Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce

Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Ginger Orange Cranberry SauceRecipe by me, photos by Rikki Snyder.

I know this is very uncool of me, but I love canned cranberry sauce. Love it! When Thanksgiving is over and it’s on clearance, I always buy a few cans. I love the satisfying PLLLLOP! it makes as it comes out of the can and I love how it stands up on its own and how you can carve it up into slices, just like a turkey. It is a thing of beauty, cranberry sauce is.

Frozen Cranberries
But just because I enjoy the canned stuff, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate homemade cranberry sauce too. It’s kind of like apples and oranges, though. Two different things! And I love them for different reasons!

Now, if you haven’t made your own cranberry sauce before, you might be thinking that it’s really complicated and not something you’d be able to do in your own kitchen. That’s what I used to think, anyway. But cranberry sauce is one of those magical things that seems like it should be really difficult, but it’s way easier than you’d think. Seriously, guys, if you have the skillset required to open up a can of soup and heat it on the stove, you can make cranberry sauce. I’m pretty sure if he had thumbs, my one-eyed cat could make cranberry sauce.

Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce Ingredients
So make your own cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year!

I got the idea for this recipe from Smedette’s Amaretto Cranberry Sauce. Amaretto is not something I usually have on hand and, being cheap, I didn’t want to buy it just for one recipe. But she mentioned that you could use ginger ale instead and since I’m a big fan of ginger, that seemed like a good idea to me.

Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce
The best part about making your own cranberry sauce is the cranberries popping as you cook them. Yes, they pop! And if you think the PLLLLOP! of cranberry sauce exiting a can is satisfying, just wait till you hear cranberries burst open! Because cranberries are naturally full of pectin (which is released when they pop), you don’t need to add anything to make the sauce jelly-like–it happens on its own.

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Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time

5 minutes

Cook Time

15 minutes

Total Time

20 minutes


6 servings


  • 8 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. ginger beer or ale
  • 1/4 c. freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often and using the back of a wooden spoon to smash cranberries against side of pan. Remove from heat; sauce will thicken as it cools.


For a strong ginger flavor, use an extra-spicy ginger ale or beer. Alternately, you can use a weaker ginger ale and throw in a few slices of ginger as the sauce cooks. Be sure to remove them before serving, though!


This looks delish and especially on a…um…”leftover” sandwich. 😉

I’ve gotta ask because I’m a texture weirdo and haven’t cooked with cranberries before, are the flecks that look like raspberry seeds, seeds of some kind or zest? I’m praying you’re going to say zest.

There’s orange zest in there and also cranberry seeds. Now, you could probably pour this through a fine mesh sieve to catch the skin and seeds, but I’ve never tried it myself…

I love the idea of ginger beer! We’ve been making a similar cranberry sauce for years for our vegan Thanksgiving get-togethers (couldn’t find it online, though I could have sworn it comes from Vegetarian Times).

Cranberries, thin-skinned orange, sliced into wedges, skin left on but seeds removed, sugar. Toss it through the food processor, stick it in a jar, and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days. Science happens, and after two days you have an amazingly delicious and easy sauce.

No Cook Sauce. My boys always made this in elementary school for the holidays as a bring home to mom project. Looking forward to passing it on to the grand children !

This is very similar to how I make it, minus the ginger. But I might just try that little add-in. And I always look forward to the popping too.

But not the canned stuff. It’s ok as a spread on rolls, etc. but with the holiday stinkin’ way.

The canned stuff sort of freaks me out. But I DO understand the love of nostalgic foods, which is why I am no stranger to the Thanksgiving jell-o/whipped cream/marshmallow salad. This sauce looks beautiful, I’ll take it over the canned stuff every day.

I totally spaced picking up the ginger ale before Thanksgiving so didn’t give this recipe a try on the big day. But coincidentally my grandma ended up running out of sugar and I had to substitute 7-Up for a little sweetness and it totally worked. I also added in a few cinnamon sticks and that had great flavor too. Since we didn’t have any leftovers, I’m preparing Thanksgiving Part Deux right now. I’m making your recipe as posted right now. And I still have some leftover cranberries, so will definitely be using your suggestions for the leftover cranberries/cranberry sauce.

I love the idea of adding 7-Up! I hope the sauce turned out well. 🙂 Definitely make some muffins with the leftovers–I had the last of the ones I made for breakfast this morning and I’m sad they’re all gone now because they were so good!

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I always buy my cranberry sauce in a can – it’s embarrassing because my town’s claim to fame is that it’s the cranberry capital of the world and the Ocean Spray HQ/Corporate office is literally about a mile from my house. I should be making my own cranberry sauce and this recipe really sounds good.

Me too! Me too! Years ago I made my own cranberry sauce, but nobody in my family liked it as much as the canned stuff (including me). We always needed at least 2 cans for Thanksgiving dinner. My coworker makes this awesome cranberry apple relish and gave me the recipe, and I’m hoping to tinker with it if I have time or make it on the big day. I feel the same about stuff like amaretto, so when I bought amaretto for a cookie recipe I bought one of those airplane-sized bottles. But I’d much prefer your ginger ale version anyway.

I just saw a recipe on FoodGawker this morning for homemade jellied cranberry sauce (the kind that plops out and retains the shape of the can!), so I might have to give that a try. It looked exactly like the canned kind–I was impressed!

I made it again this week and spent about an hour photographing the cranberries and then the sauce when it was finished, just for practice. You’re right, it really is beautiful! 🙂

Yes, you can definitely make it in advance. It gets more jelly-like as it cools, so it’s best served either room temperature or chilled. I hope your family likes it! 🙂

Greatest cranberry sauce EVER! I am allergic to gluten so I used omission lager in mine and also added zested some ginger in it. It’s so good! I would drink it if I could….and everyday.

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