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Cranberry Orange Relish Recipe

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If you’re looking for a way to spice up your holiday meals, Cranberry Orange Relish is a must-try side dish. With just a few simple ingredients like fresh cranberries, zesty oranges, and a touch of sweetness, you can create a vibrant, flavorful relish that’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

This quick and easy recipe can be whipped up in a blender or food processor, making it a convenient option for busy holiday prep. The fresh taste of cranberries combined with the citrus zing of oranges adds a refreshing twist to your typical holiday fare.

Not only does it pair wonderfully with turkey, chicken, or pork, but it also adds a pop of color to your table. Give this delicious, fruity relish a try, and you’re sure to impress your family and friends!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make cranberry orange relish, you’ll need just a few simple ingredients. Here’s the list and some possible substitutes to keep in mind:

Ingredients Needed:

  • Cranberries: Use fresh cranberries for the best flavor.
  • Orange: Both the zest and flesh of the orange are used.
  • Sugar: White granulated sugar is common.
  • Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon adds warmth.

Possible Substitutes:

  • Cranberries: If fresh cranberries are unavailable, you can use frozen cranberries. Just thaw them before use.
  • Orange: You can substitute with lemon or lime for a different citrus twist. Adjust the amount of zest to taste.
  • Sugar: Maple syrup or honey can be used for a different sweetness profile. Keep in mind these will alter the flavor.
  • Cinnamon: You can replace it with nutmeg, allspice, or a blend.

Optional Additions:

  • Nuts: Walnuts or pecans can be added for a crunchy texture. Note that roasting the nuts first makes them extra flavorful.
  • Apple: Chopped apples can be included for additional sweetness and texture.

Make sure to taste and adjust each substitute to ensure the best flavor for your relish!


Step 1:
Wash your fresh cranberries. Pick out and discard any soft, wrinkled, or bad ones.

Step 2:
Cut an orange into sections. Remove any seeds and zest the orange.

Step 3:
Place the orange sections and 2 teaspoons of orange zest into a food processor.

Step 4:
Add fresh cranberries, 1 cup of sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon to the food processor.

Step 5:
Pulse everything in the food processor until finely chopped. Be careful not to over-process.

Step 6:
Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Cover it and refrigerate.

Step 7:
Let the relish chill for at least 2 hours. You can leave it in the fridge for up to 3 days to allow the flavors to blend well.

For a different taste, you can add a dash of orange liqueur or some chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts.

Serve the cranberry orange relish at room temperature for the best flavor. Enjoy it with your favorite dishes!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

When making cranberry orange relish, use fresh cranberries for the best flavor. Frozen cranberries work too but thaw them first.

Be sure to wash and dry your cranberries and oranges. Remove any mushy cranberries to keep the relish firm and tasty.

Chopping the oranges and any other added fruits like apples into tiny pieces helps them mix better. A food processor makes this easy.

Add-ins like vanilla or star anise can give your relish a unique twist. Just make sure to taste it as you go so you don’t overpower the main flavors.

For the best flavor, let your relish sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This helps the flavors blend well.

Store your cranberry orange relish in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you make a big batch, you can also freeze it. Just let it thaw in the fridge before serving.

To keep the nuts from burning, if you’re using them, watch the baking time closely. Cool them before adding to your relish.

Using a rubber spatula will help you scrape down the sides of the food processor and get every bit mixed evenly.

If you like your relish sweeter, add extra sugar a little at a time. If it gets too sweet, a splash of lemon juice can help balance it out.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

You can easily customize cranberry orange relish to fit your taste. Here are a few ideas:

Fruit Additions:

  • Add an apple to the mix for extra sweetness.
  • Throw in some pineapple chunks for a tropical twist.

Nut Options:

  • Use walnuts instead of pecans.
  • Try almonds for a different crunch.


  • Substitute sugar with agave or maple syrup for a natural sweetness.

Flavor Boosts:

  • Add a splash of orange liqueur for a grown-up version.
  • Mix in a dash of cinnamon for a warm flavor.

Serving Ideas:

  • Serve it chilled or at room temperature.
  • Spread it on turkey sandwiches.
  • Pair it with cheese and crackers for a festive appetizer.

Feel free to experiment with these suggestions and make the recipe your own!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.