Cranberry Relish is a sweet sauce, topping, or dip with just the right amount of tart. It's festive and beautiful to serve on any holiday table, and it can be made in just 5 minutes!
This cranberry relish is a fresh blend of cranberries, orange, and apple with some sugar to cut the natural bitterness of the cranberries. It is sweet and just a little tart, and it's delicious served on turkey, pork, ham, or chicken or even as an appetizer.
It is extremely easy to whip up in just 5 minutes using the food processor. And with it's beautiful ruby red color, it makes an elegant and festive addition to any holiday table.
What is Cranberry Relish?
Cranberry relish is cold dip, sauce, or topping made with raw fruits, including cranberries, and sugar.
What's the Difference Between Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Relish?
Cranberry sauce and cranberry relish are both made of cranberries and sweetened until no longer bitter.
The main difference is that cranberry sauce is cooked and cranberry relish is not. Cranberry sauce is combined with liquid and sugar and boiled until thickened The flavor and texture are like a jelly.
Cranberry relish combines fresh fruit (cranberries, orange, and apple in this recipe) in a food processor and processes until they're finely chopped. It is fresher and a little tart tasting.
Do I Have to Use a Food Processor?
No, you can finely chop everything by hand. However, this will take much longer, and you probably won't be able to chop it as finely as a food processor.
You can get a food processor for pretty cheap, and they're a great handy appliance to have around the kitchen. Here's the one I have and love on Amazon.
Cranberry Relish Variations
- Honey or Maple Syrup: Sweeten using one of these sugars instead of granulated sugar.
- Ginger: Add 2 teaspoons chopped crystallized ginger or 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger.
- Pear: Substitute pear for the apple.
- Nuts: Add finely chopped pecans or walnuts to the relish.
- Pineapple: Add drained, crushed pineapple to the relish, or add about half of a medium pineapple, peeled and cored, to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients.
- Cinnamon: Add just a pinch for a warm boost of flavor.
- Jalapeno: A little bit of chopped jalapeno will give the relish that fun spicy-sweet combo.
- Jam or jelly: These can be used instead of or with the granulated sugar for sweetening. I recommend using raspberry jam or preserves or apple jelly.
- Liqueur: Add just a dash of a fruit liqueur such as orange cointreau for a fun adult twist.
- Raisins: Raisins or other dried fruit will soak up the flavors and sweetness of the sauce and provide a delicious pop of texture.
How to Serve Cranberry Relish
With its bright ruby red color, cranberry relish makes a stunning addition to a holiday table. It is generally served cold. Serve it plain for guests to top their turkey or sides.
Serve it with crackers, graham crackers, or vanilla wafers as an appetizer or snack. You can also pour some over a softened block of cream cheese or baked brie to offer a little creaminess to the flavor.
What to Do with Leftovers
Cranberry relish is super versatile, so it's pretty easy to use up the leftovers. Try finishing it off with these ideas.
- Rolls or toast - Butter your roll or toast and slather the relish on top to add a little richness to the fresh taste.
- Leftover sandwiches - use on leftover turkey sandwiches instead of mayo.
- Yogurt - add some to your favorite flavor of yogurt for some extra freshness and festive flavor.
- Waffles or pancakes - Turn your breakfast into a pretty and festive celebration by topping your waffles or pancakes with a scoop of relish.
Make Ahead, Storage, and Freezer Directions
Cranberry relish is perfect for holidays and potlucks because it's super easy to make ahead, store and even freeze.
Make Ahead Instructions
Cranberry relish can be made ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator covered for up to 10 to 14 days.
Place relish in a freezer container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Be aware that freezing and unfreezing fruit generally changes the texture. So your relish will have a softer texture after unfreezing.
More Holiday Staple Recipes You'll Love
- Traditional Stuffing - the best stuffing ever. Our favorite family recipe, passed down through generations, and has turned stuffing haters into the biggest fans.
- Southern Sweet Potato Casserole - a sweet casserole made with sweet potato and a brown sugar and pecan crispy topping.
- Southern Corn Pudding - also called spoonbread, this warm, soft, cheesy side dish is easy to make and a favorite to eat.
- Texas Roadhouse Rolls - soft fluffy rolls go well with every holiday meal.
- Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes - keep your oven free and make these cheesy, creamy, savory potatoes right in the crockpot!
Cranberry Relish Video
- 1 orange with peel ON
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1 large tart apple peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Slice the very edge root ends off of the orange, just until you see the flesh. Leave the rest of the skin ON the orange and slice it into 8 pieces.
- Place orange slices in the food processor and process until smooth.
- Place the fresh cranberries, apple, and sugar in your food processor and pulse until finely chopped (or until no large chunks remain).
- Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Make Ahead Directions: Prepare relish fully and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 10 to 14 days (depending on how far ahead you made the relish.)
- Freezer Directions: Place relish in a freezer container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Be aware that freezing and unfreezing fruit generally changes the texture. So your relish will have a softer texture after unfreezing.
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