Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Time 20 minutes
Yields Makes 1 1/2 cups
Orange adds floral freshness to cranberry sauce in this traditional Thanksgiving condiment perfumed with cinnamon.
(Katrina Frederick / For The Times)
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Homemade cranberry sauce is worth the small effort it takes to make — because it just isn’t Thanksgiving without that zing. Whether you use fresh or frozen cranberries, orange zest and segments are a wonderful way to perk up the cooked fruit. If you love cloves or allspice or fresh ginger, use them instead of, or in addition to, the cinnamon stick here. And if you’d like a sweeter sauce, increase the sugar to 1½ cups. Conversely, for a more assertive sauce, reduce the sugar to 1 cup. Either way, the cranberry sauce will be delicious.

This recipe is part of our Guide to Classic Thanksgiving, a collection of simple recipes for timeless holiday dishes to make this year and for years to come.


In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, juice, salt and cinnamon. Using a microplane positioned over the pan, finely grate the zest from the orange (about 2 teaspoons) into the pan; set the orange aside. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a steady simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, use a paring knife to remove the white pith from the orange. Working over a small bowl, cut in between the membranes of the orange to release the segments; squeeze the membrane to release all its juices, then discard it. Fish the segments out of the bowl, then cut each segment into about 3 pieces. Return them to the bowl with the juices.


When the sauce is done, remove the pan from the heat. Add the chopped orange segments and their juices to the cranberry sauce and stir gently to combine. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a serving bowl and let cool completely to room temperature before serving.

Make Ahead:
This cranberry sauce is best if made a day or two ahead to allow the flavors to marry. Once cooled, refrigerate the sauce for up to 1 week. Set the sauce out the morning of Thanksgiving to allow it to return to room temperature before serving.