This flavor-packed Maple Orange Cranberry Sauce brings your favorite holiday condiment to a whole new level.

Speckled serving bowl full of cranberry sauce, topped with orange zest and fresh cranberries.

Because cranberry sauce needs a little somethin’ extra.

I dig cranberry sauce—be it homemade, or flopped onto a plate still in the shape of the can that it came in. But I’ve always thought that it could use a little something extra. Cranberries offer up a natural sweetness to counter their bitterness, but something is missing in the equation. Enter: oranges and maple syrup. The acidity from the oranges brighten up the flavors while the maple syrup adds a rich and warm sweetness to bring it all together. I knew the family approved when I caught my husband and son eating the stuff out of the bowl by the spoonful…

15 minutes and 5 ingredients is all it takes.

Very little time and even less ingredients—that’s what it’s all about.

  • Fresh cranberries (you can also thaw frozen whole cranberries, but don’t use dried cranberries)
  • Oranges
  • Pure maple syrup 
  • Sea salt
  • A whole clove

Close up of fresh cranberries in a colander.

Bowl of fresh cranberries, a sliced orange with orange zest on a cutting board, a small jar or honey, and a salt crock.

The gist on how to make cranberry sauce shine.

Cranberry sauce is so quick and easy to make, and you can even make it in advance to save yourself time! Rinse the cranberries under cool water and set them aside. Bring the orange juice, maple syrup, and water to a simmer, then add the cranberries, orange zest, salt, and the clove. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the saucepan, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool. When it’s time to transfer the cranberry sauce to a serving dish, spoon out the cranberry sauce in small batches so you can easily find the clove and remove it. (Seriously, don’t forget this part. No one wants to bite into a clove.) Cover the bowl, and set the sauce in the fridge to cool until it’s time to serve.

Side by side shots of cranberry sauce in saucepan before being boiled, and after.

Equipment you’ll need:

Other holiday recipes to put on your table:

Hope you enjoy!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.

Speckled serving bowl full of cranberry sauce, topped with orange zest and fresh cranberries.

Get the Recipe:

5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Zest of an orange (about a teaspoon)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 whole clove

Instructions 

  • Rinse the cranberries under cool water; set aside.
  • Bring the orange juice, maple syrup, and water to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. When simmering, add the cranberries, orange zest, salt, and the clove. Give everything a good stir and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the saucepan, leaving a bit of space to let the steam out. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened. Stir occasionally during the simmering process, smashing some of the cranberries in the process (sometimes they need a little help to burst).
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. When it's time to transfer the cranberry sauce to a serving dish, spoon out the cranberry sauce in small batches so you can easily find the clove and remove it.
  • Cover the bowl, and set the sauce in the fridge to cool until it's time to serve.

Notes

Storing and Freezing Instructions: Cranberry sauce will stay fresh for up to 10 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. If freezing, you can freeze it for up to two months. Simply thaw it in the fridge overnight the day before using.