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Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish

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Cranberry sauce has long been a Thanksgiving staple, and this Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish maintains tradition while adding more flavor and tastiness to the much-beloved turkey dinner condiment! 


Main image of Cranberry Orange Relish


Fruit and meat pairings might seem strange, but don’t underestimate the way a bit of sweet acidity can elevate your favorite meat dish!

Cranberries have been used for sauces dating back to the 1600’s and have been served with Thanksgiving dinners for — quite literally — centuries. 

This cranberry orange relish recipe is bright and citrusy, with the perfect combination of tart and sweet to compliment your turkey or any other meat.

Whether you’re looking for a non-cook cranberry recipe or a new twist on an old favorite, this quick and easy 3 ingredient cranberry orange relish is the one for you. 

With only three ingredients, minimal prep time, and the option to make ahead, this is the PERFECT recipe for a busy holiday hosts!


Fresh cut orange slices


What is Cranberry Orange Relish?

The difference between cranberry orange sauce and relish is pretty simple — cranberry sauce is cooked and has a jelly-like texture while relish is raw and uncooked.

A cranberry relish is typically fresh ingredients tossed into a food processor and ground up.

A relish usually sits for an hour or more in the fridge to let the flavors meld naturally.

A traditional cranberry sauce is a combination of ingredients that are cooked down to a sauce or jelly consistency. 

Sauce is generally not as chunky as a relish and the flavors become more blended together as it cooks.

Both cranberry relish and cranberry sauce are served cold, used as a condiment to meats and sides, and can be made a few days in advance. 

The main differences between the two are the preparation/cooking methods and consistency.

If you are looking for more of a sauce, I recommend this Cranberry Raspberry Sauce or this Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe.  

Both have been featured at our Thanksgiving table and are delicious!

This cranberry and orange relish is super easy to make, has a more fresh texture, and still has all the wonderful cranberry flavor we all love!

And honestly, either the cranberry sauce or the cranberry relish are delicious recipes to add to your holiday menu.


orange slices placed in a food processor.


What Is In Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish?

This cranberry-orange relish recipe is incredibly quick and easy to make! 

It only has three ingredients (making it perfect for the holiday season) — and I bet you can guess at least two of them:

  • Cranberries – Ocean Spray cranberries are the most well known brand, and make for a great ocean spray cranberry orange relish. But any brand of fresh cranberries works great!
  • Orange – you’ll be utilizing all of the orange for this recipe, including the rind!
  • Sugar – cranberries are naturally quite tart, so a bit of sugar helps balance that. In addition to giving the relish great flavor, it also aids the texture!

Pro Tips:

  • Yes you can use the whole cranberries in this great recipe.
  • You can use less sugar to taste if desired.


fresh cranberries added to oranges in food processor


Do You Use The Rind of Oranges in Blender Cranberry Orange Relish?

As mentioned above, you will be using the rind of the orange when you make this easy recipe.

The orange rind actually has the most flavor and while you wouldn’t necessarily want to dig into a bowl of rinds, the fresh orange zest adds fantastic depth of flavor to the dish.

It gives you fresh flavor that pairs really well with the rest of your Thanksgiving meal.

Plus it’s full of Vitamin C! And we all know that any side dishes that are healthy recipes are a plus!


Oranges and cranberries blended up in a food processor


How to Make Cranberry Orange Relish?

It really doesn’t get much easier in terms of preparation than this thee ingredient cranberry orange relish. 

You can have fresh cranberry relish ready in a matter of minutes, with no cooking involved!

  1. Remove orange seeds if any.
  2. Blend cranberries and orange slices in a blender or food processor.
  3. Mix in sugar.
  4. Refrigerate and serve!

That’s it! No simmering, no time-taking chopping, no massive cleanup — just blend and mix!

The natural sweetness of the orange pieces pairs well with the tartness of the cranberries!


sugar added to chopped up cranberries and oranges


What Do I Do With Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish?

Delicious cranberry and relish is a condiment. 

It’s typically served on or alongside meat (particularly turkey at Thanksgiving, but is also great with ham or pork loins or chicken).

It can also be eaten as a dip, side dish, bread or roll topping, or whatever suits your fancy.

You can even pair it with ice cream! Which is a really great thing to know!

Pairing fruit sauces or relishes with meats is common and delicious. 

Turkey sandwiches are one of the most popular choices after Thanksgiving dinner.

Think fruit salsas or chutneys with tacos or fajitas, pork loins with cherry or pomegranate sauces, or Ikea’s meatballs and lingonberry jam.

If you’re not a fan of meat and fruit combos, you can also serve this relish with our cinnamon chips as a side dish or spread it on top of bread or rolls.


Cranberry Orange Relish in a serving bowl topped with orange slices and whole cranberries.


Check out some of these other cranberry recipes:

What to Do With Leftover Cranberry Orange Relish?

We have no shortage when it comes to leftover fresh relish and sauce ideas! 

Check out some of the following, or head straight to our Leftover Cranberry Sauce page.

Many of the ideas from above about how to serve it are easy for serving leftovers as well. 

That orange flavor really pairs well with so many foods at your holiday table!


Cranberry sauce in a bowl with a spoon scooping a portion out


Can I Freeze Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish?

Absolutely, you can freeze this cranberry orange relish! 

That’s one of the great things about this recipe — you can make it ahead and keep it in the fridge for up to a week, or you can make ahead and freeze it.

To freeze, simply make as directed and store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

I recommend freezing, flat, in a zipper freezer bag. Once it’s frozen, you can slide it in vertically to take up less space and store easier.

All you need to do to thaw the frozen relish is pop it in the fridge 24 hours before you’re ready to serve it! 


Close up of fresh cranberry orange sauce in a bowl


It really doesn’t get much easier or more convenient than this tasty cranberry orange relish recipe.

I’m sure you’ll love this delicious cranberry orange relish as much as we did. 

The bright, citrus flavor paired with the tart cranberries and sweet sugar really is a delightful combination and the perfect complement for your Thanksgiving turkey or any other roast!


Yield: 10 Servings

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry sauce in a bowl with a spoon scooping a portion out

This cranberry relish recipe requires only 3 ingredients and is so easy to make! Make ahead or freeze for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  1. 1. Cut orange in half and then each half in quarters. 8 pieces total.
  2. Remove any seeds and discard seeds.
  3. Place half of orange slices WITH peels on, in food processor or blender.
  4. Add half of the cranberries and blend well.
  5. Remove mixture and place in a bowl.
  6. Place remaining orange slices and cranberries in food processor or blender and mix again. Place mixture in same bowl.
  7. Add sugar and mix well.
  8. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour - 1 week in fridge or freeze for up to 3 months.
  9. When ready to serve, place in serving bowl and add a slice of orange or cranberries to garnish the relish.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 0g
Originally Posted: November 25, 2019

Photos & Text Updated: September 22, 2023

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Wendy Hampton

Thursday 30th of November 2023

This recipe for Cranberry Orange relish is AMAZING! OMYGOSH! I think I need a new freezer for the garage so I can make up a year's supply of it and freeze. It thaws out perfectly after freezing! I am eating it by the spoonful, on roast chicken and in deli turkey sandwiches spread with cream cheese! I've saved the recipe in a couple of boards in Pinterest, in my Family recipe book and there is copy in my bookshelf! I do NOT want to EVER lose this recipe! I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it is addictive!


Monday 21st of November 2022

I've made this for years...I zest the orange then peal it. The white pith is bitter so it taste better

Wendy Hampton

Thursday 30th of November 2023

@Diana, Thanks for the tip about using the peel! I did wonder if it would work.


Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

I've found in this recipe that the white pith doesn't stand out. Your idea is a great idea! Thanks for the comment!

Sarah Sakas

Monday 21st of November 2022

We have made a very similar version in my family for years. Ours includes apples...we use Granny Smiths. This is so delicious, flavorful and refreshing.


Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Sarah I love the idea of adding apples! Yum!

Ruth L. Sansom

Monday 30th of November 2020

My mother always made this relish and now I do. We also add chopped walnuts. I use my mother's vintage meat grinder to crop the cranberries and orange. It is a little more coarse than a food processor. Besides, that is the way my mother did it. Most recipes seem to cook their cranberries but I like this recipe best. Thank you for sharing.


Wednesday 16th of December 2020

Ruth, I love your story! My Mother-in-Law has her mother's grinder and we've often made it using that too! Thanks for sharing your memory!


Wednesday 25th of November 2020

This is the exact recipe my family has been using for a couple of generations. We serve it primarily with turkey, but it is tasty with beef too. I would recommend adding 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar to taste.


Thursday 26th of November 2020

So glad to hear it. It's my favorite relish! I've never tried it with beef, but now I want to! Thanks for the tip!

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