A simple recipe for fresh and easy homemade cranberry sauce made with real cranberries, it is an easy must-have recipe for your next holiday dinner.

As Thanksgiving nears, this cranberry sauce is a holiday classic that deserves a place on your table.

Our chestnut-stuffed Thanksgiving turkey will again take center stage this year. However, the side dishes are as important as the turkey itself.

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Let me introduce you to my homemade cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce With Apricots, Raisins And Orange

This is the most straightforward recipe yet so full of flavor.

A perfect complement to your roasted turkey. The pairing of the sweetness of the apricots and the bitter bite of the cranberries just burst into your mouth, and you cannot get enough.

Ready in fifteen minutes, it will store well in your refrigerator for several months.

I had never tasted cranberry sauce while living in France. Therefore, it was a surprise to see it at the table for my first two Thanksgiving dinners.

Long story, but not knowing what Thanksgiving was all about, my mom and I accepted two invitations on the same day. Suffice it to say we were pretty full by the evening.

That was my introduction to two versions of the sauce. It was intriguing to see a cranberry sauce right out of a can with all the markings around it. As well as a homemade version. It’s pretty amazing the difference in taste.

Since that famous Thanksgiving so many years ago, I have made it my mission only to offer my guests and family a homemade version.

Once I learned how easy it was, and fifteen minutes is the perfect recipe for the seasoned or novice cook to bring to the table, I never looked back.

In this Article

Why you will love this cranberry sauce recipe

This recipe is fail-proof, and soon, it will be your favorite Thanksgiving recipe as well.

  • This cranberry relish will be ready in 15 minutes.
  • Besides the cranberries, all the ingredients are staples in the kitchen.
  • It stores well in the refrigerator, so you can make it beforehand.
  • The leftovers will last a couple of months in the refrigerator.
Cranberry Sauce with Apricots, Raisins and Orange

Orange peel

I have on this recipe the use of dry orange peel. This is for a deep flavor as it is concentrated, and that will stay with the cranberry sauce recipe. Easy to use.

With that said, you can use fresh orange peel. Slice a couple of rinds from your fresh orange. Please make sure that they are at least one inch wide.

Add them to your ingredients and remove them once ready to use your cranberry orange relish.

The combination of orange juice and orange zest is amazing with this sauce.

Ingredients needed to make your cranberry orange relish

Fresh cranberries – the star of this relish. Before using them, wash them and go through them to remove any damage or debris. You can substitute fresh cranberries with frozen cranberries. They take a few minutes longer to burst.

Dried apricots – add a layer of flavor and works wonderfully with the cranberries and the orange juice.

Golden raisin – my favorite has they will plump up with the orange juice and the natural cranberry juice

Water – needed to cook your homemade cranberry sauce

Orange juice – I enjoy the pulp with my orange juice. However, use any orange juice you have on hand if you want it.

Orange peel – I have used the dry as they are easy to prepare with this recipe. However, with that said, if you want to use fresh orange peels, do so, but remove them before serving.

Granulated white sugar – gives the sweetness needed to balance against the bitterness of the cranberries.

Cranberry Sauce with Apricots, Raisins and Orange

Equipment needed

Chef’s knife – to chop the apricots

Heavy, large saucepan – heavy bottom and large enough to hold all the cranberries with the water and juice.

Stirring spatula – you will have to stir the cranberries and help with the sugar to dissolve.

Measuring cups – always handy when cooking

Serving dish – It is always fun to have a new plate to showcase your recipe.

Storage dish – I am very fond of glass as it will not alter the flavor of your food.

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How do you make fresh cranberry sauce

It’s one of my favorite and most straightforward recipes to make.

  • Combine all the ingredients in a heavy, large saucepan.
  • Stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Cover and cook the cranberries to a boil.

You will hear the cranberries pop, but nothing to be alarmed by.

I do, however, recommend you keep a keen eye on the saucepan. Cranberries tend to boil over and make a very sticky mess.

Transfer to a serving bowl to cool off—once cold, cover and store in the refrigerator.

The cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Can cranberry sauce be made in advance?

Yes! Cranberry sauce requires at least two hours in the refrigerator to thicken and set properly.

However, you can make this holiday dish up to a week beforehand. Just make sure it is stored in an airtight glass container.

Cranberry Sauce with Apricots, Raisins and Orange

Suggestions for the leftovers – if you have some

Bring it back to room temperature and enjoy it with:

  • I love to warm up the cranberry sauce and pour it over vanilla ice cream. It’s a bit different but so yummy.
  • Try it as a jam in the morning with your English muffin or Sourdough bread.
  • Peanut butter and cranberry sauce sandwich. You will love it.
  • Turkey slices or ham, Swiss cheese, and Cranberry sauce in a warm croissant. Spread some mustard and mayo, and you have a fantastic lunch.
  • And, of course, the always welcome turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving. A must-do affair at our house.

You may also want to add.

With this recipe, you can let your imagination go wild and add your favorite spice and candied fruits to give it your holiday spin.

However, this recipe can be enjoyed all year long.

  • Cardamon will give it a nice bite to it
  • Candied pineapples chopped into small chunks.
  • Add a cinnamon stick while cooking. Remove after the cranberry is cooled off.
  • Half of a pear or apple cut into large chunks
  • Ginger: powder or crystals chopped fine. Ginger can be a bit overpowering as a flavor. Thus, be cautious when adding and do it slowly in steps.
  • Brandy, Bourbon, Whiskey, Calvados, pick one of your favorites
  • Dark rum with candied pineapples and cinnamon will give it a fantastic Caribbean flavor to it
Cranberry Sauce With Apricots, Raisins And Orange

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry relish?

Cranberry relish is made with raw ingredients blended in a food processor, and cranberry sauce is cooked and often much sweeter than relish.

What is the difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry jelly?

There is not much difference between the two. However, the sauce maintains the whole fruits, while the jelly is heavenly strained, removing the skin and seeds that would impede its perfectly silken texture.

How do you cut the tartness out of cranberry sauce?

Instead of using granulated sugar, try real maple syrup. Being liquid will emulsify faster into the cranberry sauce, leading it to a gentle sweetness. Do not use pancake syrup; it will not do. If you do not have real maple syrup in hand, use honey or agave, brown rice syrup, or even simple syrup.

Cranberry Sauce with Apricots, Raisins, and Orange

5 from 16 votes
Cranberry sauce with apricots, raisins, and orange
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
A simple recipe for fresh and easy homemade cranberry sauce made with real cranberries, it is an easy must-have recipe for your next holiday dinner.


  • 4 cups cranberries
  • 1 cup apricots, chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp orange peel
  • 2 cups sugar


  • Combine all ingredients in a heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat, cover, and boil cranberries pop, stirring occasionally about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold (mixture will thicken as it cools)
  • Can be made 4 days ahead. Keep chilled.


Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 579mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 930IU | Vitamin C: 51.4mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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Originally published on October 31, 2020.