If you're looking for a refreshing way to serve cranberries, you must try our cranberry orange relish recipe. It's made with fresh ingredients, with some surprises thrown in, and tastes amazing by itself as a side or on leftover turkey sandwiches.
I started serving this cranberry orange relish to my family on Thanksgiving 15 years ago, and it has been a popular holiday side dish at our household ever since.
- Basic ingredients: Traditionally cranberry orange relish takes only 3 ingredients: cranberries, navel oranges, and sugar, but our recipe takes it one step further.
- Surprise ingredients: Minced jalapenos and fresh grated ginger give this cranberry relish some kick.
- Citrus: To intensify the citrus taste of this cranberry relish, freshly squeezed lime juice and orange zest is also added.
- Crunch: To give this cranberry orange relish some crunch, add in minced red onion and toasted pecans.
- Garnish: This festive-looking cranberry relish will look so appetizing with grated orange peel and mint ribbons.
How to Make
- Toast the pecans over medium low heat in some melted butter for a few minutes until they smell fragrant. Make sure to stir, and don't walk away from them. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, dump in the chopped cranberries, navel oranges, jalapeño, red onion, sugar, and grated ginger, then pour the freshly squeezed lime juice on top. Stir until well mixed, then cover and chill for a minimum of two hours, or overnight.
3. Just before serving the cranberry relish, add the toasted pecans, orange zest, and mint ribbons.
4. Serve this cranberry orange relish chilled. For added color, garnish with a little more orange zest and more freshly chopped mint.
As a sauce, the cranberries are kept whole and are cooked down, but as a relish the cranberries are chopped.
With the traditional sauce, the cranberries are cooked, but the cranberry orange relish uses the cranberries raw.
Cranberry orange sauce is sweet from the additional added sugar, but the relish is more tart as it uses less sugar.
In an airtight container, it will keep for up to 7 days, but it will taste best, if you add the toasted pecans and fresh mint just before serving to what you plan on eating. This will provide different textures, otherwise the nuts will soften and become less crunchy.
Make Ahead: Yes, you certainly can! I encourage you to do so, as it frees up your schedule to make other sides for Thanksgiving or Christmas. You can make most of the cranberry orange relish recipe up to three days ahead, just add the toasted pecans, orange zest, and fresh mint right before serving.
Store: Place any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for a total of 7 days, preferably without the toasted pecans and fresh mint.
Freeze: Place any leftovers in freezer friendly container for up to one month. Thaw in the fridge then add fresh mint and toasted pecans.
This cranberry orange relish tastes wonderful when paired with all the trimmings of a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner, but also tastes amazing when used as a condiment on a roasted turkey or pulled pork sandwich.
Another suggestion would be to spread it on top of crackers with cream cheese, or on top of baked brie. You can also add a little zest to your breakfast by serving it on top of pancakes or waffles or in mixed in plain yogurt.
- Need to reduce the sugar? Cut it back to ½ cup or replace it with ⅓ cup of agave nectar or honey.
- Need to make it ahead? Make this salad up to 3 days ahead.
- Have leftovers? It tastes great on top of cream cheese bagels or leftover turkey sandwiches.
- Need to simplify this salad? Leave out the nuts, jalapeños, and ginger.
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Cranberry Orange Relish Recipe
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 large navel oranges, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ tablespoon salted butter
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ⅓ cup red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ⅓ cup mint leaves, cut in ribbons
- Pulse the cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
- Peel and section the oranges, making sure to remove most of the pith, then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Dice the red onion and jalapeño pepper, then grate the ginger and squeeze the lime juice.
- Toast the pecans in the butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until browned (about 3 minutes). Let cool on paper towel.
- Stir together the cranberries, oranges, red onion, jalapeño, ginger, lime juice, and sugar until well blended. Taste and add more sugar or fresh lime juice as desired.
- Cover the relish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days in advance.
- Right before serving, stir in the toasted pecans along with most of the mint ribbons and orange zest. To add more color, garnish with the remaining orange zest and mint. Serve chilled.
- Make up to three days in advance. Add the pecans, mint, and orange zest just before serving.
- The white sugar can be reduced to ½ cup or replaced with ⅓ cup agave nectar or honey.
- You can substitute walnuts for the pecans.
- Use leftovers on top of cream cheese bagels or leftover turkey sandwiches.
- Leave out the nuts, jalapeños, and ginger for less ingredients and less prep work.
This recipe was originally published on November 3, 2017 and has been updated on November 16, 2018 and November 12, 2021 with updated photos and additional tips and information.