Cinnamon Orange Cranberry Sauce
Cinnamon Orange Cranberry Sauce takes the family favorite holiday side dish with sweet and tart flavors and adds a burst of citrus and warm spices. When you cook cranberry sauce with orange juice and cinnamon sticks, you end up with so much more flavor than the usual canned cranberry sauce. Plus your house will smell amazing as you make this homemade cranberry sauce recipe to add to your menu of easy Thanksgiving recipes.
Undoubtedly every family has stories about Thanksgiving mishaps. We certainly have our share. While there is nothing epic, like setting the house on fire while deep frying a turkey, or sending someone to the hospital with salmonella poisoning from under cooked stuffing inside the bird. However, they are certainly memorable.
Sometimes we learn from our mistakes, like the year my aunt made one of Emeril’s sweet potato recipes. It calls for brandy, but on Thanksgiving day, she realized the only brandy she had was a bottle of blackberry brandy. Not surprisingly, that was not a fantastic combination, and I wish we had made Pumpkin Pie Spice Melting Sweet Potatoes instead.
Then there year my mom was going to close the dishwasher right as I was putting something in, and my finger ended up in the little hole where the latch is, slicing off a nice chunk of skin on the edge of the stainless steel. This landed me in the ER before I even got to have one of my Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pies. Let’s not forget to mention my hubby out at the sight of my blood.
Unfortunately, some of our mistakes are repeated year after year. Until I discovered Pampered Chef baking stones, we had a habit baking our Pillsbury biscuits just a bit too long, so we always had to scrape off the blackened bottom. I’m much better off making Apple Butter Gluten Free Cornbread.
And undoubtedly we always seem to think the turkey is done, so we have everything ready to go on the table, begin to carve the bird, and notice a lovely shade of pink. Well done biscuits and rare turkey – not a good combination.
At least I can always count on my favorite cranberry sauce recipe.
Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice and Cinnamon
The flavor of this Cinnamon Orange Cranberry sauce recipe is always amazing – sweet and tart, with the brightness of the orange, and the taste of the holidays that a bit of spicy cinnamon always brings. I love to smear it on my turkey instead of gravy, or if you make it for Christmas, you can use it to top a Cranberry Crusted Prime Rib Roast.
While some people prefer whole berry cranberry sauce, my family likes the jellied kind. So you’ll see that this recipe is cooked for quite awhile to thicken it up and then the skins are strained out to end up with a smooth cranberry sauce.
I also try to pour it into a mold, chill it, and turn it out onto a serving platter, all sparkly, with its deep crimson color. But sometimes I get impatient. I think I have cooked it down enough, but then I turn it out onto the platter and it splooges (<– technical term) everywhere. So in that case I just pour it into a bowl. Maybe not as pretty, but just as delicious.
How do you make Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice and Cinnamon? Plus some Cinnamon Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe tips.
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- First, rinse and drain your bags of fresh cranberries. Then you’ll want to pick through them quickly to remove any that might be bad.
- Next, add the cranberries to a pot with brown sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and cinnamon sticks. I like to use my Microplane zester to zest my orange, then squeeze that orange with my juicer to make this with fresh orange juice. You can squeeze a few extra oranges to use all fresh juice, or use a carton of orange juice to get the full two cups.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. As the mixture thickens, you’ll need to stir it more frequently to keep it from sticking and burning. Be sure to use a spatula that is heat resistant, and while it simmers, squish the berries with the spatula so they release their juice and pectin.
- You’ll then let it simmer until it achieves the desired thickness. If you just want a thick but spoonable sauce, it could take about thirty minutes. If you want to pour your cranberry sauce into a mold, it will take longer.
- Finally, let it cool slightly, and, if desired, pour it into a mold. It looks really cool in one of those vintage Tupperware molds like I used for this Creamsicle Jello Mold.
- Store in the refrigerator.
How do you thicken up cranberry sauce?
Cranberry sauce is thickened simple by cooking it to evaporate the moisture and let it release it’s natural pectin. You can typically cook it long enough to be a thick sauce or even to mold it. If it is not thick enough, you can always try adding gelatin or pectin, though I have not tried that in this recipe.
Can Cinnamon Orange Cranberry Sauce be made ahead of time?
Yes, this cranberry sauce recipe can definitely be made in advance. It is made in advance, and the flavor just gets more complex over time. You can leave it in the refrigerator for at least a week. In fact, I typically make it the weekend before Thanksgiving, and we eat it with leftovers through Thanksgiving weekend.
Is cranberry sauce gluten free?
Yes, similar to nearly al other cranberry sauce products and recipes, this Cinnamon Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe is gluten free. It is made simply with fresh cranberries, fresh orange juice and orange zest, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks. The thickening comes from the natural pectin in the fruit, not from any flour or starch. This gluten free cranberry sauce also happens to be vegan. If you’d like to make it paleo, use coconut sugar, or try maple syrup in place of the brown sugar and just cook it longer to reduce the extra liquid.
What can I use leftover Cinnamon Orange Cranberry Sauce for?
While it’s amazing mixed some mayo for the ubiquitous day-after-Thankgiving turkey-sandwich, you can get a little more creative with your leftover cranberry sauce.
- Three-Ingredient Cranberry Balsamic Salad Dressing
- Cranberry Balsamic Ketchup
- Cranberry Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Wings
- Slow Cooker Cranberry Balsamic Beef
- Cranberry BBQ Turkey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Cranberry Sauce Smoothie from Wonky Wonderful
- Chipotle Cranberry BBQ Pizza from A Mind Full Mom
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Cinnamon Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Making your own homemade cranberry sauce adds a special touch to your Thanksgiving menu. And when you cook cranberry sauce with orange juice and cinnamon sticks plus brown sugar for that more full-bodies molasses sweetness, you get even more amazing flavors. Plus the aromas in you kitchen while it simmers just can’t be beat. Understandably, it’s been a holiday mainstay in our family for years, and I hope it becomes one in your home too.
I hope you’ll leave a comment and give it a FIVE STAR rating or share a photo on this pin on Pinterest!
Cinnamon Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Two 12 oz. packages of fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
- Zest of one orange
- 2 cups orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan over medium high heat.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer until very thick, stirring occasionally, and using a spoon or spatula to "pop" the cranberries. As it becomes thicker, you may have to lower the heat and/or stir more constantly.
- Reduce to desired thickness. This could take 30-40 minutes. If you want to be able to mold it, it should almost hold shape when you push it to the side of the pan with a spoon or spatula.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Strain and push the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl to remove the cinnamon sticks and cranberry skins.
- If desired, pour into a mold.
- Chill completely.
Old photos from when this post was originally published on Nov 15, 2013