Make Ahead

Roasted Cranberry Sauce With Orange

November 17, 2017
4 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves a crowd
Author Notes

Here’s a cranberry sauce that you can and should make all season long. It’s tart and sweet, just as you’d expect a cranberry sauce to be, with savory undertones that surprise and play nicely with everything on your table. It’s pleasantly bitter, too, thanks to a whole orange (rind and flesh) that gets chopped up and folded in. And because the sauce is roasted (versus simmered on the stove), it’s more complex and concentrated in flavor—and virtually hands-off in preparation.

This sauce can easily fit in with all of the seasons’ cooking, equally at home with a roast chicken or rich vegetable gratin as with your Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham. And leftovers can be used in countless ways; below I’ve included three of my favorites: cranberry brown butter-roasted sweet potatoes; cranberry-balsamic vinaigrette; and cranberry and whipped ricotta toasts.

Note: I like to hold back a portion of the cranberries and add them near the end of the roasting time. The textural contrast between the fully and partially burst berries is really nice, but feel free to add all the berries from the get-go for a smoother, jammier sauce. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • Roasted cranberry sauce with orange
  • 6 cups cranberries (two 12-ounce bags), separated
  • 1 medium organic naval or Cara Cara orange
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped (almost minced) shallots (from 1 large shallot)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped (almost minced) fennel (celery can be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • Small pinch of kosher salt, or to taste
  • Plus: 3 Ways to Put Leftover Cranberry Sauce to Good Use!
  1. Roasted cranberry sauce with orange
  2. Heat oven to 375° F.
  3. Set aside 2 cups of cranberries (they’ll get added to the sauce near the end of its roasting time).
  4. Wash the orange well, then slice off both ends and cut in half, removing any seeds. Finely chop the whole orange (peel and flesh).
  5. Combine the chopped orange with the remaining 4 cups cranberries, brown sugar, and the rest of the ingredients in a 9x13-inch baking dish, stirring well to integrate. Roast for 40 minutes (stirring once or twice) until the cranberries have burst and the juices are starting to thicken. Remove the pan from the oven, stir well, then add the remaining cranberries (and more water or orange juice, if needed, to loosen the sauce). Roast for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cranberries have softened but still have their shape.
  6. Taste the sauce for balance, adding more brown sugar, balsamic, and/or orange juice to your liking. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve at room temperature or cold. The sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated (for up to a week) or frozen (for up to a month) tightly covered.
  1. Plus: 3 Ways to Put Leftover Cranberry Sauce to Good Use!
  2. Cranberry and Brown Butter-Roasted Sweet Potatoes: In a small pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter and cook until it turns brown and smells nutty, about 4 to 6 minutes. Take the pan off of the heat and immediately mix in 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce (smashing any whole berries with the back of your spoon) and 1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs (sage, thyme, or rosemary). Toss 2 pounds sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks) with the cranberry-brown butter and kosher salt and pepper, to taste, and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Roast at 425F for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Cranberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette: Using an immersion or standing blender, blend 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce with 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and a few pinches of kosher salt and black pepper. Adjust seasoning and acidity, to taste.
  4. Cranberry and Whipped Ricotta Toasts: In a bowl of a food processor, combine 1 cup of ricotta cheese and kosher salt and pepper, to taste. (Chevre makes a great substitute for ricotta.) With the motor running, add 2 to 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or more as needed) in a thin stream, and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Adjust seasoning, to taste. Spread crostini or favorite toasts with a layer of whipped ricotta, then a layer of cranberry sauce (at room temperature). Top with finely chopped herbs (tarragon or parsley), if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Marina
  • Chevelle
  • Tenely Smith
    Tenely Smith
  • EmilyC

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

10 Reviews

Carla F. November 22, 2023
I was a little dubious about the rosemary and balsamic vinegar, but it's out of the oven now and it tastes divine! I may not be able to wait to dig into it until the turkey tomorrow. Thank you!
Lucy G. November 12, 2023
I’m looking to bring this as a sauce for family thanksgiving but will be traveling with it. How does this hold up if canned?
Dmanok December 21, 2022
Made this again for the 3rd time since Thanksgiving! It is delicious as a sandwich spread and also served with a sharp cheddar or Brie cheese. Absolutely delicious - thank you!
Austincook November 25, 2022
I made this yesterday for the first time and my guests raved about it! It is excellent, and not only much better than my old (also excellent) stovetop recipe but makes much less mess!
Marina November 25, 2019
The recipe sounds amazing and very different from other cranberry sauce recipes I have made over years. I just wonder how to avoid cranberries getting stuck and juice from berries getting caramelized on a bottom of a baking dish. Should I line it with nonstick aluminium foil?
EmilyC November 25, 2019
Hi Marina! I’ve never had any problem with the cranberries sticking in a 9x13 pyrex pan, but to be safe, just check and stir several times, and add a little more water or orange juice if the berries are starting to stick at all. Hope you enjoy!
Chevelle November 11, 2019
I just added this to my Thanksgiving menu, and bonus... I recognize the author! ❤️ Can’t wait to try it out!
EmilyC November 13, 2019
Aw, your note made my day! Hope you and yours are well!
Tenely S. November 21, 2018
I just made this for Thanksgiving. I used celery instead of fennel. I really like the bitterness of the orange and the hint of rosemary, but not the crunch of the celery. If I were to make it again I would sautee celery and shallot first. I did feel the need to add about 1/2 C. water when I added the reserved berries so there would be some "sauce" to bind this together, and I added a bit more sugar once out of the oven.
EmilyC November 21, 2018
Thanks for trying this! I personally like the little bit of crunch from the celery or fennel but yes, absolutely sauté them next time if you’d like! (The crunch of the celery will subside, too, as the sauce sits.) I often add water or OJ to loosen the sauce, as well. Fortunately it’s an easy sauce to adapt to your personal taste! Happy Thanksgiving!!