Cranberry-Orange Sauce

As a kid I never knew that the sweet/tart flavor of cranberry sauce would perfectly complement my lean, mild turkey. That’s because every year of my childhood there was a mysterious gelatinous red log that sat, untouched, on our Thanksgiving table. How could it indefinitely retain it’s perfect canned shape? As an adult I now understand the “how”, but will never “why” people still buy that stuff. As a child I never ate the congealed red goo growing up, so now as a parent would never pass on such an absurd “tradition” to my own children. Why would I spend 6 hours making a Turkey, and then not spend 15 or 20 minutes on fresh cranberry sauce.

No cranberry flavored Jell-O in my house.


  1. Ocean Spray supplies 75% of the total world-wide market of cranberries, but has a 100% monopoly on the supermarket supply of cranberries in my area. The lack of competition has resulted in inferior berries. I usually have to throw away up to 1/4 of the bag, because they sell unripe berries intermixed with ripe one. The monopoly means that I have no alternative.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $2.20 for 2-1/4 cups.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 1:00 PM. Ready at 1:25 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today are given below:

1 cup sugar (7-1/2 ounces)
3/4-cup water
1 tablespoon grated orange zest, from 2 oranges.
1/4 teaspoon salt
12-oz bag cranberries.
2 tablespoons orange Triple Sec or Grand Marnier

  1. Picked through your cranberries and discard those that are not ripe. Wash in cold water.
  2. In a medium saucepan set over high heat, bring water, sugar, orange zest, and salt to boil. Stir occasionally while the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add washed cranberries to pan, return the mixture to a boil over medium burner for 5 minutes, without stirring.
  4. Reduce to medium/low heat and simmer until about two-thirds of berries have popped open and sauce thickens, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the Triple Sec.
  6. Place in serving bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. You can make cranberry sauce up to 7 days ahead; but be sure to allow  to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

3 Responses to Cranberry-Orange Sauce

  1. Debby says:

    I agree. I started making my own cranberry sauce a few years ago. It’s so easy! I use orange juice and zest, but the triple sec is a great idea! I even can a big batch of cranberry sauce, so it will last me for the year. I cook turkey breasts year-round.

    • Chris Kimball complains about orange juice and says zest it the way to go. My friend who invited us to Thanksgiving could taste that there was something else, but she couldn’t guess the Triple Sec, but loved the complexity.

      Do you can it or keep it in the fridge in order to keep it an entire year?

  2. Anonymous says:

    It was awesome!!

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