Five minute cranberry relish is an easy, healthy, and delicious Thanksgiving side recipe that goes perfectly with turkey! It tastes fantastic after chilling in the fridge, so you can prepare it very easily a day in advance. That said, being that it only takes five minutes, you can throw it together as a delicious last-minute side. This post was updated with process photos and better instructions in 2021.
Okay, so maybe the question of cranberry relish or cranberry sauce isn't an 'either-or' situation, but truthfully... we are partial to this relish recipe! It's both sweet and tart from cranberries, unpeeled oranges, and apples balanced out with just enough organic cane sugar -- nothing too sweet. Also, it's less sugary than traditional cranberry sauce & relish recipes, and we love how it tastes so bright and fresh!
Oh, and can we talk about the fact that it only takes five minutes and four simple ingredients? Sign us up.
As I mentioned, there are only four ingredients required for this cranberry relish.
- Whole cranberries (side note: the health benefits of cranberries are pretty impressive!)
- Unpeeled oranges
- Organic, all-natural cane sugar
First, wash the cranberries, orange, and apple; then, cut the orange and apple into chunks. For this recipe, we're actually leaving the orange peel on, so no need to peel!
Then, place all of the fruit and sugar into a food processor, and blend until the mixture has a relish-like consistency (usually about 45-60 seconds).
Note: Depending on the orange peel's thickness, sometimes it's best to place the orange chunks in the food processor first so that they're closest to the blade. This ensures that there won't be large chunks of orange peel in your cranberry relish. (More tips on this below!)
Transfer the relish to a serving bowl or glass storage container, taste, and stir in more sugar if desired.
Hint: Some food processors are better at finely chopping orange chunks with the peel on, depending where the blade is located in the food processor. To make sure you don't have large chunks of orange peel, you can:
- Place the orange segments at the bottom of the food processor, closest to the blade, where it will get chopped up first; OR
- Peel the orange, add the fruit flesh to the food processor, zest the entire peel with a microplane, and add the zest to the food processor too.
Substitutions & Variations
This cranberry relish recipe is a classic, and partly due to nostalgia of my childhood Thanksgivings, I recommend it as written. That said, you can try out the following substitutions & variations:
- Sweetener - This is one recipe where I like to indulge in a little bit of organic cane sugar. It's less processed than white sugar, and while not 100% unrefined, its neutral sweet flavor against the tartness of cranberries and orange peel is perfect for this recipe's texture and flavor. That said, if you want to try a natural sweetener, go for one as neutral as possible. My top choice is agave -- it has a lighter flavor that easily blends with cranberries, orange, and apple. Note that with a liquid sweetener, the final texture will be slightly runnier, and the flavor slightly different.
- Fruit - For slight variations on the fruit flavor, you can try replacing half the apple with pineapple or pear. Note that a juicier fruit will yield a runnier texture, as will adjusting the fruit ratios significantly.
To store, place the relish in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
And to freeze, you can place the relish in an airtight container (leaving very little air space, but just a smidge for the relish to expand when frozen), and keep it in your freezer for up to three months. When you're ready to eat, thaw in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day!
If you have the time and the ingredients, cranberry relish is especially delicious when chilled overnight. So, if you plan on making it for Thanksgiving or any other special meal, I highly recommend whipping it up the night before!
Cranberry Relish FAQs
Cranberry sauce is boiled on the stove with cranberries, sugar, water, and other flavors, whereas cranberry relish is uncooked and blended.
Serve cranberry relish with a Thanksgiving turkey (literally, dip the turkey in it!), turkey burgers, turkey sandwiches, or any time you roast turkey. It would also be delicious with pork tenderloin or chicken.
Other Thanksgiving Sides...
For some of our other favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes, we recommend:
- Instant Pot mashed potatoes (buttery, delicious, consistent results every time!)
- Simple herb roasted beets (easy, healthy, sweet 'n earthy)
- Maple walnut roasted Brussels sprouts (our fave flavor combo for Brussels)
- Wild rice and pomegranate salad (hearty grain salad sprinkled with sweet pomegranate seeds)
Five Minute Cranberry Relish
This five minute cranberry relish recipe is a fresh, delicious, and healthy Thanksgiving side dish. Make it the night before Thanksgiving, or make it last-minute (because with a recipe this quick and easy, you can!). Enjoy with roasted turkey or on turkey sandwiches!
- Prep Time: 5
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: ~2 cups
- Category: Side dish, Thanksgiving
- Method: Food processor
- Cuisine: American
- 1 12-oz. bag of fresh cranberries
- 1 apple (I like Fuji for this recipe!)
- ½ an orange, unpeeled
- ¼-⅓ cup organic cane sugar*
- Chop fruit. Cut apple into chunks and discard the core, then halve the orange half.
- Blend in food processor. Place all ingredients in a food processor (or high speed blender) and process until a well-chopped, relish consistency forms (45 seconds - 1 minute will do).
- Taste and adjust sugar. Move relish to a medium bowl, serving dish, or container that you'll use to store in fridge. Taste and stir in more sugar to taste.
- Chill. Chill the cranberry relish until you're ready to use.
- Store or Freeze: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. To freeze, store in an airtight container with little space available for expansion, and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Sugar: I rarely use cane sugar, but for this recipe, I make an exception! I like the resulting cranberry relish consistency better than when I use a liquid sweetener. That said, a lightly flavored natural sweetener such as agave would work. Note that a liquid sweetener will change the resulting texture to be more runny.
Keywords: cranberry relish, healthier cranberry relish