Not a fan of cranberry sauce, make this easy Cranberry Orange Relish instead. No cooking required, just throw everything into the food processor or blender and chop up into one of the best holiday side dishes ever made.

Cranberry orange relish in a blue and white bowl.

Cranberry Orange Relish

If you’re like me, you’d be willing to skip right over Thanksgiving and get to the good stuff. I’m itching to decorate the house for Christmas but I think my husband would kick me to the curb. We’re still overloaded with slashes of fall color and decorative pumpkins in the house….and he’s ready for a full Thanksgiving feast.

The whole shabang…..buttery roast turkey, piles of homemade mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce are his favorites. But me….I like to mix things up a bit and this Cranberry Orange Relish recipe is like my new favorite thing ever. It’s like a modern take on cranberry sauce without having to actually cook anything.

Cranberry Relish is refreshing, light and fruity. And although the cranberries are raw, the added fruit and sugar mellow out the tartness of the cranberries amazingly well.

You really can’t have a holiday meal without some sort of cranberry side and this easy cranberry relish is fantastic because it takes about two minutes to make from scratch! If that’s not reason enough to whip this one up for your next holiday gathering then I don’t know what is.

We have several holiday traditions when it comes to food and this Cranberry Orange Relish has clinched a permanent place at the table.

Close up of cranberry relish in a blue and white bowl.

What is Cranberry Relish?

Cranberry Relish is a raw condiment that’s commonly served at Thanksgiving alongside the roast turkey. It’s made of fresh cranberries, apples, oranges, sugar and may or may not contain nuts.

I like to add raw walnuts to my cranberry relish recipe for a buttery background note but one thing I LOVE to add that most relish recipes do not is fresh ginger. It adds a fruity, peppery zingyness to the relish that’s so fantastic and unexpected even though ginger seems to be in ALL THE THINGS during the holiday months.

You can totally leave the ginger out of your cranberry relish but I urge you to try it because it’s such a modern departure from the usual fruit relish recipes.

If you would like to stay true to an old fashioned cranberry relish recipe skip the nuts, too.

Ingredients for cranberry orange relish in a food processor bowl.

How To Make Cranberry Relish

You’ll need approximately two minutes to make this fresh Cranberry Relish recipe:

  1. Add the cranberries, apples, orange and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Pulse the fruity until finely chopped.
  3. Stir in the sugar and ginger.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  5. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

If your cranberry relish is too watery, you can drain it using a fine mesh sieve or just serve it with a slotted spoon. 

chopped ingredients for cranberry relish in the bowl of a food processor.

How To Store Cranberry Relish

You can make this cranberry relish up to 5 days in advance and the flavors will just get better the longer it sits. Store your relish in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

I would not recommend freezing the relish because the consistency will become a bit mushy and won’t taste as fresh. Because this relish recipe is super easy to make and quick to prepare, there’s really no reason to freeze it.

Cranberry relish in a blue and white bowl with orange slices next to it.

What To Serve With Cranberry Relish

While most of us tend to think of cranberry sauce and cranberry relish as a Thanksgiving recipe, it goes so well with many other dishes during the year so be sure to snag up as many bags of fresh cranberries to freeze for later in the year.

I love to serve Cranberry Orange Relish with my favorite Thanksgiving turkey but it also pairs well with this easy Spiral Ham for Christmas, too. And don’t forget the beef…’s fantastic addition to your condiment buffet for the easy Roast Beef Tenderloin recipe.

And if you’re already thinking of leftovers, like I always do, you could serve it as a dip with some tortilla chips or add it to your day after Thanksgiving sandwich!

Roast Turkey for the holiday on a white platter with herbs and cranberries.

Cranberry Relish Variations

As I mentioned before, the rules to making cranberry relish are rather loose.

Here are a few suggestions to mix it up a bit:

  • Nuts – Substitute the walnuts with toasted pistachios, pecans or macadamia nuts.
  • Spices – Stir in a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg for a Christmasy flavor or a bit of cayenne for a southwestern hit of heat.
  • Fruit – Substitute the apple with a pear and the orange with a grapefruit. 

Feel free to get as creative as you want with your own cranberry relish recipe! Pineapple is also an unexpectedly fantastic mix in, too!

Cranberry Relish in a blue and white bowl.

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More Easy Holiday Side Dish Recipes

Sweet Potato Casserole in a blue and white baking dish with a serving spoon in it.
Cranberry Relish in a blue and white bowl.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Orange Relish Recipe

An easy, no-cook condiment recipe! Cranberry Orange Relish is the fresh, cranberry sauce substitute you need on your holiday table. Pairs well with beef, pork and turkey!
5 from 2 votes


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 2 honeycrisp or Fuji apple, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 orange, cut into quarters, NOT PEELED
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger


  • blender or food processor


  • Place the cranberries, apple, oranges and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
  • Secure the lid and pulse the ingredients until coarsely chopped.
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Stir in the sugar and ginger.
  • Cover and store in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 5 days.
  • Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Cranberry relish can be made up to 5 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Calories: 172kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 131mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 87IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1mg