Orange Maple Cranberry Sauce
Every year, one of the first things I make for the big Thanksgiving feast is cranberry sauce. For one, I usually like to create a new recipe or two for here on the blog. But also, homemade cranberry sauce freezes stunningly, so it’s a super easy thing to make weeks (or even months!) ahead of time, then I freeze it and forget about until Thanksgiving.
This year, I thought I’d try something a little different. See, I’ve gotten to the point to where I rarely use granulated sugar any more, instead sweetening my recipes with pure maple syrup or honey. I know that syrup and honey are still sugar – just different kinds of it – but I feel better using more natural forms as opposed to the refined stuff. Baby steps.
Conveniently, pure maple syrup is so quintessentially “fall” that it goes perfectly in a myriad of seasonally appropriate recipes. Like: Maple Orange Cranberry Sauce!
First off, a disclaimer. You actually can’t really taste much of the maple syrup in this recipe – just a hint. Part of the reason is because cranberries have such strong flavor that they overpower any maple subtleties. The other reason is that I use Grade A syrup, which is much lighter than the more-intense and much more flavorful Grade B. So keep that in mind if you make this cranberry sauce recipe.
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The orange and the cinnamon, on the other hand, you can definitely taste – though not in an overpowering way. Orange zest and juice highlight the best of the cranberries. Meanwhile, simmering the sauce with a stick of cinnamon adds another festive note.
Make it now, freeze it for later. That’s the very best thing about homemade cranberry sauce – other than the fact that it tastes incredible, of course!
Orange Maple Cranberry Sauce
Sweetened with pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar, this easy homemade cranberry sauce recipe is a healthier spin on the favorite Thanksgiving condiment. We love the subtle seasonal flavors that the orange and cinnamon impart.
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup + more if needed
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- Cinnamon stick
- Rinse the cranberries. Discard any mushy or underripe berries and stems.
- Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and add the cranberries, 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, orange zest, orange juice, water, and cinnamon stick. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue boiling over medium heat until the berries burst and break down, forming a sauce, 15-20 minutes.
- Taste for sweetness. If it’s too tart, add more syrup – a tablespoon at a time – until the sauce tastes sweet enough for you.
- Remove from the heat and let cool. Spoon into your serving container to serve or store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for 3-4 days. You can also freeze your cranberry sauce for up to 2 months – I do this every Thanksgiving! Just place the sauce in an airtight container or zipper freezer bag and transfer to the freezer. Move to the fridge to thaw about 24-48 hours before the big meal.