Homemade Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a quintessential part of holiday feasts, adding a burst of tart and sweet flavors to complement the savory dishes on the table. While traditional cranberry sauce is undoubtedly delicious, there’s always room for innovation and experimentation. Enter Citrus Cranberry Sauce – a delightful twist on the classic recipe that infuses the bright and zesty notes of citrus fruits into this festive condiment.

The Perfect Fusion of Tart and Tangy: Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and limes, bring a unique and vibrant dimension to the standard cranberry sauce. The natural acidity of citrus pairs exceptionally well with the tartness of cranberries, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that dance on the palate. The result is a sauce that is not only delicious but also refreshing.

Ingredients: To whip up a batch of Citrus Cranberry Sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed for optimal flavor)
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)


  1. Rinse the cranberries under cold water and discard any bruised or damaged ones.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, water, and citrus zest.
  3. If desired, add a cinnamon stick to infuse a warm and spicy undertone to the sauce.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens to your liking.
  6. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the sauce cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  7. Once cooled, discard the cinnamon stick and transfer the Citrus Cranberry Sauce to a serving dish.

Serving Suggestions: Citrus Cranberry Sauce is a versatile accompaniment that goes beyond the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Here are some delightful ways to incorporate it into your holiday spread:

  1. Sandwiches: Spread the sauce on leftover turkey or ham sandwiches for a tangy and sweet kick.
  2. Appetizers: Use Citrus Cranberry Sauce as a topping for cream cheese or goat cheese on crackers for an easy and delicious appetizer.
  3. Desserts: Get creative and incorporate the sauce into desserts like tarts, pies, or cheesecakes for a citrusy twist.

Variations and Enhancements:

1. Spiced Citrus Cranberry Sauce:

For those who enjoy a bit of warmth and complexity, consider adding a pinch of ground cloves or a dash of nutmeg to the sauce. These spices complement the citrus notes and add a comforting, festive touch.

2. Citrus-Infused Liqueur:

Take your Citrus Cranberry Sauce to the next level by incorporating a splash of citrus-infused liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau. This not only enhances the citrus flavor but also introduces a subtle boozy undertone, making it a sophisticated addition to your holiday spread.

3. Fresh Herbs:

Experiment with the addition of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme. These aromatic herbs can provide a savory counterpoint to the sweetness of the sauce, creating a more complex flavor profile.

4. Chunky or Smooth:

Tailor the texture of your Citrus Cranberry Sauce to your liking. If you prefer a chunky sauce with whole berries, simply cook it for a shorter time. For a smoother consistency, use an immersion blender or food processor to achieve the desired texture.

Serving Tips:

1. Cheese Pairing:

Serve Citrus Cranberry Sauce alongside a cheese platter featuring sharp cheddar, brie, or goat cheese. The contrast between the tangy sauce and creamy cheeses will be a hit at any gathering.

2. Breakfast Delight:

Elevate your breakfast or brunch by drizzling Citrus Cranberry Sauce over pancakes, waffles, or yogurt. The vibrant flavors will add a burst of sunshine to your morning routine.

3. Cocktail Mixer:

Transform your cranberry sauce into a versatile cocktail mixer. Combine it with sparkling water or use it as a base for festive cocktails, such as a Citrus Cranberry Martini or a Cranberry Bourbon Smash.

4. Freeze and Preserve:

Make a larger batch and freeze portions for future use. Citrus Cranberry Sauce can be a delightful addition to your meals year-round, not just during the holiday season.

Final Thoughts:

Citrus Cranberry Sauce offers a delightful departure from the traditional, infusing your holiday table with a burst of citrusy freshness. Whether you opt for the classic recipe or experiment with variations, this sauce is sure to become a staple, adding a touch of brightness to your festive gatherings. Embrace the versatility of this flavorful condiment and let your creativity shine in the kitchen. Your taste buds—and your guests—will thank you for it!

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