No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a batch of this 5-minute fresh cranberry orange relish. Full of fresh cranberries, a whole orange, and nuts, It’s a crunchy, no-cook version of cranberry sauce.
Not only is it significantly lower in sugar than traditional cranberry relish or sauce, but it’s also higher in fiber, making it diabetes-friendly.
I’ve been making this sweet-tangy cranberry relish for over 25 years. It’s one of my favorite holiday foods, and I hope it will be yours too!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This fresh cranberry orange relish recipe is fool-proof and takes less than 5 minutes to make. If you want to bring a Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish but need something easy, this recipe is for you.
- It has significantly less carbs and more fiber than traditional cranberry sauce or relish. One serving of this recipe has 17g of carbs and 3g of fiber.
Here’s what I use to make this cranberry orange relish. I’ve listed a few substitutions and variations in the section below.
See my recipe card for the complete recipe with all ingredients and measurements.
Cranberries. You can use whole fresh or frozen cranberries. Frozen cranberries will shrivel when thawed, but since everything gets chopped up in a food processor, no one will ever know.
One whole orange with skin. I like a navel orange for this recipe because the flesh is naturally sweet, allowing you to use less sweetener. Navel oranges are also seedless, which is a good thing, because you’ll use the entire orange without peeling it.
Almonds. These add flavor and crunchy texture, and almonds go so well with orange and cranberry. Check out my Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies to see how many people love that combo!
Sweetener. I use Lakanto, a zero-calorie sweetener made from monk fruit and erythritol. It won’t affect your blood sugar or insulin, but I always recommend using sugar or non-nutritive sweeteners in moderation. Read this article on erythritol and blood clots to learn why. This recipe only calls for ⅓ cup of sweetener (or less if you prefer).
Substitutions and Variations
You can swap pecans or walnuts for the almonds. If you’re nut-free, you can also leave out the nuts.
If you prefer plain white or brown sugar, you can use that instead of a non-nutritive sweetener. Or use half sugar and half Lakanto. Start with ⅓ cup total and add more if necessary. I don’t recommend maple syrup or honey because they will change the texture of the relish.
Try these variations:
- Add a peeled crisp apple or pear to the food processor in addition to or in place of the orange.
- Flavor this cranberry relish with a pinch of cinnamon, allspice, or ginger.
- For more almond flavor, add a few drops of almond extract. Or, for more orange flavor, add a few drops of orange extract.
Step By Step Instructions
This orange cranberry relish recipe comes together in two quick steps:
First, add your ingredients to the food processor. Wash and drain your cranberries well. Discard any that are soft. Wash your whole orange and cut it into quarters (don’t peel it). Then, cut each quarter in half. Add the orange pieces, the almonds, and the sweetener to the food processor.
Second, pulse the mixture about 30 times, scraping down the bowl as needed. Keep the relish on the chunky side; don’t puree it. Taste the relish for texture and sweetness and adjust as necessary. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.
A food processor is necessary to grind the cranberries into small pieces because raw cranberries are quite hard. I highly recommend a Cuisinart Food Processor. I’ve had mine for decades, and it’s still going strong.
Pick up a few extra bags of fresh cranberries during the holidays and keep them in the freezer. That way, you can make this orange cranberry relish any time of the year.
What to Eat With Orange Cranberry Relish
Fresh, low-sugar cranberry orange relish isn't just for Thanksgiving! I also serve this sweet-tangy relish for Easter with ham and as a side dish with roast chicken and roasted fall vegetables for a Sunday dinner.
Sometimes, I’ll make a double batch because leftover relish is ideal for:
- Stirring into oatmeal or yogurt for a sweet, fruity, and nutty flavor
- Spreading on a turkey sandwich
- Making homemade cranberry vinaigrette salad dressing
- Spooning on top of chocolate protein pancakes or waffles
- Topping a baked brie
You can make this relish at least three days in advance, and it will still taste fresh and crisp. You can also freeze it, but when it's thawed, it will be softer, less crisp, and more watery. It’s still delicious, though.
Cranberry sauce is cooked with sugar. The pectin in the cranberries plus the sugar thickens the sauce. Cranberry relish isn’t cooked. It’s raw cranberries, sweetener, and other fruits or nuts.
Cranberries are a very low-sugar fruit. They are also a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber, making them very healthy. Research shows they can help prevent urinary tract infections, heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases.
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Low Sugar Cranberry Orange Relish
- 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries 1 bag, rinsed
- 1 medium orange with peel, washed, quartered, any seeds removed
- ½ cup whole almonds
- ⅓ cup sweetener of choice I recommend Swerve or Lakanto for no-calorie sweeteners
- Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 30 times until the relish is evenly chopped.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.