Easy Orange Cranberry Sauce (3 Ingredients!)

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Spoon in a bowl of orange cranberry sauce with orange zest

It doesn’t get much simpler than this 3-ingredient cranberry sauce made in 1 pan!

Fresh or frozen cranberries are tossed with orange zest and juice and naturally sweetened with maple syrup, then baked (or cooked on the stovetop) until burst and fragrant. The colors alone are mesmerizing, and then there’s the aroma and tart-sweet flavor! It’s the only cranberry sauce you’ll need this holiday season (and beyond). Let us show you how it’s done!

Sliced oranges, orange zest, maple syrup, and unsweetened cranberries

How to Make Fresh Cranberry Sauce

We’re firm believers that fresh is best! If you only know cranberry sauce as a jello-like, super sweet substance that gets ignored at the holiday table, you must give this fresh version a try! It’s a game changer.

It starts with fresh or frozen whole unsweetened cranberries. They’re tart, vibrant, and beaming with antioxidants!

Pouring fresh cranberries into a baking dish

Maple syrup and orange juice perfectly balance the tartness of the cranberries without the high fructose corn syrup. We dialed the sweetness in to about two-thirds that of your average canned version, but you can use more or less maple syrup to achieve your preferred level of sweetness.

We infused it with orange zest because cranberry + orange = made for each other.

Stirring cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and maple syrup in a baking dish

This recipe can be made in either a baking dish in the oven or in a saucepan on the stovetop. While the oven is our preferred method for best flavor, if your oven is filled with other holiday goodies, the stovetop is great too!

Mashing orange cranberry sauce in a baking pan

Once the cranberries are burst and fragrant, all that’s left is to mash with a potato masher or spoon, or purée into a fine sauce (we prefer some texture!).

Baked cranberry sauce in a ceramic dish

Cranberry Sauce FAQs

How Long Does Cranberry Sauce Last?

Cranberry sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for at least 1 month (without freezer burn).

What To Do With Leftover Cranberry Sauce?

Other than serving cranberry sauce with your favorite Thanksgiving classics, it’s delicious on pancakes (or gluten-free pancakes), cornbread (or gluten-free cornbread), waffles (or gluten-free waffles), crepes, oats, and more! We could also see it working well as a galette filling, or with anything pumpkin (muffins, quick bread, overnight oats, and baked oatmeal are great places to start).

Spoon in a bowl of homemade orange cranberry sauce

We hope you LOVE this orange cranberry sauce! It’s:

Vibrant
Fruity
Naturally sweetened
Citrusy
Quick & easy
& SO delicious!

It’s begging to be served at your Thanksgiving table with mashed potatoes (Instant Pot or stovetop), Fluffy Vegan Spelt Rolls, 1-Pan Garlicky Green Beans with Slivered Almonds, Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad, Vegan Cornbread Stuffing, Vegan Lentil Nut “Meatloaf”, and Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken.

More Fresh Cranberry Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot of a spoonful of cranberry sauce topped with orange zest

Easy Orange Cranberry Sauce (3 Ingredients!)

Simple, flavorful cranberry sauce made in 1 dish with 3 simple ingredients! Perfectly tart-sweet, naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and incredibly easy to make!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Spoon in a bowl of fresh cranberry sauce
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 10 (2-Tbsp servings)
Course Condiment, Sauce, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 1 Week

Ingredients

  • 1 (10-oz) bag cranberries (~2 ½ cups as recipe is written // fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Instructions

OVEN (our preferred method)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and set out an 8 x 8-inch ceramic or glass baking dish (or other dish of a similar size // use a 9 x 13 pan if making a double batch).
  • To the baking dish, add cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, and maple syrup. Stir to combine.
  • Bake for ~45-50 minutes or until the cranberries are bubbly and tender. Then remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Use a potato masher (or wooden spoon) to gently smash cranberries into a loose sauce. If you’d prefer it to be saucier, add a bit more orange juice at this time. Add more maple syrup to taste for a sweeter sauce. You could also transfer it to a food processor if you prefer it completely smooth.
  • Serve at room temperature (our preference), warmed, or chilled.
  • Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month. Can be reheated in the microwave or in a 350 F (176 C) oven until warmed through.

STOVETOP

  • Add all ingredients (cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, maple syrup) to a medium saucepan and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are tender and most have burst open. Remove lid and continue simmering (uncovered), stirring occasionally and gently mashing with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened and no whole cranberries remain — about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  • If you’d prefer it to be saucier, add a bit more orange juice at this time. Add more maple syrup to taste for a sweeter sauce. You could also transfer it to a food processor if you prefer it completely smooth.
  • Serve at room temperature (our preference), warmed, or chilled.
  • Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen and reheat in the microwave, in a saucepan, or in a 350 F (176 C) oven until warmed through.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*We prefer making this recipe in the oven as it enhances the flavor, but it can also be made on the stovetop.
*Recipe makes ~1 ¼ cups.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 2 tablespoons Calories: 43 Carbohydrates: 11.1 g Protein: 0.2 g Fat: 0.1 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 2 mg Potassium: 57 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 8.1 g Vitamin A: 30 IU Vitamin C: 7.1 mg Calcium: 13.7 mg Iron: 0.1 mg

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  1. Patricia Noonan says

    This is such a simple and delicious recipe. I made mine on the stove top and the orange zest was very aromatic. I did add some cinnamon as well and a bit more maple syrup after I finished smashing the cranberries with a spoon. Minimal effort with maximum flavor. I will make this again.

  2. Jennifer says

    This is the best cranberry sauce we have ever had. I started out making a double batch but once we tried it I had to make more. It is delicious! I ended up making 6 batches total for Thanksgiving dinner. Thank you for another awesome recipe!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Love to hear this. Thanks so much for the lovely review, Jennifer, so glad you enjoy it so much!

  3. Stephanie says

    Wicked good! I love that it has no sugar and it is perfectly sweetened with the maple syrup. I also love that it is so easy to make, just toss the three ingredients in a baking dish and it prepares itself. I topped mine with toasted pecans. Divine. This recipe will go into my permanent collection.

  4. Diana Norbury says

    By far the easiest cranberry sauce recipe I have ever made – and it turned out amazing. This will be my annual go-to!

  5. Janelle says

    Made on the stove top. Used brown sugar instead of maple syrup. Added fresh minced thyme and a dash of cinnamon, I thought it was very tasty!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Terri! You could use any sweetener of choice, agave, cane sugar, coconut sugar, or honey (if not vegan) will all work. Hope this helps!

  6. Sherry MacKay says

    this looks fabulous. we don’t really get cranberries or cranberry products here except stuff in a jar, but this looks tasty.

  7. Jeffrey Engel says

    My version of the recipe is even easier: dump a bag of cranberries into the food processor. Add a cut up orange (skin and all, just remove the seeds and navel of a navel orange) and sweetener of choice, about 1/2 cup. Process until finely cut up. It is best made Wednesday, so the flavors have overnight to meld.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi there! Unfortunately we don’t think that would work here, since the canned sauce may already be sweetened and cooked.