Cranberry Orange Jam: A Simple Staple for the Holiday Season

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This cranberry orange jam will become a Thanksgiving staple in your home. So easy to make but full of flavor – perfect to give as a hostess gift and for all those delicious sandwiches the next day!

cranberry orange jam on wood mat with cranberries

Cranberry Orange Jam – The Perfect Holiday Gift

With the gift giving season upon us, this cranberry orange jam serves as a simple but sumptuous host/hostess gift or wonderful side dish for your holiday buffet.

cranberry orange jam jar plus bowl of cranberries

When I first developed this jam recipe, I knew I wanted to keep the sugar level as low as possible and use my “secret” citrus liqueur called 43. Any orange liqueur will do but it’s optional. Don’t worry if you don’t have any.

Do you need Pectin to Thicken this Cranberry Jam?

I decided to thicken the jam with the natural pectin from a shredded apple. Many fruits – apples are an example – have natural pectin in them. Since apple and cranberry mix well together, I decided to use shredded apple to thicken this jam. You can’t really discern any apple flavor in the end but it sure does its job thickening this up! Shredding that apple is the most time-consuming part of this refrigerator jam recipe – it’s so easy!

cranberry orange jam ingredients in pot

Cranberries, apples, sugar, orange juice and zest: all ready to make cranberry orange jam!

cranberry orange jam ingredients mixed in pot

Cranberry jam with orange is naturally thickened with the grated apple.

How to Use Orange Cranberry Jam

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? Or try it on your next cheese platter – it pairs beautifully with goat cheese and so much more.

How to Make Cranberry Orange Jam

  1. Rinse off your cranberries and put them in your medium saucepan.
  2. Zest and juice the orange and add both to the cranberries in the pan.
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Grate the apple and add it to the pot as well
  5. Give it a mix and bring it to a boil. Keep it at a low boil and you’ll hear the cranberries start to pop.
  6. About 10 minutes in, add in your orange liqueur if using it. This is also a good time to take a masher and squish some of the berries further. I leave lots of texture but like to smooth it out a bit.
  7. At about 15 minutes in, I turn it off, let it cool for a bit, then put it in jars and refrigerate. Remember this is not a recipe for canning. Just refrigerate or even freeze the jam for later use.

Other Recipes that Pair Well with Cranberry Orange Jam

Cranberry Orange Rugelach 

rugelach on white plate with cranberries and orange rind






Dry Brine Turkey

Whole Dry Brine Turkey Roasted on a white plate with fresh sage and oranges






Sage Sausage Stuffing

Sage sausage, cornbread, and challah stuffing - our family's Thanksgiving tradition: with dried fruit, nuts, apples and lots and lots of love.






Top your potato latkes with cranberry jam, instead of just applesauce or sour cream. Really – it’s fantastic!

Potato Latkes with cranberry orange jam, apple sauce, sour cream, and dreidels






Make Cranberry Crostini or serve the cranberry jam with goat cheese and crackers.

Prepare a cheese and charcuterie platter using cranberry jam as one of the spreads.

More Thanksgiving Recipes to Inspire You

Vegetable Wellington

Squash Soup

Roasted Delicata Squash with Pomegranate Molasses

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Cauliflower

How to Make Pie Dough

World Famous Key Lime Pie

Love leftovers? How about this Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Stuffing Crust!

Helpful Supplies for Making Orange and Cranberry Jam

This post contains Amazon affiliate links – if you click on one and purchase something, I receive a very tiny percentage of the sale. Your price is never affected.

Here are helpful supplies for making cranberry orange jam. Jam jars, whether Ball or Kerr or any brand you prefer are not only nice to have around for jam-making but you’ll find many other uses for them. They are much cheaper by the each if you buy them in bulk. A good potato masher is always handy to have around. And we have had an All-Clad sauce pot I think since we were married. We use that pot all the time!

Also check out my Amazon shop that includes some of my favorite food and food-related products. I am always updating it – please visit often. And let me know if you need specific product recommendations – I am happy to help!

cranberry orange jam
4.75 from 12 votes

Cranberry Orange Jam Recipe

Cranberry Orange Jam is a perfect addition to your holiday table and a great gift-giving idea. So easy to make - using fresh cranberries, apple, sugar, and orange - this will become a fall tradition in your home!

Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Keyword cranberry, cranberry orange jam
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 97 kcal


  • 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.
  2. Intermittently, you’ll hear the cranberries popping. 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. This is also a good time to use a wooden spoon or potato masher to break up some of the chunks, depending on the texture you prefer.

  4. Cook for another 5 minutes, take off heat and let it cool off.

  5. Makes about 3.5 cups. Once cool, put in jars and refrigerate. Should last about 2 weeks or you can freeze some for later use.


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

  1. Tonya December 28, 2019 at 7:35 am #

    I literally made this two minutes ago…oh, wow, is all it can say!!! This is a keeper and SO easy!

    • Beth Lee December 28, 2019 at 8:31 am #

      Yay! I am so glad you like it! Enjoy and happy holidays.

  2. A. December 14, 2019 at 12:53 pm #

    5 stars
    My mom has been searching for something like this like crazy for weeks so I’m making this for her for Christmas! How long is it good until after I’ve made it?

    • Beth Lee December 14, 2019 at 2:35 pm #

      Great question – A few weeks in the fridge, at least. You can also freeze it if you want to keep some even longer. The batch I made on Nov 24 is still perfect and I’ll be using it to make orange cranberry rugelach in the next couple days. I hope your mom loves it! Homemade gifts are the best.

  3. Anita Baranovsky November 24, 2019 at 10:28 am #

    5 stars
    Just made the jam. Quite spectacular, and this is before I tried it well cooled down. Did use Grand Marnier, given it is turning into an antique in my cupboard. Lovely touch.
    Thank you for the cristal clear explanations. Have a great holiday and my best to Doug and Ali.

    • Beth Lee November 24, 2019 at 11:18 am #

      So good to hear from you Anita. I am making my batch today too. So glad you made it and like it as much as I do! XOXO to the Scottsdale crew.

  4. Sara October 8, 2018 at 9:17 am #

    5 stars
    Love the touch of orange through orange liqueur in addition to the orange zest! Really pairs well with the cranberries!

    • Beth Lee October 8, 2018 at 11:11 am #

      Oh that orange liqueur gives it a little bit of unexpected depth – you don’t really know what it is – just pops a bit more in your mouth!

  5. Jennifer Farley October 8, 2018 at 7:47 am #

    5 stars
    How perfect is this? I love adding orange juice and zest to cranberries. It does so much to enhance the flavors!

    • Beth Lee October 8, 2018 at 8:06 am #

      Such a natural combination – I can never really get enough of oranges and cranberries together this time of year.

  6. Britni October 8, 2018 at 7:40 am #

    5 stars
    I love learning new recipes for jams. Thank you for this creative recipe.

    • Beth Lee October 8, 2018 at 8:04 am #

      Isn’t it the best when it’s easy but just a little bit different? So many people from young adults to grandmas tell me they make this every year.

  7. Kali Stanland December 16, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    Hi. Maybe I missed it, but how much does this actually make?

    • Beth Lee December 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi – good question! Looks like I left that off! It makes about 3.5 cups. And remember these instructions are for refrigerator jam, not shelf stable canning. Have fun!

    • Kathleen W November 17, 2019 at 5:37 pm #

      5 stars
      This recipe is not only easy and tasty it’s also very forgiving. My store only had 12oz bags, not 16, so I used two bags for a total of 24 ounces. I ended up adding about 1/4 cup orange juice extra when cooking and it turned out perfect. I was a bit worried about the apple not doing it’s job but the jam texture was perfect. Even my family members who are not fans of cranberries (Like I am) liked the jam. I would say this is a perfect project for those learning to cook as well.

      • Beth Lee November 18, 2019 at 11:19 am #

        Hi Kathleen! Thanks for this great feedback and details of how you made the jam. Isn’t the apple amazing? Makes a great jammy texture. And I totally agree that this is a great way to get your feet wet with cooking or making jam. I know college kids new to cooking that make this! Have a happy and delicious Thanksgiving!

  8. Gretchen December 16, 2017 at 10:55 am #

    Just made a batch of this – amazed at how easy it was to put together and how lovely and festive it looks in the jars. What a lovely “hostess gift” to take along to holiday gatherings. Thanks for this lovely recipe!

    • Beth Lee December 16, 2017 at 11:06 am #

      I’m so glad – I make it every year and am always glad I did! Makes me so happy – thx for sharing!

  9. Heather November 29, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Hello, I was just wondering how many jars this would make? Im using 250ml jars

  10. Michelle November 1, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

    I can think of a ton of ways to use this! Looking forward to trying it over the holidays!

    • Beth Lee November 1, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

      Yup – I make a cranberry orange rugelach with it but oh so many more ways to use it! Thx for stopping by.

  11. 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?

    • Brenda Henne September 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

      I would like to know if this recipe has been used to can in waster bath also!

      • Beth Lee October 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

        I don’t know if you saw this response Brenda so I am posting it again: Wow – Brenda – sorry for the delay in responding – for some reason I didn’t get the notice that I had a new comment on this post. So sorry! I am not an expert in preservation unfortunately. I would start with a recipe that is meant to be preserved from someone like Cathy Barrow (Mrs. WheelBarrow’s Kitchen), Marisa McClellan (Food in Jars), or Emily Paster (West of the Loop).

    • Beth Lee October 18, 2016 at 9:20 am #

      Wow – Brenda – sorry for the delay in responding – for some reason I didn’t get the notice that I had a new comment on this post. So sorry! I am not an expert in preservation unfortunately. I would start with a recipe that is meant to be preserved from someone like Cathy Barrow (Mrs. WheelBarrow’s Kitchen), Marisa McClellan (Food in Jars), or Emily Paster (West of the Loop).

    • Beth Lee October 18, 2016 at 9:21 am #

      Sorry for the delay in responding Gayla! – for some reason I didn’t get the notice that I had a new comment on this post. So sorry! I am not an expert in preservation unfortunately. I would start with a recipe that is meant to be preserved from someone like Cathy Barrow (Mrs. WheelBarrow’s Kitchen), Marisa McClellan (Food in Jars), or Emily Paster (West of the Loop). I know amount of sugar and temp of boiling is really important if you plan to preserve.

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

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

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

    5 stars
    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.

  14. 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!

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

    this looks great and love the color

  16. 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?

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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…

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

    5 stars
    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!

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

    5 stars
    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!

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