Cranberry Orange Jam: A Simple Staple for the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is over and I’m writing about cranberries. But with the gift giving season upon us, this cranberry orange jam serves as such a simple but sumptuous host/hostess gift or wonderful side dish for your holiday buffet, I thought it worthy of its own write-up and printable recipe format. You’ll also find it at the end of the cranberry orange rugelach post.

cranberry orange jam

cranberry orange jamWhen I first prepared this jam, I looked up several recipes and as usual, reduced the sugar a bit and added my “secret” Mexican orange liqueur called 43. Any orange liqueur will do or none at all is ok as well. The jam is thickened with the natural pectin from a shredded apple, which is the most time-consuming aspect of this recipe. This comes together so easily.

The jam is outstanding as a spread on a turkey sandwich, a tangy tart addition to a holiday brunch buffet, or a wonderful surprise bite inside a mini corn muffin. Use any cornbread recipe, fill each muffin tin halfway, add a dab of the jam and fill the rest of the way. Bake as usual. Doesn’t that sound yummy?

What’s your favorite food gift for this festive time of year?

cranberry orange jam

5.0 from 4 reviews
Cranberry Orange Jam
Recipe type: Jam and Preserves
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A simple staple for the holiday season, perfect for a holiday buffet or gift giving or Cranberry Orange Rugelach!
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (Regular would be fine too)
  • 16 ounces of fresh cranberries (if you have a package in the freezer – can use them straight out of the freezer – no problem)
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange (juice should be about ½ cup – add water or orange juice if necessary to bring up to a ½ cup)
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, grated (any variety apple you have will do but tarter apples have more natural pectin which helps thicken the jam)
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional)
  1. Put all ingredients, except liqueur, in a medium saucepan on medium heat – bring to a boil, then keep at a low boil for about 15 minutes. Intermittently, you’ll hear the cranberries popping.
  2. Mix often to check for thickening. If cranberries have not all popped and it’s getting too thick, add a bit more water or orange juice.
  3. Taste for sweetness and flavor at about 10 minutes, and if desired, add in the orange liqueur. Cook for another 5 minutes, take off heat and use a wooden spoon or potato masher to break up most of the chunks.
  4. Put in jars and refrigerate. Should last about 2 weeks or you can freeze some for later use.


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22 Responses to Cranberry Orange Jam: A Simple Staple for the Holiday Season

  1. Lizthechef December 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Great minds think alike – just posted my cranberry chutney this morning – LOL. Enjoy the season, Beth. X0 Liz ps Nice that you can freeze this – cranberries live in my freezer most of the year. Why not jam?

    • Beth Lee December 7, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      I hope you have a wonderful season as well – look forward to seeing what else you have in store for posts in December. Your chutneys are wonderful!

  2. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) December 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    This looks great and I actually have ALL the ingredients for this! Printing out…

    • Beth Lee December 7, 2013 at 11:45 am #

      Let me know if you make it and how it comes out. We loved it – down to the last bite!

  3. sandy corman December 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    Had this jam at Thanksgiving and it was oo-la-la!! Oh if only I wasn’t too lazy to try all your great dishes.

    • Beth Lee December 7, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      I’ll give you a jar next time I make some…

  4. Carol Sacks December 6, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Looks great, Beth. I love orange and cranberry together!

    • Beth Lee December 7, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      yes – a magical combination. Thx for stopping by!

  5. Deb December 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    It’s still cranberry season at my house too! As with most seasonal produce I hold on until it has vanished from the stores and markets. The festive red berry is a perfect companion for the Christmas holiday. And Cranberry Orange Jam sounds marvelous!

    • Beth Lee December 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

      As I’m sure you know, cranberries freeze so well. So stock up and you can indulge long after the season is over!

  6. Hannah December 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Jam-filled cornbread muffins sound incredibly delicious, Beth, especially with your cranberry orange jam. My taste buds are tingling! I didn’t have nearly enough cranberry yumminess at Thanksgiving so I’ll be making some jam soon. Love the festive red color, too!

    • Beth Lee December 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      I know right? The color really is lovely and another little tip – it is really good with soft cheeses on your appetizer tray. Yum!

  7. Annelies December 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    I’m a sucker for cranberries and get pretty excited when the season is upon us. This looks dynamite.

    • Beth Lee December 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

      As I was just telling Hannah – it’s wonderful on a cheese tray. I put out quince, citrus marmalade, and cranberry orange with some soft and hard cheeses and the cranberry went first.

      What are your favorite cranberry creations Annelies?

  8. rebecca December 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    this looks great and love the color

  9. Janell June 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    can this recipe be canned?

    • Beth Lee June 22, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      Great question Janell! I am writing to the expert – Cathy Barrow of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen to ask. I suspect that you have to up the sugar to can it but I’ll find out!

    • Beth Lee June 23, 2014 at 6:27 am #

      Hi again Janell, I talked to Cathy Barrow – she said it is both method and ingredients so it is not as simple as just upping the sugar. She macerates her fruit overnight as well. If you want to preserve, start with a recipe that is made for that – here is one option though a little different you could modify it to be cranberry orange:

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  10. Jhangus November 24, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    I have used this recipe for 3 holidays now….it has become a family & friend favorite.

    • Beth Lee December 1, 2015 at 10:44 am #

      Yah! That makes me so happy! Thanks for sharing and I hope you had a delicious Thanksgiving. I will be making Cranberry Orange Rugelach using the jam this week.

  11. Jhangus November 24, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    I have used this recipe for 3 holidays now….it has become a family & friend favorite.

  12. Gayla Harken September 18, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

    Do you think this could be preserved using a hot water bath like you would do for jams or jellies?

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