiving or Christmas though, that’s when I think it tastes the best.
Can You Freeze Cranberry Orange Relish?
You can freeze it, but the texture will be different once it thaws. I’ve found that when I freeze cranberries and thaw them they have a noticeably softer texture. I really prefer this recipe with fresh cranberries and I tend not to freeze the leftovers.
What To Do With Leftover Cranberry Relish
I love to add the leftovers to my breakfast! It tastes great on top of a bowl of yogurt, a bowl of oatmeal, or on a stack of pancakes. It’s also delicious on Thanksgiving sandwiches with slices of leftover turkey.
Keep In Touch
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- 12 ounces fresh cranberries (washed, with any soft or bad cranberries removed)
- 1 small navel orange (washed and unpeeled, cut into 1 inch chunks; about 1 heaping cup)
- 1 granny smith apple (washed, unpeeled, cored, and cut into quarters)
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional, see notes)*
- Add the cranberries to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (you don't want large chunks, but you don’t want the texture to be too smooth either - I hit the pulse button about 20 times to get the right texture). Transfer the chopped cranberries to a medium mixing bowl.
- Add the orange chunks to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped (I hit the pulse button about 20-30 times - the texture will be quite mushy, but it will have small chunks of the orange peel). Add the chopped orange to the mixing bowl.
- Add the apple quarters to the food processor and pulse to finely chop (I hit the pulse button about 20-30 times - you may need to scrape the sides down halfway through since they stick to the side). Add the chopped apple to the mixing bowl.
- Once all of your fruit is in the mixing bowl, add the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Stir to mix everything together. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. You can make this in advance and refrigerate it for anywhere from 1 hour to 3 days.
*Feel free to omit the ground cinnamon if you prefer fresher flavors over warmer flavors. I love the addition of cinnamon here, but it’s totally optional. If you really love the flavor of ground cinnamon, you can add up to a total of 1 teaspoon.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 234Total Fat: 0.5gCarbohydrates: 61.6gFiber: 3.1gSugar: 56.2gProtein: 0.2g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Try making my Grandma’s old fashioned orange cranberry relish! Everyone loves this cranberry orange apple relish.