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

This dish is different than a traditional cranberry sauce, it’s not cooking (making it extra fast) and it’s a bit less sweet than cranberry sauce! Fresh cranberries with citrus and apple give relish lots of fresh flavor.

Cranberry relish in a clear Bowl

A Different Kind of Side Dish

We love a traditional cranberry sauce with thanksgiving dinner and we love this Cranberry Relish too!

We often think of sweet or dill pickle relish which is finely chopped pickles with flavorful add-ins. Cranberry relish is very similar except it has finely chopped fruit (cranberries, oranges and apples).

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.


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.

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

Pecans or walnuts are optional but they do add flavor and texture to the dish and I highly recommend them.

How To Make Cranberry Relish

This is so easy and so delicious to make! Have it prepared in 3 simple steps.

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.

Left image is apples in a food processor and right image is cranberries in a food processor

2. Chop cranberries 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.

Ingredients for Cranberry Relish in a food processor


Fridge: The spices and sugar allow this to keep in the refrigerator about a week. It will really meld and become saucier, less crunchy, as the sugars break it down. If you opted for adding chopped pecan, they will change texture and soften a bit but still taste great.

How to Freeze Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Relish is a great thing to freeze if you have leftovers, or it can be a make-ahead dish, as it will freeze well for three months. Then all you have to do is pull it out and defrost in the fridge overnight, and it will be just as good as new! Just spoon the relish into freezer safe bags or airtight containers, leaving a half inch of room for expansion.

Serve it with yogurt, over 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
Servings 12 servings


  • 12 ounces cranberries
  • 1 orange peeled, *see note
  • 1 apple peeled and cored
  • ½ cup brown sugar or to taste
  • cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • cup pecans finely chopped, optional


  • 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.
4.84 from 6 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

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

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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    1. That is totally up to you Bull. We prefer to peel the orange first, but you can leave the peel on as well.