Tart Cranberry Relish Recipe

Tired of the same old cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving table year after year? For some reason, cranberry sauce has become de rigueur for the seasonal feast, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved with a few tweaks here and there. After all, this is the 21st century, not the 17th! An alternative like a cranberry relish, as recipe developer Kate Shungu of Gift of Hospitality explains, "is the uncooked cousin of cranberry sauce."

Shungu calls cranberry relish "an easy alternative to cranberry sauce," but she says it can be used in similar ways the cooked version. There's no need to worry about the fruit tasting too raw either, as she explains that grinding up the cranberries and the orange in a food processor "breaks them down like heat would on the stovetop." She also notes that this dish is something that can be made a few days in advance, which is a useful characteristic for any Thanksgiving side.

Assemble the ingredients for the cranberry relish

To make this relish, you'll need an orange, some sugar, and a bag of fresh cranberries. If you're making this relish when cranberries are not in season, you can always use a frozen alternative, although Shungu suggests thawing the cranberries before grinding them in the food processor.

Chop the orange

Cut the ends off the orange, but do not peel it. Cut it in quarters, then chop it into tiny pieces using a food processor. If your orange contains seeds, you should probably try to fish them out before grinding.

If you're wondering how all that orange peel will taste, recipes frequently will caution against including any of the bitter white pith when zesting the fruit. In this instance, though, Shungu assures us that "the sugar nicely complements the tart cranberries and bitter orange peel" to achieve a sweet, yet tart flavor with less bitterness. As a bonus, orange peels are not only quite safe to eat, but are pretty healthy, too.

Combine all of the ingredients

Next, scoop the minced orange out of the food processor and grind up the cranberries until they're a similar consistency. No need to worry about cleaning the food processor in between fruits, as you'll eventually be mixing the ingredients together. Stir the ground cranberries and orange together in a bowl, then mix in the sugar as well.

Chill the relish for at least an hour

Once you've combined all the ingredients, stick the relish in the refrigerator and let the flavors marinate for at least an hour; however, Shungu says it should be fine to chill the relish for as long as 48 hours before serving.

In addition to using this relish as a cranberry sauce alternative, Shungu recommends spreading it on a cream cheese-topped cracker to make what she calls "an easy holiday appetizer." You could also use it in various ways including recipes for Thanksgiving leftover egg rolls and Thanksgiving leftover pizza.

Tart Cranberry Relish Recipe
5 from 46 ratings
Cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, most of the time, feels like a gelatinous afterthought. But, this tart cranberry relish recipe will be a standout side dish.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cranberry-orange relish in bowl
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 1 large orange
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  1. Cut the ends off of the orange, but leave the peel on.
  2. Slice the orange into quarters.
  3. Use a food processor to chop the orange into very fine pieces.
  4. Process the cranberries until they are also finely ground.
  5. Combine the chopped cranberry with the orange and the sugar in a separate bowl.
  6. Chill the cranberry relish for at least an hour before serving. It can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Calories per Serving 151
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 39.1 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Total Sugars 35.1 g
Sodium 1.2 mg
Protein 0.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe