This is the best small-batch recipe for cranberry jam made with fresh orange juice and orange zest! I love cranberries, so I made this basic cranberry side dish recipe with fresh cranberries and orange juice.  This simple side dish recipe incorporates the tart fruit and the bright, citrusy flavor of oranges.

bowl of homemade cranberry sauce

After making this homemade jam, if you have some leftover cranberries, make some cranberry orange scones for Thanksgiving morning.

Another great fruit sauce and delicious spread, you might enjoy my simple apple butter or unique pomegranate butter recipes.

How to Cook Fresh Whole Cranberries

  • Be sure to use enough sugar.  The granulated white sugar helps the sauce thicken, so don’t cut back on the amount of sugar, or you may end up with a soupy jam. Also, enough sugar is needed to balance out the tart nature of cranberries.
  • If your jam won’t jell correctly, you may need to add pectin or a cornstarch slurry.  Cornstarch slurry is made by whisking cornstarch and water together to form a paste.
  • Watch your fruit mixture so it doesn’t boil over.
  • As the cranberries simmer, you’ll hear a popping sound, don’t get freaked out, it’s normal. The popping sound is the berries bursting through the skin and releasing the natural pectin.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Add a little ground or cinnamon sticks to the jam to spice the flavor up a bit.
  • Use maple syrup or honey instead of sugar.
  • For a more orange flavor, add extra orange peel.

Recipe Notes

The recipe makes a chunky jam; for a smoother jam consistency, use an immersion blender for a few seconds.

3 Easy Steps to Make Classic Cranberry Sauce and Jam

All you need are fresh or frozen cranberries, orange or lemon juice, water, sugar, and a pinch of ground cinnamon.

  • Combine cranberries and all other ingredients in a 1.5-quart saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil. Let boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring often so the mixture does not burn.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or just until the cranberries start to break up and the sauce thickens.
  • Remove from heat and serve warm or chilled.

Serving Suggestions

Cranberries aren’t just for holidays or turkey sandwiches. Try some on short stack pancakes or french toast for one , pork chops, stirred into yogurt, dolloped onto small baked camembert cheese, served as an accompaniment to a cheese board or charcuterie board. My favorite ways to serve is topped onto old fashioned homemade biscuits or poured over vanilla ice cream.

Can I make this ahead?

Yes, especially if you make this for a holiday meal, you have enough to do in the kitchen. Cranberry jam can be made up to one week before and frozen for up to one month.

Your homemade cranberry jam will stay fresh for up to one week if stored in an airtight container. If you don’t think you will use it within that time frame, pour the jam into covered airtight containers and freeze for up to one month.

Can I freeze fresh cranberry jam?

Yes, homemade cranberry sauce freezes well. Make a larger batch and freeze it for later. Freeze your homemade sauce in an airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bag to prevent freezer burn.  If there is any strange smell, flavor appearance, or mold, toss it!

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bowl of homemade cranberry sauce.

Quick Cranberry Jam

Ready to serve in under an hour and can be made ahead. Tangy cranberries mixed with sweet orange flavor.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Servings: 1 1/2 cups
Calories: 46kcal
Author:Sydney Dawes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients in a 1.5-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil for 4-5 minutes, stirring often so the mixture does not burn.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or just until the cranberries start to break up and the sauce thickens.
  • Remove from heat and serve warm or chilled.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoons | Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Sodium: 2mg | Sugar: 11g
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