Easy Fresh Cranberry Relish Recipe (3 Ingredients!)

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This homemade, easy, fresh cranberry relish is a delightful balance of tart flavors and sweetness with a hint of citrus from the orange peel. It’s so fresh! Adjust the sugar to your liking, and feel free to customize it with additional ingredients like cinnamon or grated ginger for added depth of flavor. Only 3 ingredients and 10 minutes!

Serve with ham roast, pork chops, pork tenderloin, or Thanksgiving turkey.

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Best Easy Fresh Cranberry Relish!

Every Thanksgiving dinner, you will see this homemade cranberry relish as a part of our holiday meal. I prefer the raw cranberry relish over the cooked traditional cranberry sauce as it adds a bright and fresh element to the meal. Some of the family likes it with pecans and others without- either way; this relish has the perfect balance of flavors!

Serve for Christmas dinner or any meal during the holiday season. It’s simply the best cranberry relish and so easy to make. We love it with our leftover turkey tacos.

Fresh cranberry relish in a serving bowl with cranberries around it.

Simple Ingredients

With these high-quality ingredients, you’ll create a cranberry orange relish that’s visually stunning and delicious. Prepare to savor the perfect blend of sweet, tart, and citrusy goodness in every spoonful!

ingredient shot.
  • Vibrant Fresh Cranberries (12 ounces): Start with a bag of plump, ruby-red cranberries. These little gems are the star of the show, bringing a delightful burst of tartness to balance the sweetness.
  • Juicy, Flavor-Packed Orange (1 medium-sized): Opt for a fresh, aromatic orange with a fragrant peel. We will use the whole orange, including its zest, to infuse the relish with citrusy brightness and a subtle bitter note.
  • Sweet Granulated Sugar (1 cup): This natural sweetener is the perfect partner for cranberries, mellowing their tartness and creating a harmonious blend of flavors. Adjust the amount to suit your taste preferences.
  • Crunchy Walnuts or Pecans (1/4 cup, optional): For those who crave a delightful textural contrast, consider adding some chopped nuts to the mix. Walnuts or pecans lend a satisfying crunch and a nutty richness.
  • Zesty Orange Zest (1 teaspoon, optional): A hint of freshly grated orange zest can be sprinkled into the relish to amplify the orange essence. This step elevates the citrus aroma and flavor.
  • Salt: just a pinch to bring out the flavors.
  • Optional: fresh ginger, cinnamon, tart green apples.

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Cranberry Relish Recipe (Step-By-Step Photos)

This easy recipe for orange cranberry relish is made using an entire orange and a bag of fresh cranberries. The raw ingredients give an extra nutrition boost!

How to make easy fresh cranberry relish step-by-step: adding oranges to food processor.

Prepare the Ingredients: Rinse the fresh cranberries under cold water, and allow them to drain in a colander. Wash the orange thoroughly, cut it into quarters, and remove any seeds.

How to make easy fresh cranberry relish step-by-step: blending oranges in food processor.

Blend the Orange: In a food processor, add the quartered orange pieces. Pulse several times until the orange is finely chopped. Be sure to include the orange peel; it adds a lot of flavor.

How to make easy fresh cranberry relish step-by-step: adding cranberries to the oranges.

Add Cranberries: Add the rinsed and drained cranberries to the food processor with the chopped orange.

How to make easy fresh cranberry relish step-by-step: blended cranberries and oranges.

Pulse again a few times to combine them. You want the cranberries to be coarsely chopped but not completely pureed.

How to make easy fresh cranberry relish step-by-step: adding sugar to the oranges and cranberries in the food processor.

Add Sugar: Add the granulated sugar and salt (and cinnamon if using) to the food processor with the orange and cranberries. Pulse again a few times to mix everything together. Taste the relish and adjust the amount of sugar if needed, depending on your preference for sweetness. Optional Nuts.

How to make easy fresh cranberry relish step-by-step: blended relish in the food processor.

Chill and Serve: Transfer the cranberry orange relish to a bowl or airtight container. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
Serve: Add a fresh sprig of mint and orange slice on top before serving. Serve your fresh cranberry orange relish as a side dish or condiment with turkey, chicken, ham, or any other dish that pairs well with cranberry sauce. Enjoy!

Fresh cranberry relish in a serving bowl with cranberries around it. Orange slices on the side.

It’s a great recipe for your Thanksgiving table that comes together in 10 minutes. Once you make this homemade cranberry sauce, you won’t need the canned store-bought!

Variations

Here are some delightful recipe variations for cranberry orange relish that you can experiment with to suit your taste preferences:

  • Spiced Cranberry Orange Relish:
    • Add a pinch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves for a warm, holiday-inspired flavor.
    • A dash of freshly grated ginger can provide a subtle, spicy kick.
  • Herb-Infused Cranberry Orange Relish:
    • Mix in finely chopped fresh herbs like mint, basil, or cilantro for a refreshing twist.
    • Try a touch of rosemary for a fragrant, earthy note.
  • Nutty Crunch Cranberry Orange Relish:
    • Experiment with different nuts such as almonds, cashews, or hazelnuts for a unique texture and flavor.
    • Toast the nuts lightly before adding them to enhance their nuttiness.
  • Dried Fruit Cranberry Orange Relish:
    • Incorporate chopped dried fruits like apricots, raisins, or dates for a chewy, sweet dimension.
    • Soak the dried fruits briefly in warm water or juice to plump them up before mixing.
  • Savory Cranberry Orange Relish:
    • Balance the sweetness with a touch of savory by adding finely diced red onion or shallots.
    • A splash of balsamic vinegar or a drizzle of olive oil can provide depth and complexity.
  • Hot and Spicy Cranberry Orange Relish:
    • For those who enjoy heat, mix in finely chopped jalapeños or red chili flakes.
    • A drop or two of hot sauce can also add a fiery kick.
  • Liqueur-Infused Cranberry Orange Relish:
    • Enhance the adult version by adding a splash of Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or bourbon for a boozy twist.
    • Let the relish sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Citrus Medley Cranberry Orange Relish:
    • Instead of just one orange, use a combination of citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines for a multi-layered citrus experience.
  • Minty Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish:
    • Stir in finely chopped fresh mint leaves for a refreshing and herby element.
Fresh cranberry relish in a serving bowl with cranberries around it. Gold spoon next to it.

Equipment

How to Store

Storing cranberry orange relish properly is important to maintain its freshness and flavor. Here’s how to store it:

  • Refrigerate: Cranberry orange relish should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Transfer the relish from the food processor into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. Sealing: Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent air from getting in, which can cause the relish to dry out or lose flavor.
  • Shelf Life: Cranberry orange relish can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 to 2 weeks. After this period, it may start to lose its freshness and flavor.
  • Freezing (Optional): If you have a large batch of cranberry orange relish or want to extend its shelf life, you can freeze it. Place the relish in an airtight, freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use it.

Enjoy it with roasted meats, poultry, sandwiches, or as a delightful topping for desserts like cheesecake or ice cream. Leftover cranberry relish is great on a homemade roll for a leftover turkey sandwich.

spoon holding a portion of the fresh cranberry relish to show texture.

Top Tips for Best Results

Top tips to help you make the best cranberry orange relish and store it effectively:

  • Choose Fresh Ingredients: Start with fresh cranberries and a ripe juicy orange. High-quality ingredients will result in a tastier relish.
  • Wash and Drain Cranberries: Rinse the cranberries under cold water and allow them to drain thoroughly before using them. This helps remove any impurities and excess moisture.
  • Include Orange Peel: Don’t skip using the whole orange, including the peel. The orange zest adds a burst of citrus flavor and aroma to the relish.
  • Adjust Sugar to Taste: Taste the relish as you add the sugar and adjust the sweetness to your liking. Some prefer it sweeter, while others prefer a more tart relish.
  • Pulse for Texture: Use short pulses in the food processor to control the texture of the relish. You want it to be coarsely chopped but not completely pureed.
  • Experiment with Variations: Don’t be afraid to try different variations by adding spices, herbs, nuts, or other fruits to create a unique flavor profile.

FAQs

Can I use frozen cranberries instead of fresh ones?

Yes, you can use frozen cranberries if fresh ones are not available. Just be sure to thaw and drain them before using them in the recipe.

Can I substitute other sweeteners for granulated sugar?

Yes, you can use alternative sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, or agave nectar to substitute white sugar, but remember that they will impart their own flavors. Adjust the amount to taste.

Can I make this relish in advance?

Yes, fresh cranberry relish can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator. It often tastes even better after the flavors have had a chance to meld.

Can I use a blender instead of a food processor?

While a food processor is ideal for maintaining a coarser texture, you can use a blender on a low setting or pulse mode to achieve a similar result. Just be careful not to overblend and make it too smooth.

How long does fresh cranberry relish last in the refrigerator?

Cranberry orange relish can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks when properly sealed in an airtight container.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

What to Serve with Cranberry Relish

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Easy Fresh Cranberry Relish Recipe

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5 from 1 review

This homemade, easy, fresh cranberry relish is a delightful balance of tart flavors and sweetness with a hint of citrus from the orange peel. It’s so fresh! Adjust the sugar to your liking, and feel free to customize it with additional ingredients like cinnamon or grated ginger for added depth of flavor. Only 3 ingredients and 10 minutes!

  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 bag (12 ounces or 1 bag) fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium orange, washed and cut into quarters (leave the skin on)
  • 1/2 cup3/4 cup granulated sugar (adjust to taste)
  • Pinch of Salt

Optional:

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon extra orange zest (optional, for extra orange flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, for added flavor)
  • See Notes for more ideas

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Ingredients: Rinse the fresh cranberries under cold water, and allow them to drain in a colander. Wash the orange thoroughly, cut it into quarters, and remove any seeds.
  2. Blend the Orange: In a food processor, add the quartered orange pieces. Pulse several times until the orange is finely chopped. Be sure to include the orange peel; it adds a lot of flavor. You can adjust the texture to your liking – pulse more for a finer texture or less for a chunkier relish.
  3. Add Cranberries: Add the rinsed and drained cranberries to the food processor with the chopped orange. Pulse again a few times to combine them. You want the cranberries to be coarsely chopped but not completely pureed.
  4. Add Sugar: Add the granulated sugar and salt (and cinnamon if using) to the food processor with the orange and cranberries. Pulse again a few times to mix everything together. Taste the relish and adjust the amount of sugar if needed, depending on your preference for sweetness. Optional Nuts and Zest: If you’d like to add some texture and extra flavor, you can pulse in the chopped nuts and orange zest at this stage. Pulse just a few times to incorporate them.
  5. Chill and Serve: Transfer the cranberry orange relish to a bowl or airtight container. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
  6. Serve: Add a fresh sprig of mint and orange slice on top before serving. Serve your fresh cranberry orange relish as a side dish or condiment with turkey, chicken, ham, or any other dish that pairs well with cranberry sauce. Enjoy!

Notes

Variations

Spiced Cranberry Orange Relish: Add a pinch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves for a warm, holiday-inspired flavor. A dash of freshly grated ginger can provide a subtle, spicy kick.

Herb-Infused Cranberry Orange Relish: Mix in finely chopped fresh herbs like mint, basil, or cilantro for a refreshing twist. Try a touch of rosemary for a fragrant, earthy note.

Nutty Crunch Cranberry Orange Relish: Experiment with different nuts such as almonds, cashews, or hazelnuts for a unique texture and flavor. Toast the nuts lightly before adding them to enhance their nuttiness.

Dried Fruit Cranberry Orange Relish: incorporate chopped dried fruits like apricots, raisins, or dates for a chewy, sweet dimension. Soak the dried fruits briefly in warm water or juice to plump them up before mixing.

Savory Cranberry Orange Relish: Balance the sweetness with a touch of savory by adding finely diced red onion or shallots. A splash of balsamic vinegar or a drizzle of olive oil can provide depth and complexity.

Hot and Spicy Cranberry Orange Relish: For those who enjoy heat, mix in finely chopped jalapeños or red chili flakes. A drop or two of hot sauce can also add a fiery kick.

Liqueur-Infused Cranberry Orange Relish: Enhance the adult version by adding a splash of Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or bourbon for a boozy twist. Let the relish sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

Citrus Medley Cranberry Orange Relish: Instead of just one orange, combine citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines for a multi-layered citrus experience.

Minty Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish: Stir in finely chopped fresh mint leaves for a refreshing and herby element.

Make Ahead and Storage

Refrigerate: Cranberry orange relish should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Transfer the relish from the food processor into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. Sealing: Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent air from getting in, which can cause the relish to dry out or lose flavor.

Shelf Life: Cranberry orange relish can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 to 2 weeks. After this period, it may start to lose its freshness and flavor.

Freezing (Optional): If you have a large batch of cranberry orange relish or want to extend its shelf life, you can freeze it. Place the relish in an airtight, freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use it.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: NA
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: American
  • Cuisine: American

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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