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Cranberry-orange relish on a spoon held over a cut orange.

Cranberry-Orange Relish

Sweet, tart, quick to make, and bursting with flavor. Cranberry-orange relish is a beautiful side dish for a winter or holiday meal. And leftovers are delicious when spread on top of toast, pancakes, or waffles.

Toasted or candied nuts or orange liqueur are a festive addition for special occasions. For more texture in the relish, pulse the toasted nuts along with the other ingredients. 

  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 cups 1x


  • 10 to 12 ounces (1 bag) of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 large orange
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of raw honey or ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger or ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt (¼ teaspoon of table salt)
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground allspice
  • ⅓ cup of roasted pecans, walnuts, pistachios, or almonds, optional
  • 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau, optional
  • Fresh thyme, mint, sage, or rosemary leaves, for garnish, optional
  • Candied walnuts or pecans, for garnish, optional


  1. Grate the ginger. If you're using fresh ginger, peel off the thin skin by scraping it away with the edge of a small spoon. Then grate the peeled ginger with a microplane or the smallest holes of a box grater until you have about two lightly-packed teaspoons. 
  2. Seed and peel the orange. You can simply seed and add the entire orange. But to remove the bitter white pith use a vegetable or y-shaped peeler to remove just the orange part of the peel. Then trim the stem away to create a flat surface. With the flat-side down, slice away the remaining white pith. Try not to cut off too much of the orange flesh. Discard the white pith (it's bitter). Cut the orange in half and pluck out any seeds with the tip of your knife. 
  3. Combine and process. Combine the cranberries, orange peel and halves, honey or sugar, cinnamon, allspice, salt, ginger, and any toasted nuts and orange liqueur in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until the pieces of cranberry and orange are around an eighth of an inch in size. You can also make the relish in batches in a spice grinder, or pulse them in a blender. 
  4. Season and garnish. Taste the relish and stir in a little more salt or honey if necessary. Serve the relish chilled and garnish it with a thin slice of orange peel, chopped candied or roasted nuts, or fresh herb leaves such as mint, sage, or thyme.  Store it sealed in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Chef's Tips

Remove the orange pith. To cut down on the bitterness of the relish, remove the white pith of the orange. Many recipes call for simply tossing the whole orange in the food processor. But even seedless oranges can contain a renegade seed here and there. So at a minimum, I recommend cutting it in half to check for seeds. 

On the candied nuts. With a fresh, tart, and sour relish, candied nuts like walnuts and pecans offer a nice crunch as a garnish at the end. You can find candied walnuts and pecans at specialty stores and often near the specialty cheese counter at your local market. If you can't find candied nuts, look for nuts labeled "glazed" in the regular nut and seed section.

Taste the relish while you're making it. This may seem obvious, but fresh fruit varies in sweetness depending on the grower and time of year. Any recipe for cranberry relish should be taken as a guideline when it comes to the sugar or honey amount. Taste the relish, and if it puckers your cheeks, add more sugar or honey a little at a time until your taste buds are happy. The goal is a balance of sweet and sour, without one flavor overpowering the other.

On the Nutrition

The amounts below are based on the recipe as written with honey, including the third cup of pecan halves. It does not account for any added sugar or candied nuts.

  • Author: Christina
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Processing
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 102
  • Sugar: 16.1 g
  • Sodium: 79.1 mg
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.2 g
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 0.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: cranberry orange relish, cranberry relish recipe, easy cranberry relish