Easy cranberry orange relish adds a pop of tarty-tanginess to your holiday table and does it with less refined sugar than the canned version. Use fresh cranberries, an orange, and a bit of honey for the perfect side dish to compliment heavier winter dishes.Jump to Recipe
What’s the difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry orange relish?
Homemade cranberry sauce is made from either whole cranberries or their juice cooked down with sugar and gelatin (if it’s canned) to make a jell-o style smooth, firm mixture.
Cranberry relish uses the whole uncooked cranberry and orange–even the rind of the orange–to make a brighter and fresher side dish.
Relish is not thickened, can be sweetened with any sugar you like, and does not need to be cooked.
How to make cranberry orange relish
Step 1: Wash, stem and remove any squishy cranberries and transfer to a food processor. I love this small 3 cup Cuisinart.
Pulse until the cranberries are roughly chopped. We like ours coarse for texture but you can make yours as finely pureed as you choose.
Step 2: Transfer the chopped cranberries to a bowl and add a quartered whole organic orange, rind and all to the food processor. No need to clean it between fruits. It’s important to use an organic orange when using the rind.
Pulse two or three times until the orange is chopped similarly to the cranberries and transfer the oranges to the bowl with them.
Mix the cranberries and oranges together with your preferred sweetener. Let the mixture sit either at room temperature if you will be serving in a couple of hours, or cover and refrigerate up to 5 days before you need it.
The mixture will soften and the juices will release from the fruit as the flavors meld so make it at least a few hours beforehand.
A couple of days in advance makes the best flavor.
Do cranberries and oranges taste good together? Isn’t the orange rind bitter?
Yes they taste wonderful together. Because cranberries are so incredibly tart, the orange adds a lovely sweetness.
And don’t worry about the orange rind. It just marries in perfectly and the sweetener you use will round out the flavors. No bitterness to be found.
Can cranberry relish be made ahead or frozen?
Yes you can make it ahead. In fact, I recommend putting it together 2 to 3 days before you want to serve it if you can. It will last in your fridge for about 5-7 days in an airtight container.
I don’t recommend freezing though. As with any fruit or vegetable that’s frozen, it’s going to be very soft and watery when it thaws. The texture won’t be the same.
Ways to jazz up this easy relish recipe
This recipe is for cranberry purists, but if you want a bit more pizzazz, consider:
- Adding nuts – walnuts or chopped pecans would be good here
- Addition fruit – a bit of fresh pineapple would be delicious
- Booze – I’m not a drinker so I can’t really direct you on that, but Grand Mariner is popular.
What to serve with cranberry orange relish
If it’s on your holiday table, this relish goes with any of it! Personally I find it delicious piled up on the holiday turkey or as a condiment on your sandwiches the next day.
For those of us who watch our sugar intake, cranberry relish is often my bit of dessert. I think it’s the perfect ending to a heavy meal.
Easy Cranberry Orange Relish
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries washed, dried and picked over for twigs or shriveled berries
- 1 medium navel orange organic is best; stem removed if present, quartered with skin on
- 2/3 cup raw honey as light in color as you can find; see note 1
- Using a food processor, chop the cranberries to a rough consistency. If you want yours very finely pureed, blend as long as you like.
- Transfer cranberries to a bowl and add the orange, rind and all. Pulse three or four times until the orange is about the same size as the cranberries.
- Mix the cranberries and oranges together in a medium bowl and add the honey or sweetener of your choice. Stir well and if serving soon, you can leave the mixture out at room temperature for a couple of hours.
- If you are serving later, refrigerate until ready to serve. The relish will be good for up to a week in an airtight container.