This 3-ingredient Cranberry Relish has been a family favorite for generations! It’s sweet and tangy and perfect paired with Thanksgiving turkey or served with chicken or pork.

In our family there are two groups of people; the gravy lovers and the cranberry lovers.  I am the leader of the latter group and I love to serve this cranberry relish on just about everything, but especially on my famous Thanksgiving Turkey!

A clear glass bowl of fresh cranberry relish with an orange slice on top.

Guys, I’ve already started my Thanksgiving menu planning. I’m going to throw in some new favorites this year to accompany our regulars.

We’ve been enjoying this Fresh Cranberry Relish at Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until recent years attending Thanksgiving dinner at friends homes that I’ve come to realize an ugly truth: Not everyone likes cranberry sauce!

GAH! How can this be, right? I’ll tell you how–> they have never tried this type of cranberry “sauce”. It’s technically a “relish” because the cranberries are not cooked and everything is cold and raw, BUT this stuff is pure gold. Honestly, it’s good enough to eat with a spoon.

What I LOVE about this recipe:

  • 3 ingredients.  Real, raw ingredients that are packed with flavor!
  • 5 minute prep.  No cook time! Just throw everything in a food processor and it’s ready to go!
  • Sweet and tangy. The flavors from the orange zest and the fresh cranberries go perfectly together, and the sugar adds the extra sweetness that the raw cranberries need.

Food processor with whole cranberries, orange slices and sugar in it.

Cranberry Relish or Cranberry sauce?

There is an important difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry relish and that is that cranberry relish is made from raw ingredients blended in a food processor (it’s more fresh and tart tasting) and cranberry sauce is cooked and often much sweeter than relish.

Serve Cranberry Relish on:

You could serve cranberry relish on many things but I particularly recommend:

  • Homemade rolls
  • Sandwiches (I love to use it in place of mayonnaise)
  • Turkey (or other roasted meats)
  • Yogurt – stir it into your favorite yogurt
  • Waffles – I love to serve it on top of homemade Belgian waffles.

Make ahead, Storing and Freezing Instructions:

To make-ahead: Cranberry relish can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

To freeze: Store cranberry relish in a freezer safe container for 2-3 months.  To use, remove it from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator.

More recipes for Fresh Cranberries:

A bowl of cranberry relish with a spoon serving a spoonful.
Don’t miss these Thanksgiving staples:

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A clear glass bowl of fresh cranberry relish with an orange slice on top.
Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange , with the peel ON
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


  • Slice the very edge root ends off of the orange, just until you see the flesh. Leave the rest of the skin ON the orange and slice it into 8 pieces.
  • Place the fresh cranberries, orange slices and sugar in your food processor and process until smooth (or until no large chunks remain).
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve (it tastes best after being in the fridge for at least on hour) or for up to 1 week. Serve over turkey, chicken, pork loin etc.


To make-ahead: Cranberry relish can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To freeze: Store cranberry relish in a freezer safe container for 2-3 months.  To use, remove it from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator.


Calories: 330kcalCarbohydrates: 85gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 175mgFiber: 6gSugar: 75gVitamin A: 165IUVitamin C: 38.3mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 0.3mg

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I originally shared this recipe November 2016. Updated with improved photos and instructions October 2019.

The BEST Cranberry Relish ever! So much better than regular cranberry sauce! | Tastes Better From Scratch

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Started making this recipe with my mom 60 yrs ago. Our food processor is a old crank meat grinder. We use navel oranges since they are seedless. We make it 1 -2 days before so the flavors blend.

  2. I didn’t measure but used what berries I had, added Myers lemons – pureed with the sweet yummy skin, frozen – from my yard, then sugar to taste. I tried it with some kiwis I pureed and froze this summer plus sugar. Not great. when my navel oranges come ripe on Jan 15, I will puree them for next Turkey day.

  3. 5 stars
    I love this recipe; it is so easy & fast & tastes oh so good. To diabetics fyi: I buy Pyure Stevia blend on amazon. It doesn’t spike your blood sugar, tastes just like sugar. Use 1/2 the amt. of sugar in this or any other recipe calling for sugar.

  4. 5 stars
    The only difference between this amazing recipe and my family’s recipe is lemon Jello.

    We cut the sugar to 1/4 to 1/3 cup and after the 3 ingredients have been processed, the ingredients are mixed into jello that is about 30% set into form (no longer a watery form but still not gelatinous).

    After mixing into jello it needs to cure for another couple hours and wha-la!

    I know it’s no longer raw ingredients with the jello twist…but it’s still amazing.

    Now I want to try it without the jello!

  5. 5 stars
    i left out the orange rind and it is still delicious! it was a little sweet for me so next time i would do a little less sugar. thank you!

  6. Excellent! Brings back a flood of holiday memories for me. My Mom is 96 and I was blessed with best of the best cooks. If my Mom did not grow it we did not eat it. Three buffet meals per day. She made a cranberry relish every Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as other times of the year. Happy Holiday to you and your family.

  7. 5 stars
    Perfect Recipe! Thank you for the recipe. It was wonderful. And I went to TWO dinners, but made enough for four. It always disappears, but this time I didn’t bring any home!

  8. 5 stars
    I make this recipe every Thanksgiving, it reminds me of my grandma. My husband likes it more smooth and sweet and I like it a little more bite to mine, so I cut the food processor time. I recently started to add pomegranate arils after everything is all blended! Give it a try.

  9. 5 stars
    Made this today, used 1/2 the sugar and added some gooseberries to the mix. Delicious! wanted to make it early so flavors could form overnight.

  10. My uncle has a cranberry farm and his mother’s recipe adds a cored unpeeled apple and chopped walnuts. I toast raw walnuts for a little extra nutty crunch and stir in after grinding other ingredients.

  11. This is the same way I make this relish but I add chopped up pecans or walnuts. That addition really makes it super.

  12. 2 stars
    I made this 2 days earlier for thanksgiving as I’ve never tried cranberry relish before. I was disappointed the orange was overpowering and I hardly taste the cranberries. I left some of the peel out afraid the pith would make it bitter. Not sure what went wrong, I really wanted to like it ☹️

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t like it! Did you add the sugar? Maybe your oranges weren’t very sweet? I make this several times a year and never have a problem.

    1. 5 stars
      With supermarket oranges that have a lot of pith, I like to peel the oranges and scrape away part of the pith before tossing peels and sections into the processor. Also I’ve started adding just a splash of Grand Marnier — not the way my mama did it, but it’s gooood… 😉

  13. Very easy and delicious! I added more cranberries to change the balance of the orange:cranberry which was opposite of what I was hoping. Added chopped pecans and a little Cointreau.

  14. I haven’t made this Cranberry sauce yet but I’m not real good on the kitchen, so I’m wondering if brown sugar can be used. Thanks Happy Thanksgiving

  15. 5 stars
    I hve been making this for years using my grandmother’s meat grinder! Works perfectly and even if you don’t have a food processor, you can still enjoy it.

  16. 5 stars
    My cranberries were fresh fresh from the grower so very sweet. I only used 1/2 sugar and I will try with none next time. So easy and good.

  17. 5 stars
    This is the best cranberry relish recipe. Great with the full turkey dinner and even better on leftover turkey sandwiches. I add a shot of triple sec or other liquor to the mix just before serving it on Thanksgiving for flavorful touch.

  18. 5 stars
    We own a catering company and was skeptical with so few ingredients. I looked at another recipe that was 2hr and 10 min total as opposed to 5 min. I love fresh ingredients (premise of our company) and this recipe is divine!! We are going to serve as is but going to pull a little aside and add fresh mint and cracked pepper to see where it goes. LOVE THIS!!

  19. 5 stars
    I love this recipe!! It is delicious and I could eat it all day. I absolutely make it to eat on rolls and yogurt, whether there is a turkey in sight or not! I used honey instead of sugar most recently, and I couldn’t tell the difference- just use the sugar-to-honey conversion (I used between 1/2 and 3/4 cup honey).

  20. 5 stars
    Read comments, and sounds like a tradition for many. I just tried for 1st time.
    I have lost 40 lbs. and am trying to incorporate healtier alternatives. Our usual cranberry pomegranate juice is 4 points on WW.
    Made this recipe with Gentle Sweet instead of sugar and is delicious. Only thing is it tastes more like orange to me than cranberry. Probably depends on the orange that’s used.

  21. We use an old fashion food grinder to make ours … more texture to the cranberry relish … and add walnuts …delicious

  22. My Mom made this every Thanksgiving and I had lost the recipe. This tasted exactly like hers! Very refreshing and went so well with the turkey. I was able to make it ahead and it kept very well for several days. Next time I would food process the ingredients in two stages. The bottom half of my cranberry relish was blended very fine, the top was not. Even after stirring it was ground much finer than I wanted.

    1. My mom too. She passed away last month and I never got her recipe. I think she added an apple and pecans to her’s as well.

  23. I have never made anything with fresh cranberries and I am always a little curious when I see someone grab a bag at the store. Well, I won’t be anymore because this was fabulous! Even my pickiest eaters love this cranberry relish! So sweet and refreshing!

  24. I make this but only use about 2/3 c sugar. It’s a fresh light flavor with all those potatoes stuffing and other heavy foods. Love it!!!!

  25. I just made my recipe of fresh cranberry relish
    1 bag fresh cranberries rinsed chopped in food processor
    1 large apple cored and cut into smaller pieces chopped in food processor
    1 large seedless orange washed cut into 1/3” pieces chopped skin and all. Remove seeds if any
    1/4 C Agave syrup or honey. More if you want it sweeter
    Mix everything together.

    YUMMY and healthy.

  26. every year. Usually I use orange zest and cut up the orange. This year I cut it up in slices and threw it in the bullet. Worked out well. I do the cranberries and walnuts in the bullet as well

  27. 5 stars
    This is a basic uncooked relish that we eat every year. If you want it cooked look for a sauce recipe. I made a sauce last year. Both are good.

    1. I’ve been making this recipe for 30 + years. Originally got it off of the Ocean Spray package. The sugar makes it sweet enough to eat uncooked. My son called last night to get the recipe. It is a family favorite. Great on leftover turkey sandwiches as a condiment. Try it and enjoy!

    2. I don’t cook my cranberries either. 1 lb berrys, 1 orange remove the naval opening but leave rind on. Cut into 6 pieces. Place Cranberries, orange and 1 cup sugar in food processor and make sure no lumps remain. Thats it.. delicious!!!

  28. I make our relish the same way with one exception, soak cranberries in cold water, this is something my Mom would do. The relish turns out to be a favorite wit our grandchild.

  29. 5 stars
    thank you for posting this, I lost my recipe of it in my last move. The only thing that I would add is that I make it at least a day in advance so the sugar can work its magic.

  30. I don’t like the bitter taste from the pith of the orange. To solve that problem I zest the orange then peel it. I then use the zest and meat of the orange instead of the WHOLE orange.

  31. I am 77 years old and have eaten this my entire life. Now my granddaughters help in the annual tradition of making it. We use an old meat grinder and they fight over who gets to turn the handle. Some gets sent home with them and I hoard the rest!

  32. I love this recipe, and if you wish to make it when fresh cranberry’s are out of season you can use a can of chunky cranberry sauce and 1/3!cup of sugar and it tastes awesome as well

  33. 5 stars
    After decades of making a sauce on the stove (often winding up with minimal to no jelling), I tried this one out for Turkey Day, as the ingredients most closely match my stovetop recipe – and this one uses less sugar. My guests and family loved it – and I did too. So guess what?

    You guessed it: I am making it again for Christmas Dinner.

    Thank you for a simple, easy and absolutely delicious relish recipe!


  34. Well I’m 75 years old and my mom made this recipe . I have been eating cranberry relish for almost all of my 75 years . At times I wonder just how old this recipe could be …
    I tell my grandchildren I think Adam and Eve enjoyed this relish back in the day ..

  35. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe over the weekend and it was a big success! I followed some of the earlier comments on the recipe and added some pineapple, pecans and only put in half an orange. It was delicious, thanks for this recipe!

  36. 5 stars
    Perfect tart/sweetness. Super quick and easy and only 3 ingredients. Love that it can be made ahead. Will definitely make it again.

  37. Mine is so bitter, today! I don’t know what went wrong, or how to fix it. 🙁 Used Monkfruit blend instead of sugar, could it be a bad reaction with the cranberries? Poor quality (sour, bland) oranges?

    1. I do a LOT of cooking/baking with monkfruit extract (my partner is diabetic.) There are challenges, adjustments, and differences involved, but bitterness is not one of them. In fact, I find monkfruit substitution most successful in fruit-based dishes. If you ended up with a bitter relish, the culprit is far more likely the orange– sometimes you just get a bitter one. I have taken to tasting a small sample from any orange I am using in a recipe since I ruined a dish years ago when a bitter one got into the mix.

  38. 4 stars
    Thanks for posting this recipe. I have it at home but decided to take our Thanksgiving meal out of town this year and left my recipe at home; just needed the amounts of each. This was a family favorite since I was a young boy and always loved it and now have made it a tradition in my family. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if we didn’t have this. I like your ideas and plan to try some of them out also for some other recipes.

  39. 5 stars
    Awesome. super tasty, super easy to make, stress free prepare ahead..
    the taste suits my understanding of winter also with the light orange note 🙂 Love it

  40. I gave this relish as Christmas gifts
    It was a hit!! Now I’m making it for Easter! Easiest recipe EVER!!!

  41. I throw in a handful of chopped pecans for a little crunch. I love crunch. Try it and you will always add some chopped pecans

  42. 5 stars
    This is a great side dish. I have made it in batches for several years, but I add an unpeeled Granny Smith Apple (the green ones) to mine. This also freezes wonderfully well, so I make a big batch and have it frozen in serving sizes to use all summer.

  43. 5 stars
    The wonderful memories my mom made it every Thanksgiving . I made it last year & so glad I did as it was my last Thanksgiving with my dad. This also freezes well.

  44. 4 stars
    I first learned this recipe from my MIL many years ago. She first zested the orange, then cut away the bitter pith before grinding, and we prefer it that way. She also added 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Yum!

  45. Love this recipe!! Taking to a friend’s home for Thanksgiving meal(s). I do love the freshness and tart/sweet taste. I could so easily top vanilla ice cream with this (plus chopped pecans).
    Happy Holidays!!

  46. 5 stars
    Oh the memories this brings back! My mother & I would make this every year together. In fact, it was the first thing we made that officially started the holiday season. She would crank it through an antique meat grinder she had gotten from her mother. When I started making it for my family, I tweaked it just a bit. I added fresh red grape halves and chopped pecans. A total winner ?

  47. This is an old family favorite, I might suggest one addition….that being pineapple, when I grind the cranberries and oranges together I always add pineapple with some of its juice, it gives it a distinctive flavor.

    1. Our family recipe has both pineapple and apple with the orange and cranberry. The original recipe is through the meat grinder which gives it more texture and eye appeal in my opinion. This is my favorite part of Thanksgiving (and other meals) – especially when paired with yam.