This homemade cranberry sauce is cooked with the fall flavors of apples, orange, and cinnamon, giving this traditional holiday classic a melody of new flavors.

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Easy cranberry orange sauce recipe

About Cranberry Sauce with Apple, Orange, and Cinnamon

Nothing quite says the holidays like cranberry sauce.

Because really, cranberry sauce is the staple fruit option to round out any respectable Thanksgiving dinner, amirite?

And maybe that’s because cranberries are one of those few flavors we reserve for the winter months, or maybe it’s because cranberries go amazingly well with all the turkey, but you know what?

Even if it wasn’t the holidays, I’d make cranberry sauce anyway simply because of the delicious sweetly tart taste.

How to make homemade citrus cranberry sauce.

What’s in this cranberry sauce?

In order to make this classic sauce for the holidays, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Cranberries – The star of the show! A holiday favorite thanks to its tart and sweet flavor. This recipe will work well with either fresh or frozen cranberries.
  • Orange juice and orange zest – For that sweet citrus flavor that balances cranberries so well.
  • Light brown sugar and maple syrup – Added sweetness to counter the tartness of the cranberries.
  • Apple – For a touch of fall flavor.
  • Cinnamon stick – Cooked in the sauce and removed before serving, this adds just the right hint of slightly-spicy cinnamon flavor.

How many oranges do you need?

This recipe calls for a half cup of orange juice and roughly three tablespoons of orange zest. While you should be able to get enough zest from one orange, each orange only yields about a quarter cup of juice – so if your goal was to only use fresh juice, you would need two oranges total to meet the requirements of this recipe.

Can you make cranberry sauce in advance?

Certainly! Cranberry sauce is great for making in advance and freeing up kitchen space for big holiday events.

For the best presentation, I recommend making this sauce no more than 24 hours in advance. It can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to serve.

How long is cranberry sauce good for?

Great news here: sauces like this do very well in the fridge.

In fact, homemade cranberry sauce can typically be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to three to four days.

Can you freeze cranberry sauce?

Yes! Due to the high sugar content in cranberry sauce, it will keep it’s texture and flavor very well once frozen.

Once frozen, cranberry sauce should remain good for one to two months.

Should you serve cranberry sauce warm or cold?

In the end, this comes down to personal preference, but to give you some ideas of how to decide:

  • A warm sauce will be more liquid and may be better if you’re serving it to be eaten with other foods, like drizzling cranberry sauce over turkey.
  • A chilled cranberry sauce might work best when served as a side dish, designed to be enjoyed on its own like creamed corn or green beans.

How long can you leave out cranberry sauce?

Whenever you’ve served perishable food, you should always keep track of how long it sits at room temperature. This can be especially tricky when hosting a holiday dinner.

For most foods, the general rule of thumb is that a perishable item should not be in the “danger zone” for more than two hours. And by “danger zone”, this is usually at or just above room temperature.

If you serve this sauce warm, that should give you another 30-60 minutes before needing to keep track of the time. So, in total, this sauce can be left out for an absolute maximum of three hours, depending on the temperature of the room. However, be sure to still check the sauce every now and then and use your best judgment on its condition. Once you’re near the recommended time, you can warm it up in the microwave again. For best results, I’d recommend using a warming tray so that the cranberry sauce stays warm and above the “danger zone” temperature.

If you’re serving this sauce cold, try to keep it out for two hours or less. After that point, you can chill the sauce for another 30 minutes or so, then serve again.

More great sauce recipes

How to make homemade cranberry sauce

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Toss the fresh cranberries, water, orange juice, orange zest, brown sugar, maple syrup, apples, and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan.

Step 2 – Stir everything well.

Step 3 – Allow sauce to simmer until cranberries begin to burst and the sauce turns a creamy dark red color.

Step 4 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Easy cranberry orange sauce recipe
4.55 from 31 votes

Cranberry Sauce with Apple, Orange, and Cinnamon

10 minutes prep + 20 minutes cook
127 kcal
Yields: 6 servings
This homemade cranberry sauce is cooked with the fall flavors of apples, orange, and cinnamon, giving this traditional holiday classic a melody of new flavors.


  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 large apple, peeled and diced to bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup water


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, add cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, brown sugar, maple syrup, apples, cinnamon stick, and water.
    12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries, 1/2 cup orange juice, 3 tablespoons orange zest, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 large apple, 1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 cup water
  • Bring sauce to a boil and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes. Sauce has finished cooking when cranberries have have burst, giving the sauce it’s trademark thick texture. Before removing from heat, taste test the sauce; if sauce is too tart, add 1 tablespoon of syrup or brown sugar until desired sweetness is reached.
  • Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Serve immediately.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 19.6mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.3mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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Recipe Rating


    • Laurel Walton

    This looks really good. Any chance of obtaining a pdf version?

    • Kimberly

    I just made a double batch of this. Going to freeze half for Christmas Day. Tastes amazing and the house smells wonderful too!

    • I’m so glad you liked it Kimberly! Ironically enough, I served the batch I made on Thanksgiving and my mother was having none of it 😀 To each their own I guess! an old friend of mine and I loved it.

    • Jenny

    Wonderful post! I love making my own cranberry sauce for the holidays. I will have to try the apples to my recipe.

    • Rachel

    My mother makes an amazing cranberry orange sauce, but without cinnamon! Must add.

    • Nutmeg Nanny

    LOVE that you added apples to this cranberry sauce. What a delicious addition…yum!

    • Ashley

    YUM! This looks like the perfect dish for the Thanksgiving table.

    • Latisha Strickland

    This looks delicious. It’ll work great for Thanksgiving.

    • Celia at Chicago Jogger

    I love that you combined orange + cranberry! Sounds delicious. Pinned to my Thanksgiving board 🙂

    • Kam Kay

    Sounds like such a great recipe for Thanksgiving. Baked apple was a great twist.

    • Sara

    I LOVE this with the apples! I usually make a cranberry sauce with a vanilla bean in it but I may have to do this one instead.

    • Kristen

    I like the idea of adding apples to cranberry sauce. I am not usually a huge fan of the Thanksgiving staple, but with apples, I think it would be really good.

    • Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma)

    YES, this will be perfect for my Thanksgiving table! YUM

    • Ashleigh

    This cranberry sauce recipe looks wonderful and perfect for the upcoming holidays! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    • Brittany

    This looks so good! I can already smell the scent of Christmas in my house! Also, I love that holiday prep guide – so useful!

    • Marie

    Okay, first of all prepping ahead of time for thanksgiving is genius! Second, omgosh does this look amazing. I am absolutely making it this year for our dinner.

    • Christine | Vermilion Roots

    Love the chunks in this cranberry sauce.This can be enjoyed in so many ways I think, not just for Thanksgiving. I can see myself putting it in my pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt.

    • Florian @ContentednessCooking

    Love homemade cranberry sauce. Like that you used a apple in this. Beautiful and colorful pictures.

    • Crystal Carder

    I’ve been looking for a cranberry recipe for Thanksgiving and I think this is it! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jenn

    I love the pre-prep guide! I also have family coming in from out of state and am super duper excited about preparing a huge meal! 🙂 This sauce looks great! I think I will have to add it to my menu!

    • J @ Bless Her Heart Y’all

    Oh yum! I know a few people who are die-hard cranberry sauce lovers who will appreciate this on Thanksgiving! Saving and bringing this one out for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing!