Make Ahead Orange Honey Cranberry Sauce for Easy Entertaining

Make Ahead Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe

This orange honey cranberry sauce can be made ahead.  This is an easy Thanksgiving side dish.  This easy holiday recipe makes the perfect turkey topping.

Pan filled with fresh cranberries and grated orange peel

Make Ahead Orange Honey Cranberry Sauce for Easy Entertaining

I have and admission to make.  I am not a gravy girl.  I actually enjoy eating different toppings on my turkey and one of my favorites is my Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe.  YUM!

I love to make my Honey Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe.  The combination of honey, cinnamon and vanilla cooked together with cranberries and oranges make it sweet and tangy all in one scrumptious bite.  This is a good side dish, but put it on top of your sliced turkey and voila, it transforms the flavor.  You have to give it a try, alone or on your turkey.

Do you host Thanksgiving?  I do.  I have for a very long time and if you follow along, you will quickly discover that I’m all about saving time when and wherever possible.  A big dinner, like Thanksgiving, is like traveling with a baby; you still need a lot of stuff.  And, while Thanksgiving dinner isn’t always a ‘real food fast’ kind of meal, there are ways to shorten your time in the kitchen and spend time with guests.

I wouldn’t say I’ve perfected my processes, but every year I challenge myself to make my holiday kitchen time just a little shorter.  One of my yearly goals is to get as much done as possible the day (or two) beforehand.  This Cranberry Orange Sauce is one of my make ahead recipes that allows me the luxury of pulling it out the ‘day of’ and simply serving.  This recipe can actually be made two days before Thanksgiving. 

Great taste and time saved on the big day means a winning recipe that makes my Thanksgiving menu (and hopefully yours too).

Here is a printable version of my Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe for your convenience;

Make Ahead Cranberry Orange Sauce

Make Ahead Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 package fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1-2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Place the cranberries in a saucepan.

Cut the navel orange in half.  Squeeze the juice on top of the cranberries.

Using the rind, create orange zest to add to the recipe with a fine grater.

Stir in the water, honey, cinnamon & vanilla.

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for approximately 15 - 20 minutes.  Stir frequently as the cranberry orange sauce continues to cook.  The cranberries will begin to pop and become part of the sauce.  As the cranberry sauce cooks, the liquid reduces and the cranberry sauce thickens. Serve warm or chilled.

If you are looking for another side dish that you can prep the day before Thanksgiving, I’ve got another delicious dish for you to consider adding to the menu.

Check out my latest mashed potato love.  I’ve served them in the form of cupcakes to create individual servings.  This is a combination of white potatoes and sweet potatoes, which when combined are a dynamic duo of flavor.  My favorite spice in this mix is coriander. 

The best part?  This is another recipe to prep the day ahead and warm on Thanksgiving.  Here is the recipe linkLet’s be honest, who doesn’t want to make their holiday time in the kitchen as smooth as possible and as short as possible?

Homemade Mashed Potatoes Recipe


23 Comments on “Make Ahead Orange Honey Cranberry Sauce for Easy Entertaining”

  1. I love cranberry and orange. The cinnamon added sounds like a great combination. Thanks for sharing on Creative K Kids #TastyTuesdays

  2. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with us. Enjoy your new Red Plate and come back real soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. I was going to make fresh cranberry sauce tomorrow. Thanks for sharing your recipe with SYC.

    1. Thanks Amber! Yes we try to swap and trade our sweeteners when we can – especially around the holidays when there’s so much of it :).

      Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving….

  4. I’m not really a gravy girl either, Jodie, except when it comes to mashed potatoes. Then all bets are off! I love anything make ahead for the holidays, and your Cranberry Sauce looks lovely. Thank you for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. I’m featuring this post at the party this week. Hope to ‘see’ you there!

    1. Thanks for stopping by the site and for the wonderful feature. I’m so excited! I will add a link back too.

      Have a fantastic week….xo

  5. Pingback: Get the Scoop with this Super Easy No Churn Pumpkin Ice Cream

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