Looking for unique holiday recipes? Then this delicious Cranberry Relish is for you!
This easy, old-fashioned holiday recipe takes minutes to make (no cooking required), and it's full of flavor. It's the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas table!
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I don't know about you, but I LOVE Cranberry Sauce! It's always one of my favorite parts of any Thanksgiving or holiday meal.
You may be a fan of this popular sauce too, but are you familiar with its under-the-radar cousin: Cranberry Relish?
If you like cranberries, then you're sure to love this scrumptious Cranberry Orange Relish. It's the perfect combination of sweet and tart flavors, and so incredibly easy to make. Perhaps best of all, it requires no cooking. I repeat: no cooking!
This is an old-fashioned recipe that actually feels quite modern and up to date ... especially if you're used to a traditional cooked sauce. And it's sure to become a treasured recipe that your family will enjoy year after year!
Ready to try this zippy condiment for yourself? Then keep reading for all the details!
What is Cranberry Relish?
Cranberry Relish is a raw, uncooked cranberry sauce that's made by finely chopping cranberries (usually with a food processor), then combining them with sugar and other ingredients, such as oranges, apples, pears, and / or nuts.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This easy-to-make condiment can paired with all your favorite holiday dishes. There's no cooking required, and it can be made ahead of time, which makes it ideal for a busy Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!
Many Raw Cranberry Sauce recipes call for chopping up a whole orange, peel and all. Orange pith (the white part under the peel) is very unpleasant though, and it can make your sauce taste bitter.
This recipe is the BEST, because it uses only the tastiest parts of the orange—the juice and the zest—for a delightful sauce that's the ideal balance of tart and sweet, with no bitter taste at all.
This unique recipe uses basic ingredients that you can find anywhere. Here's what you'll need:
- Fresh Cranberries - Use one of those standard 12-ounce bag that you'll find in the produce section during holiday season.
- Orange - A large, juicy Navel orange (or similar variety) works great. You'll use the juice and the zest, so choose one with unblemished skin.
- Apple - Use your favorite kind of firm, crisp apple for this recipe, such as Granny Smith, Fuji, Cortland, or Honeycrisp (which is what I used).
- Pecans - Nuts add a great texture and flavor. If your grocery store carries them, grab a ½ cup bag of pecan chips in the baking aisle to save yourself some chopping.
- Granulated Sugar - The sugar balance the tart cranberries ... you can use less or add more to taste, but don't skip it.
Pretty simple, right? This recipe can also be customized by using different fruit, nuts, etc, and you'll find some easy variations below.
By the way, this recipe is naturally vegetarian and vegan (as long as you use vegan sugar), dairy free, and gluten-free, so everyone at your table can enjoy it!
You'll Also Need
You'll need a food processor to finely chop the cranberry and apple. While you could do this by hand, it would be extremely messy and tedious. An old-fashioned meat grinder is another option.
This recipe uses fresh orange zest, so you'll also need a zester. I highly recommend getting a Microplane Zester ... it's one of my favorite kitchen tools! And of course, you'll need a large bowl to mix everything together.
How to Make Cranberry Relish
Okay, let's talk about how to make this tasty relish! You'll find a detailed recipe with measurements at the end of this article, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Juice and zest an orange, then mix both with the sugar in a large bowl.
- Finely chop cranberries in your food processor. Make sure to stop the processor a few times to scrape down the sides to ensure everything is getting evenly chopped. Transfer to the bowl with the orange sauce.
- Core the apple, then cut it into large chunks. Add it to your food processor (no need to clean it out), then finely chop.
- Add the apple and the chopped nuts to the bowl with the orange sauce and cranberries.
- Mix everything together really well. Taste, then add more sugar to taste, if desired.
This Cranberry Orange Relish tastes best when it's made ahead of time, so the sugar can dissolve and the flavors can meld. It also turns an even more beautiful color! So for the best results, make sure to make it at least a few hours (or a day or two) ahead of time.
Tip: The sweeter the orange and apple you use, the sweeter your finished Cranberry Orange Apple Relish. I'd recommend starting with only ½ cup of sugar. After mixing everything together, taste it, then add more sugar, if necessary.
This basic recipe is actually fairly flexible. Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Pear - Feel free to replace the apple with a pear, if you prefer, or use a combination or apples and pears.
- Pineapple - Love pineapple? Skip the apple, and use your food processor to mince one cup of fresh pineapple chunks, then mix with the other ingredients.
- Celery - Have some celery you need to use up? Mince up a stalk along with the cranberries and apple.
- Ginger - Add a little zing to your relish! Stir in teaspoon or two of freshly grated ginger, or ¼ cup diced candied ginger, when mixing everything together.
- Spiced - A dash of cinnamon is a welcome addition. You could also add other warm spices, such as nutmeg, coriander, or cloves.
- Spicy - Give your sauce a little kick with some minced jalapeño, or use another spicy pepper, like serranos.
- Orange Liqueur - A little orange liqueur is a popular addition to this recipe. Stir in one to two ounces of Grand Marnier or Cointreau when mixing the ingredients together.
- Nuts - Feel free to substitute other nuts, such as walnuts, for the pecans. You can also leave out the nuts altogether, if you prefer.
- Sweeter / Less Sweet - This recipe calls for ½ to 1 cup of sugar. I made it with one full cup, which makes it fairly sweet (though not overly sweet, in my opinion). However, you can easily add more or less sugar, depending on your taste preferences.
- Other Sweetener - If you'd prefer not to use refined sugar, you can substitute maple syrup or honey. Just keep in mind that both will add a distinct flavor that granulated sugar won't. Add to taste (you'll probably need little less).
This recipe is best when made at least a few hours ahead of time. Store the relish in an airtight container in your refrigerator until ready to eat. Leftovers will keep for five to seven days.
This homemade Cranberry Relish is the perfect addition to your holiday table! Serve it alongside any of your Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes. I paired it with some of my holiday favorites, including Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, Onion Gravy, Wild Rice Salad, Pomegranate Brussels Sprouts, and Sourdough Stuffing.
You can also get creative with this yummy sauce! Serve it with ice cream, over cream cheese as a dip (like this Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip), use it in this Baked Brie, layer it with granola in a Yogurt Parfait, sprinkle over pancakes or waffles, slather some on a biscuit, or spread it on a sandwich (try it in this Cranberry Brie Grilled Cheese).
Looking for more cranberry recipes? Try one of these yummy ideas next:
- Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Easy Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberry Moscow Mule
- Cranberry Orange Overnight Oats
- Cranberry Mimosas
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Pecans, and Blue Cheese
- Cranberry Parfait
- Cranberry Sage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Kale Salad with Cranberries
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Need more info? Checked out these frequently asked questions or leave a question in the comments!
Cranberry Sauce and Relish have similar ingredients, however Cranberry Sauce is cooked, while Relish is uncooked and made with raw cranberries (and other ingredients) that are minced in a food processor.
Cranberry Relish can be served cold or at room temperature.
Fresh relish will keep for about five to seven days when stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
Raw cranberries are very tart. If your Cranberry Sauce tastes bitter, try adding more sugar or a pinch of salt.
To chop cranberries in a food processor, rinse them with water first, then drain. Add the berries to your food processor, then pulse until they are chopped. Make sure to scrape down the sides as needed, to ensure the cranberries are evenly minced.
- 1 large orange
- ½ to 1 cup granulated sugar (see note)
- 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)
- 1 large apple
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- Zest and juice orange. You should have about ½ juice.
- Mix orange zest and juice with sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Place cranberries in food processor, then pulse until finely chopped, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer to orange juice mixture.
- Core apple and cut into large chunks. Place chunks in food processor, then pulse until finely chopped, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer to orange juice mixture.
- Add nuts to bowl with orange juice mixture, cranberries, and apple. Mix well.
- Taste, then add more sugar, if desired.
- Cover relish and refrigerate for a couple hours, or until ready to eat. Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!
This recipe is also available as a web story if you'd like a quick step-by-step overview.