This easy cranberry sauce recipe is a keeper! You’ll love the flavor and texture of this orange cranberry sauce. It has a pure cranberry flavor with just enough sweetness to balance the tartness. Plus, you can also make it in an Instant Pot, detailed directions included!
Confession… I’ve never tried a canned cranberry sauce. At least, not that I know of.
No, not because I’m a snob, or purist, or both. (Sometimes, I can be, but not in this case.)
I simply didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving long enough, I guess. If you’ve been around for a little while, you know I was born and raised in Mongolia. And I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, let alone eating cranberry sauce.
When I started hosting my own Thanksgiving dinner 8 years ago, I didn’t serve cranberry sauce for the first couple of years. No one complained, and I sure wasn’t missing anything.
Then I stumbled upon this homemade cranberry sauce recipe from A Cozy Kitchen. I added it to the menu one year, and it was so good, everyone in the family raved about it for days.
And over the years, I made my own changes to the sauce, but definitely kept the zesty flavor. In fact, I boosted it by adding more orange zest and orange liqueur. It’s simply amazing!!!
WHY I DON’T USE ORANGE JUICE IN THIS CRANBERRY SAUCE RECIPE?
Sure, you can substitute orange juice for water, but I’d decrease the sugar amount. Otherwise, it’ll be too sweet. But the real reason I don’t use orange juice is that I like to keep it simple. I don’t usually buy orange juice to drink, and I sure don’t want to mess with squeezing oranges during this already busy season. That’s it, plain and simple! 😉 And this orange cranberry sauce is plenty zesty without it!
IS HOMEMADE CRANBERRY SAUCE BETTER THAN CANNED?
Haha. Is it a trick question? I’m sure we can debate about this till end of time. But since I confessed I’ve never tried canned cranberry, I’ll let you be the judge. Try this cranberry sauce recipe and let me know your verdict.
WHY MAKE THIS ORANGE CRANBERRY SAUCE?
- It’s ridiculously easy to make homemade cranberry sauce. Only 5 ingredients and 15 minutes of your time! And you can also make it in your Instant Pot!!!
- You can make it days (or even weeks!) in advance. See? One less thing to do during a busy week!
- Incredible texture and flavor!!! This cranberry sauce has a beautiful texture: not too thin, not too thick. Perfectly spreadable, yet with chunks of fruit throughout!
HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY SAUCE IN INSTANT POT?
It’s so easy and quick to make cranberry sauce in Instant Pot.
- Put all the ingredients, except orange liquor, in inner pot of Instant Pot. Note: we’re using only 1/2 cup of water.
- Set it for 1 minute on high pressure. Let the pot release the pressure naturally.
- Then set the pot to sauté and cook for about 5 minutes to thicken. That’s it!!!
I’ll include detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
Now I can’t imagine the whole Thanksgiving feast without zesty, tart n’ sweet cranberry sauce. Hope you too will brighten up your Thanksgiving feast with this delicious homemade cranberry sauce with bright zesty pop of flavor.
And here’s a quick video demo for ya (not that you need it, but just for fun!):
Orange Cranberry Sauce
- 1 12oz bag cranberries, washed (Note 1)
- 1 cup 240ml water (Note 2)
- 1 cup 200gr sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur I used Grand Marnier
- In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, water, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon stick and salt.
- Simmer the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thickened, but still runny. It’ll thicken more as it cools.
- Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick.
- Stir in orange liqueur.
- Cool completely and serve.
- To make it in Instant Pot: Put all the ingredients, except for orange liquor, in inner pot of Instant Pot. (Note: only add ½ cup of water.)
- Set the Instant Pot to Manual/Pressure Cook for 1 minute on High. (It took about 8 minutes for my IP to come to pressure.)
- Once the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, which means you don't need to do anything. Then carefully turn the valve to venting. Once the pin drops, carefully open the lid.
- Hit "cancel" button, and then select "sauté" function. Stir in orange liqueur and cook the sauce for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. Transfer into a jar and cool completely.
Tips & Notes:
This recipe was originally published on October 26, 2017, and last updated on November 20, 2019.