Today I have my mom’s 10 minute recipe for fresh Raw Cranberry Relish for Thanksgiving. It is made with raw cranberries, whole orange that has been ground in the food processor, then mixed with raspberry jam and sugar. It can be made up to 5 days ahead! 

a table with orange foliage and a bowl of raw cranberry relish with a hand holding a spoon of relish

I originally published this recipe on November 22,2014. I have updated the text and images to reshare the recipe with you today. 

My Childhood Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving dinner for my family was always about spending time with friends. Since my mom’s side of the family was in Texas, and my Dad’s was in Vermont, both too far away to travel to, we stayed home in Bucks County, and got together with some other families in the neighborhood. The Prices, the Guerreros, the Dunlaps and the Gordons.

It was a huge group. My sister Jessie and I folded right into the big posse of kids, 10 of us all together. I was one of the youngest three, and spent a lot of time observing the misbehavior of the older teenage boys in the group.

One year, I remember watching one of the older Guerrero boys holding a two liter of orange soda up to his eyeball and tipping the whole thing back with his eye open. This was of course on a dare but what was he thinking? Or there was the time when all the kids left the table and put on dress-ups and then went thanksgiving “trick or treating” to really confuse the neighbors.

The parents, for their part had their own share of shenanigans. There was the time when one of the other moms brought a bottle of champagne over early in the day. While they were all supposed to be cooking the moms got too tipsy for their own good. Or there was the time when my dad decided it would be a good idea to set up a tape recorder on top of the Guerrero’s fridge to record the whole crazy evening. I’d love to get my hands on that today!

I remember the people and the fun. And the laughter, and the f-bombs dropped by my dad.

There were traditions that we had every year too. Without fail big Dirk, would always start the meal with a Quakerly moment of silence, everyone solemnly holding hands. And then we’d all start to pass the food around the table with mass confusion ensuing. After a moment, and a chance to try some of the meal, my Dad would stop everyone, and we’d all have to go around the table to say what we had for our first bite. I love that tradition and still insist on it to this day!

And of course there was the food.

a table from overhead with a white linen, a votive candle and fall foliage with a bowl of cranberry relish

My mom’s cranberry relish was one of the traditions that we could always look forward to. There were usually a few different cranberry sauces on the table, but this one was always my favorite.

Notes on Cranberry Relish

When I asked my mom about it, she told me there wasn’t really a recipe, other than it is one pound of cranberries to one orange. Then she adds sugar and raspberry jam to taste.

I made a half batch since it is only eight of us at the Thanksgiving table, and I want to serve more than one cranberry sauce. As I made it, I was surprised by how easy it was.

It only took 10 minutes, maybe even a little less.

I love how it is so fresh and bright. When you make it, feel free to doctor it up with as much sugar as you like. I stopped at three tablespoons, but you may like a touch more.

a close up overhead of cranberry relish

How To Make Raw Cranberry Relish

Use Whole Unpeeled Orange

  • I’d say the best part of this recipe is the flavor the orange rind adds to this recipe. If possible, start with an organic navel orange. That way there won’t be any pesticide residue on it.
  • Next cut it into two halves. Then cut one of the halves into six chunks. If you see any seeds, remove them with the knife tip.
  • Process the orange chunks in the food processor by pulsing them until they are about the size of peas or small marbles. 

Add Whole Raw Cranberries

  1. Add in the cranberries, and pulse some more until the mixture is chopped up finely. Don’t forget to scrape it down. 
  2. If you want to use frozen cranberries, that is fine. I recommend thawing them first so they are easier to grind up. They will seem juicy, but that’s not a problem. Once the cranberries are ground and mixed with the sugar and jam and then refrigerated they will become more and more juicy anyway, so the results will be almost identical. 

Add Jam and Sugar to Sweeten.

If you want to use an unrefined sugar source try maple syrup or honey. Also if you prefer a non-nutritive sweetener, just skip the jam and add your prefered sweetener to taste. 

  1. To add the jam. take a couple tablespoons of raspberry jam and set them in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the jam to loosen it up.
  2. I use regular high sugar jam (about 50 cal per tablespoon) for this recipe, since its purpose is to add sweetness. As I mentioned, only two tablespoons was sweet enough for me. If you like more raspberry flavor, add more jam and possibly a little less sugar.
  3. Add in sugar with the cranberry mixture and stir. Start with two tablespoons, taste and add more if you want. Just make sure to stir until the sugar is dissolved before you taste. 

How to Store Raw Cranberry Relish

  • Transfer the cranberry sauce to a resealable container and pop it in the fridge for up to five days before you serve it. 
  • This cranberry sauce will become more moist, and let off liquid as it sits in the fridge. Stir it before transferring it to a serving bowl. 
Raw cranberry relish in a white bowl on a blue gray table with orange foliage and a votive candle

More Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Cranberry Relish on a spoon in hand with white sweater

Cranberry Relish

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups 1x


Today I have my mom’s 10 minute recipe for fresh Raw Cranberry Relish for Thanksgiving. It is made with raw cranberries, whole orange that has been ground in the food processor, then mixed with raspberry jam and sugar. It can be made up to 5 days ahead!


  • ½ navel orange (with skin), cut into 6 pieces
  • 12 ounces cranberries, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoon raspberry jam, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste


  1. Remove any seeds from orange (if there are any) and place in food processor fitted with steel blade attachment. Process until chopped into pieces no larger than a pea. Add cranberries and pulse until the cranberries are finely chopped.
  2. Whisk raspberry jam in a medium bowl to loosen. Add cranberry mixture and sugar and stir thoroughly until the jam is incorporated and the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until serving.


It is fine to use frozen cranberries, but it is easier to grind them in the food processor if they are thawed first. They will be more juicy initially, but after everything is mixed together and refrigerated for several hours, will be indistinguishable from relish made with unfrozen cranberries.

If you do not like to use plain white sugar, sub in maple syrup or honey. If you prefer a non-nutritive sweetener, skip the jam and add preferred sweetener to taste.

Can be made up to 5 days ahead.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 43
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Sodium: 2 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Keywords: raw cranberry sauce,thanksgiving,cranberry,orange,cranberry relish

cranberry relish in a white bowl with orange leaves on the table
A bowl of Cranberry relish collage