Easy Cranberry Orange Relish Recipe with a Ginger Twist

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orange cranberry relish

What’s Up, Hungry People

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the cranberry sauce—or relish, as I prefer to call it. Unlike the traditional sauce, relish is chunky and offers a delightful variety of flavors, from sweet to a unique kind of spicy. My secret? I like my relish with just a hint of heat. The source of that subtle zing might surprise you—it’s not spicy peppers, but tangy pickled ginger. Just enough to let the heat gently wave through the tart cranberries.

As simple as it may sound, this cranberry relish has become my all-time favorite. It’s so irresistibly good that I forgot to snap any progress shots and almost finished it off before remembering that I ought to share this recipe with you! But here’s some great news: cranberry relish is not only delicious but also highly preservable. Properly sealed and stored, it can stay fresh for at least a year, making it a perfect make-ahead treat for any festive occasion.

tangy cranberry relish recipe

Here’s What You Need

  • Fresh cranberries or thawed frozen: Adds tartness and texture to the relish.
  • Orange: Provides zest and fresh citrus flavor, complements cranberries.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the relish, balancing the cranberries’ tartness.
  • Brown sugar: Offers a deeper, caramel-like sweetness.
  • Pickled ginger: Introduces a unique, tangy heat to the relish.
  • Lime juice: Adds a bright, acidic touch to enhance the flavors.
  • Grand Marnier or similar orange liqueur, or honey bourbon: Infuses subtle orange or warm bourbon notes.
  • Lime zest: Contributes a zesty, floral aroma.
  • Orange zest: Enhances citrus flavor, adding depth.
  • Salt: Sharpens and balances the overall flavors of the relish.

Let’s Cook

First things first, grab your saucepan and toss in all the cranberries along with both the white and brown sugars. We’re starting sweet! Make sure your stove is set to a medium-high heat to get things rolling.

Adding the Flavor Kick

Next, let’s spice things up a bit—add in that tangy pickled ginger and the orange liqueur (or honey bourbon if you’re going that route). This combo brings the heat and the sweet, creating a perfect flavor balance.

Let the Cooking Begin

Keep stirring the mix occasionally. You’ll know it’s done when the cranberries have softened and started to burst open—this is where all those flavors really start to meld together. Once you’re at this stage, remove the pan from the heat. Give it a few more stirs off the heat just to make sure everything is nicely broken down and mingled.

Blend It Up

Now, transfer everything into your food processor or blender. This is where the magic happens! Add the lime juice, a splash of orange juice for that extra citrusy punch, and both the lime and orange zests. Give it a few pulses with some fresh cranberries for an extra burst of freshness. Don’t forget to season with a pinch of salt to round out all those zesty, sweet flavors.

The Final Touch

Pulse everything until it’s smooth. Once you’ve achieved the right consistency, transfer your relish into a serving bowl. Let it cool down to room temperature, then pop it into the fridge to chill until you’re ready to serve.

Cranberry Crafting Tips

  • Choose the Right Cranberries: Ensure your cranberries are firm and vibrant in color. Soft, mushy cranberries may affect the texture of your relish. When selecting cranberries, look for ones that are glossy and firm, avoiding any that look shriveled or discolored. This will ensure the best texture and flavor in your relish.
  • Balancing Flavors: If your relish tastes too tart after cooking, you can adjust the sweetness by adding a little more sugar or honey. If it’s too sweet, add a bit more lime juice. This will help you achieve the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
  • Storing Your Relish: If you plan to store your cranberry relish, ensure it is in airtight containers. Properly sealed, it can last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and in the freezer for several months. This makes it an excellent make-ahead option for busy holiday seasons.
  • Serving Suggestions: Cranberry orange relish is versatile and pairs well with more than just turkey. Try it with pork, chicken, or even as a tangy addition to sandwiches. Its vibrant color and flavor make it a festive addition to any meal.
cranberry relish for holidays

So there you have it, Hungry People—a cranberry orange relish that’s not just for Thanksgiving but a year-round delight for any table. With its perfect balance of sweet and tart, spiked with a hint of ginger heat, this relish is a testament to how a few simple ingredients can create something truly special. Easy to make and even easier to enjoy, it’s a surefire hit whether you’re hosting a festive gathering or just spicing up a weekday meal. Don’t forget, if you make a larger batch, you can always can it for later use, ensuring you have a little taste of joy ready whenever you need it. Happy cooking, and here’s to adding a little extra zest to your dishes!

orange cranberry relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

The Starving Chef
Enjoy a tangy blend of cranberries and citrus with a hint of ginger in this easy-to-make cranberry orange relish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 35 minutes
Course Christmas, Thanksgiving
Cuisine Holidays, Sauce
Servings 4


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries or thawed frozen
  • 1 orange zested & peeled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pickled ginger can sub regular minced ginger
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or similar orange liquer or honey bourbon
  • ¼ cup lime zest
  • ¼ cup orange zest
  • pinch salt


  • Place all the cranberries, white sugar, and brown sugar into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and orange liqueur. Stir occasionally, until the cranberries have completely softened and begun to burst.
  • Remove from the heat and continue to stir to break down the cranberries. Allow cooling for a few minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender. Add the lime juice, orange juice, lime zest, and orange zest. Pulse in fresh cranberries. Season with a pinch of salt, to taste.
  • Pulse until smooth, then immediately transfer to a bowl. Cool to room temperature, then cover and chill until ready to serve. Enjoy with a variety of meats or serve as a condiment on Thanksgiving.


Keyword cranberry, orange, relish
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