Zesty Cranberry Relish {Great to Make-Ahead}


Zesty Cranberry Relish is a great side dish to serve with turkey dinner or it makes a delicious appetizer spooned over a block of cream cheese. 

Fresh cranberries are pulsed in a food processor with citrus and apple. It has lots of fresh sweet and tart flavors.

This dish is different than a traditional cranberry sauce; it’s not cooked (making it extra fast) and it tastes less sweet!

plated Zesty Cranberry Relish


Ingredients in Cranberry Relish

We love a traditional cranberry sauce with thanksgiving dinner, and we love this Cranberry Relish too! Instead of being cooked like cranberry sauce, cranberry relish is a condiment or topping of finely chopped fruit (cranberries, oranges, and apples).

Cranberries are the star of the dish! We use fresh cranberries, available in the produce section of the grocery store. Apples and oranges are added to balance out the tart flavor of the cranberries and to add a fresh zesty flavor. Swap out the oranges for pineapple if you’d like.

Oranges – Both the orange juice and zest add a lot of flavor to this recipe. While some recipes call for the entire orange (including the orange peel), I find the pith (the white part under the orange peel) to make the relish too bitter. Instead, use just the orange zest (the orange part of the skin without the white part) by using a zester or a Microplane grater.

Brown sugar curbs the tang since cranberries can be sour in flavor.

Pecans, walnuts, or other nuts are optional, but they do add flavor and texture to the dish and I highly recommend adding them. If time allows, toast the nuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant.

How To Make Cranberry Relish

This fresh cranberry relish is easy to make.

  1. Pulse the orange and apple in a food processor per the recipe below. You want the pieces to be small, about the size of peas. Place this in a bowl.
  2. Chop cranberries in the food processor separately, a little bit finer than the apple mixture, and add this to the bowl too.
  3. Stir in the other ingredients and chill before serving.

It’s great to serve with meat like turkey or pork chops, to spread onto turkey sandwiches, or even over ice cream with some granola.

To serve cranberry relish as an appetizer, serve it over baked brie or even over a block of cream cheese with crackers.

adding ingredients together in a bowl to make Zesty Cranberry Relish

Serving Suggestions

This recipe is great on any holiday table. Serve it next to a roasted turkey, along with Christmas dinner, or spoon it over cream cheese as an appetizer

Serve it with yogurt or pancakes or waffles.

Leftovers: Cranberry orange relish will last about a week in the fridge. It will become a bit saucier, and less crunchy as the sugars break it down but still tastes great. Additional chopped nuts can be added.

How to Freeze Cranberry Relish

This cranberry relish recipe is great for freezing if you have leftovers and will freeze for about three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and enjoy.

This recipe is great on any holiday table. Serve it next to a roasted turkey, along with Christmas dinner or spoon it over cream cheese as an appetizer

Serve it with yogurt or on our favorite pancake or waffle recipe.

More Ways to Enjoy Cranberries

Did you enjoy this Cranberry Relish? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

plated Zesty Cranberry Relish

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Zesty Cranberry Relish

Cranberry relish is the perfect combination of sweet and tart!

Prep Time 20 minutes

Chill 1 day

Total Time 1 day 20 minutes

  • Chop the orange and apple in a food processor, transfer to a bowl.

  • Chop cranberries and add to the orange/apple mixture.

  • Add remaining ingredients and stir well.

  • Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving.

This recipe can be made using all white sugar if preferred. If you prefer the relish to be more tart, add only ⅓ cup brown sugar.
Leftovers can be cooked and spooned over ice cream, spread over cream cheese and served with crackers or added to fruit crisp.
Some people prefer to leave the peel on, I prefer to peel the orange.
Optional: You can section the orange to remove all of the white skin. To section citrus fruit, cut skin and white rind from the fruit. Using a small knife, slide it between the fruit and membrane. Repeat with remaining sections of fruit removing all of the membranes from each slice.

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 101 | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
plated Zesty Cranberry Relish with pecans and writing
close up of Zesty Cranberry Relish with pecans and writing
close up of Zesty Cranberry Relish in a bowl with a title
ingredients in a bowl to make Zesty Cranberry Relish and plated dish with a title


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