Cranberry sauce with orange, cinnamon, and cloves is a family favorite and an absolute must on our Thanksgiving table. This sauce is so easy to make and far better than the canned stuff!
Homemade cranberry sauce is usually reserved for the holidays making it a very special condiment.
Our version uses fresh cranberries, orange liqueur, and orange as the dominant flavors with just hints of cinnamon, clove, and vanilla to round it out.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- In a saucepan or pot over high heat, combine 24 ounces of fresh cranberries, 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of orange juice, and a 1/4 cup of orange liqueur. Bring the mixture to a boil (Photo #1).
- Periodically stir the mixture and once boiling, reduce the heat to medium (Photo #2).
- Add 1 cinnamon stick and 3 cloves and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst (about 10 minutes). You can use the back of your spoon to mash some of the cranberries against the side of the pan (Photo #3).
- Once the cranberries have burst, add 2 tablespoons of orange zest and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow the cranberry sauce to come to room temperature. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, you can add a little water at a time, and keep in mind that the mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. Once at room temperature, chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve with plenty of turkey or (roast chicken) and sides (Photo #4)!
- Sweetness. You may be reading the ingredients and thinking that 1 1/2 cups of sugar is a lot but cranberries are extremely tart. In fact, if you taste your sauce and find that it’s still too tart, add additional sugar, or even maple syrup to help sweeten it a bit more.
- Orange liqueur. We added orange liqueur to this recipe to help enhance the orange flavor. Other additions could include bourbon or amaretto. If you prefer to not use any alcohol, you can omit it entirely.
- Thickness. Keep in mind that the cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools so if you prefer your sauce to be a little thinner than ours, consider adding a little extra water after removing the sauce from the heat.
More holiday favorites
While we’d happily eat cranberry sauce all year round, we realize it really is more of a holiday treat. Here are a few more of our favorite holiday dishes. We hope you enjoy!
- Pumpkin pie – with an amaretti cookie crust and amaretto-scented whipped cream.
- Maple roasted carrots – with maple syrup, butter, and parsley.
- Roasted Brussels sprouts – with balsamic honey.
- Roasted garlic mashed potatoes – creamy and delicious!
If you’ve enjoyed this orange cranberry sauce recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.
- 24 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup orange liqueur
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a sauce pot over high heat, add the cranberries, sugar, water, orange juice, and orange liqueur and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the cinnamon stick and cloves and allow to cook, stirring occassionally until the cranberries have burst, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the vanilla extract and orange zest stirring to combine, and cook for an additional 5 min, then remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature.
- Once cooled to room temperature, chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to use.
- If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add a touch more water after the sauce is removed from the heat.
- To make this alcohol-free, omit the orange liqueur.
- Cranberry sauce can be stored in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.