Cranberry Sauce With Orange and Golden Raisins Recipe (2024)

By Claire Saffitz

Updated Nov. 16, 2023

Cranberry Sauce With Orange and Golden Raisins Recipe (1)

Total Time
24½ hours
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes, plus 24 hours’ resting
Read community notes

This classic cranberry sauce, adapted from “Jambalaya,” a cookbook by the Junior League of New Orleans, is an ideal combination of tart, bitter and sweet flavors, with chewy bits of raisin and orange peel that provide much-needed textural contrast on the Thanksgiving table. A Saffitz family favorite, prepared every year by Claire Saffitz’s mother, Sauci, it keeps for weeks, so make it as far ahead as you like. (Watch Claire make Thanksgiving dinner from start to finish on YouTube.)

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Yield:About 4 cups

  • 12ounces fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries (3 cups)
  • 2⅓cups/466 grams granulated sugar
  • cups/6 ounces golden raisins
  • 1small navel orange, halved, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ¾teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

318 calories; 0 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 0 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 82 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 75 grams sugars; 1 gram protein; 22 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Cranberry Sauce With Orange and Golden Raisins Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    In a large saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, raisins, chopped orange, vinegar, lemon zest, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar, until the mixture is simmering vigorously and the cranberries have burst, 25 to 30 minutes.

  2. Step


    Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool until warm but not hot. Scrape into a lidded container and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld. (The cranberry sauce can be made several weeks ahead. Keep refrigerated.)



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Cooking Notes


As someone that collects cranberry recipes and makes between 3 and 5 for each Thanksgiving, I think that this is good. My wife gave it a thumbs up - which is all that really matters. 1. I cut the sugar down from 2.3 cups to 1.3 cups (and could have cut it down a little more)2. I added a bit of OJ so that there would be some liquid for cooking. No, I didn't measure - I just added enough to cover the berries in the pot.3. I used a whole orange - peeled & cut into pretty small pieces.

seattle cook

Made this to change up the routine. No one loved it. Too sweet, and the orange peel chunks are too big. I recommend cutting way back on the sugar and dicing the orange more finely than the recipe called for.

Diane F.

Here's a "no-recipe" cranberry sauce I've been making for years. Pour some orange juice in a saucepan. Add some dried cranberries and pineapple tidbits. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour until the berries and pineapple have softened significantly. Add more orange juice as needed to keep it from sticking. Remove from heat when it has reached the right consistency.

Kim Frohlinger

The best cranberry relish courtesy of my mother: 1 bag of cranberries rinsed and dried, 1 naval orange skin included cut into a few pieces, 1 cup of sugar. Put all ingredients raw into a food processor, puree until there are no chunks left. Refrigerate and enjoy!


A tablespoon or two of Grand Marnier is a wonderful addition to any cranberry sauce recipe.


Way too much sugar. Cut the sugar to one cup. Peel the orange, cut slices to small pieces. Cook over the stove top on low heat, with the rest of the ingredients as written. It’s really delicious!

jeff S

Only 1 cup sugar. Zest the orange, peel it and add back 1/2 the orange peel small diced, add small diced apple, thin with orange juice as needed


I made this per the recipe and diced the orange to cranberry-size pieces. The orange is the make-or-break of this recipe so use one that is nice, juicy and fresh.I served it with roast duck, roast lamb and mixed it into my morning oatmeal. It worked as a filling for small Christmas pies when I ended up with more pastry than mincemeat. Perfect for a small bite. Probably too much for a large pie slice.I will try it next in oatmeal cookies.

New England Baker

I made this for Thanksgiving and loved the bright flavor, but it is more like a preserve than traditional cranberry sauce. As written, think of this as a festive condiment to be used in small amounts versus a side. It was wonderful added to oatmeal on chilly mornings. In a revised format, this recipe made the Christmas day line up as well, but as a topping for our morning French toast. This time I doubled the cranberries and kept everything else the same and it was delicious.


Made this, but forgot to bring it to the potluck Thanksgiving. I liked it. After nibbling at it for days, I decided to try to convert it to a dessert. This recipe, almost the same ingredients. Worked great.


I agree about dicing the orange into smaller chunks...but definitely will put it on the repeat menu for Thanksgiving!


Delicious as written. Our new favorite!


I made this recipe as written and it was a huge hit with my family. Even my dad, who is not a cranberry sauce lover had two helpings. Today he asked me if it could be used as a pie filling.


New Orleans native here and I have been making my version of this sauce for decades. My version uses only a half to 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar. I also use one LARGE navel orange. 2/3rds of the skin provides peels that go into the mix, no pith anywhere. My facilitating liquid is the juice from this big orange, usually a navel. No further raisins or spices. It is well chilled, well chopped, but never pureed, pure cranberry and orange joy with the brown sugar really enhancing it all.

Laurie Zucker-Conde

Too sweet. I make mine with two bags of cranberries, two juiced oranges, one juiced pomegranate, one cup of water, a quarter cup of sugar. Pour the boiled cranberries onto most of the zest of one lemon and the oranges. Decorate with more zest and mint leaves. It's delicious!


This recipe is super delicious and so easy to make. I stuck to the recipe but did half golden raisins & half dried cranberries, I think that kept it from being too sweet.


This was THE dish of Thanksgiving! My family would not stop raving about it. The spices were perfection. My only fear is I will not be able to recreate it next year! Modifications:used 20 oz cranberries (and still ran out of leftovers too soon)1 cup sugar


do not change anything about the recipe when you make it. this was the #1 favorite dish at my family's thanksgiving this year. none of us like cranberry sauce before this year, but we are converts after making this.


I used this recipe for the first time after watching a 2-day NYT shoot of Claire applying her superpowers to Thanksgiving dinner, being inspired by the Saffitz Thanksgiving tradition along the way (community cookbooks FTW). It was excellent. The only variations I made were to finely chop the orange (I confess some of the skin ended up in the compost bin) and to bring my electric burner to medium-high to bring this to a vigorous simmer. Can't get enough Claire Saffitz!


Excellent! I made the following changes after reading reviews- 1. Used 1 c of sugar2. a splash of CointreauWe truly threw all the ingredients in a pot and simmered them.


I really liked this but I agree with other commenters - way too much sugar! I cut to one cup and still tasted plenty sweet to me. Aside from sugar, great combo of flavours!


Whipped this up at the last minute, cooled to warm and served. Cut sugar down based on other reviews. Otherwise followed exactly. This was delicious and my husband who doesn’t really like cranberries asked for me to save the recipe and make again!

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Cranberry Sauce With Orange and Golden Raisins Recipe (2024)


How to jazz up cranberry sauce? ›

Top with dried or fresh fruits

Sure, you can go all meta with some dried cranberries or sliced fresh raw cranberries, but I also like to think about complementary flavors — dried cherries, dried mulberries, golden raisins, chopped apricots. All work great with cranberry sauce.

How long will homemade cranberry sauce keep in the fridge? ›

When to Toss Cranberry Sauce. Cranberry sauce will last for two hours at room temperature. Homemade cranberry sauce will last in the fridge for 10 to 14 days. Canned cranberry sauce that has been opened will last up to a week in the fridge.

How can I thicken my homemade cranberry sauce? ›

Try reducing the sauce down even further so more of the liquid cooks off and the mixture thickens. If that doesn't work, add a thickener like gelatin, pectin or a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch whisked into juice or water). Let the sauce cool before refrigerating to completely set.

Why is my homemade cranberry sauce runny? ›

Mistake #2: Your Cranberry Sauce Is Too Runny

You may have added too much liquid to the cranberries. In addition to pectin, cranberries contain water, which means you only need to add a splash of liquid to get the cooking going. Add too much and you'll be stirring at the stove much longer than expected.

How do you upgrade canned cranberry sauce? ›

Stir-in one (or more) of the following add-ins to one can of whole or jellied cranberry sauce:
  1. 2 Tbsp. of orange juice plus 1 tsp. of finely grated orange peel.
  2. ½ can of mandarin oranges.
  3. ½ cup pineapple.
  4. ½ tsp. cinnamon.
  5. ½ cup chopped dried apricots.
  6. ½ cup toasted pecans.
  7. 2 Tbsp. Zinfandel Wine.
Aug 11, 2022

What takes the bitterness out of cranberry sauce? ›

"Instead, start by stirring in one tablespoon maple syrup and one teaspoon of a sweet drink like apple juice, orange juice, or fruity white or red wine. Add more to taste. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt (in small amounts, it intensifies sweetness)."

How long does homemade cranberry sauce stay fresh? ›

Properly stored, homemade cranberry sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 10 to 14 days. If you'd like to keep it for longer than that, pour the sauce into covered airtight containers or freezer-safe bags and freeze.

How do you know when cranberry sauce is done? ›

Pull the sauce off the stove once you hear or see the first few cranberries burst. You want some of them to burst but others to remain whole for the best texture. The sauce can be made up to 1 week in advance; keep refrigerated, and do not add the nuts until Thanksgiving Day, a few hours before serving.

Can I freeze my homemade cranberry sauce? ›

Yes, you can freeze homemade cranberry sauce—and it works well. It's best to store it in the freezer for up to 3 months; the taste may be affected due to its water content if frozen longer. Keep this in mind when putting away your leftover sauce and use it during this optimal period as part of an easy weeknight dinner.

What if I put too much water in my cranberry sauce? ›

If you inadvertently added too much water, simply bring the cranberry sauce back to the stove top and bring it to a low boil, cooking it down just a bit to help thicken it up.

Does homemade cranberry sauce thicken when it cools? ›

Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Why is my cranberry sauce seedy? ›

Why is my cranberry sauce so seedy? Cranberries do have seeds inside them. Sometimes, when using frozen cranberries, if it does not cook long enough, the seeds may not break down. This can cause the sauce to taste seedy.

What thickens cranberry sauce? ›

The sugar in the syrup helps the mixture thicken. It could also be because you haven't cooked the mixture long enough. The cranberries need to cook long enough to burst so that they release plenty of pectin which is a thickener naturally found in cranberries.

Is canned cranberry sauce better than homemade? ›

While there are some editors who prefer homemade cranberry sauce, the canned variety also has quite a following. "There's something so beautifully perfect about the texture of canned cranberry sauce, and none of those homemade mess will ever compete," says Senior Digital Food Editor Kimberly Holland.

Should cranberry sauce be served hot or cold? ›

Is cranberry sauce supposed to be hot or cold? Either! Some prefer to have it served fresh and warm, straight out of the pot, while others need it completely cooled down to enjoy the flavours. Personally, we prefer cooled sauce.

What can I mix with cranberry juice to make it taste better? ›

I sweetened my juice with honey which adds a sweet floral touch to the beverage. I also use a couple of freshly squeezed oranges which gives the juice a nice hint of citrus flavor. I'm sure apple juice or apple cider would work well too.

How do you serve jarred cranberry sauce? ›

You open the can, slide the contents onto a plate, and either slice it into neat rounds, or break it into chunks to serve it. I have known people to eat it with a spoon straught out of the jar. Some people arrange round slices of cranberry sauce on lettuce leaves and top them with mandarin oranges from a can.

Do you have to do anything to canned cranberry sauce? ›

It's perfectly fine to serve up cranberry sauce — whole berry or jelled — straight out of the can. But in my experience, heating the canned sauce up takes its flavor to the next level. Plus, it becomes a little more aesthetically pleasing.

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