Low Sugar Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a batch of this 5-minute fresh cranberry orange relish. Full of fresh cranberries, a whole orange, and nuts, It’s a crunchy, no-cook version of cranberry sauce. 

Not only is it significantly lower in sugar than traditional cranberry relish or sauce, but it’s also higher in fiber, making it diabetes-friendly. 

I’ve been making this sweet-tangy cranberry relish for over 25 years. It’s one of my favorite holiday foods, and I hope it will be yours too!

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe 

  • This fresh cranberry orange relish recipe is fool-proof and takes less than 5 minutes to make. If you want to bring a Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish but need something easy, this recipe is for you.
  • It has significantly less carbs and more fiber than traditional cranberry sauce or relish.  One serving of this recipe has 17g of carbs and 3g of fiber.

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what I use to make this cranberry orange relish. I’ve listed a few substitutions and variations in the section below.

See my recipe card for the complete recipe with all ingredients and measurements.

Ingredients needed to make low sugar cranberry orange relish.

Cranberries. You can use whole fresh or frozen cranberries. Frozen cranberries will shrivel when thawed, but since everything gets chopped up in a food processor, no one will ever know.

One whole orange with skin. I like a navel orange for this recipe because the flesh is naturally sweet, allowing you to use less sweetener. Navel oranges are also seedless, which is a good thing, because you’ll use the entire orange without peeling it.

Almonds. These add flavor and crunchy texture, and almonds go so well with orange and cranberry. Check out my Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies to see how many people love that combo!

Sweetener. I use Lakanto, a zero-calorie sweetener made from monk fruit and erythritol. It won’t affect your blood sugar or insulin, but I always recommend using sugar or non-nutritive sweeteners in moderation. Read this article on erythritol and blood clots to learn why. This recipe only calls for ⅓ cup of sweetener (or less if you prefer).

Substitutions and Variations

You can swap pecans or walnuts for the almonds. If you’re nut-free, you can also leave out the nuts.

If you prefer plain white or brown sugar, you can use that instead of a non-nutritive sweetener. Or use half sugar and half Lakanto. Start with ⅓ cup total and add more if necessary. I don’t recommend maple syrup or honey because they will change the texture of the relish.

Try these variations:

  • Add a peeled crisp apple or pear to the food processor in addition to or in place of the orange.
  • Flavor this cranberry relish with a pinch of cinnamon, allspice, or ginger.
  • For more almond flavor, add a few drops of almond extract. Or, for more orange flavor, add a few drops of orange extract.

Step By Step Instructions

This orange cranberry relish recipe comes together in two quick steps:

First, add your ingredients to the food processor. Wash and drain your cranberries well. Discard any that are soft. Wash your whole orange and cut it into quarters (don’t peel it). Then, cut each quarter in half. Add the orange pieces, the almonds, and the sweetener to the food processor.

Step one to make low sugar cranberry orange relish. Ingredients in the food processor.

Second, pulse the mixture about 30 times, scraping down the bowl as needed. Keep the relish on the chunky side; don’t puree it. Taste the relish for texture and sweetness and adjust as necessary. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.

Step two to make low sugar cranberry orange relish. Processed ingredients.

Expert Tips

A food processor is necessary to grind the cranberries into small pieces because raw cranberries are quite hard. I highly recommend a Cuisinart Food Processor. I’ve had mine for decades, and it’s still going strong.

Pick up a few extra bags of fresh cranberries during the holidays and keep them in the freezer. That way, you can make this orange cranberry relish any time of the year. 

A white bowl of cranberry orange relish. A serving spoon, napkin, fresh cranberries, orange slices and a fall leaf are in the background.

What to Eat With Orange Cranberry Relish

Fresh, low-sugar cranberry orange relish isn't just for Thanksgiving! I also serve this sweet-tangy relish for Easter with ham and as a side dish with roast chicken and roasted fall vegetables for a Sunday dinner. 

Sometimes, I’ll make a double batch because leftover relish is ideal for:

Recipe FAQs

How far in advance can you make cranberry orange relish?

You can make this relish at least three days in advance, and it will still taste fresh and crisp. You can also freeze it, but when it's thawed, it will be softer, less crisp, and more watery. It’s still delicious, though.

What’s the difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry relish?

Cranberry sauce is cooked with sugar. The pectin in the cranberries plus the sugar thickens the sauce. Cranberry relish isn’t cooked. It’s raw cranberries, sweetener, and other fruits or nuts.

Are cranberries healthy?

Cranberries are a very low-sugar fruit. They are also a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber, making them very healthy. Research shows they can help prevent urinary tract infections, heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases.

Other Related Thanksgiving Recipes

It's never too early (or late) to start planning your Thanksgiving menu! Don't miss these recipes.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating on the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.


A white bowl of low sugar cranberry orange relish with an orange slice and spoon.

Low Sugar Cranberry Orange Relish

Less sugar but all of the flavor of your favorite Thanksgiving side dish.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Lower Carb, Heart Healthy, Vegan
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 79kcal


  • 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries 1 bag, rinsed
  • 1 medium orange with peel, washed, quartered, any seeds removed
  • ½ cup whole almonds
  • cup sweetener of choice I recommend Swerve or Lakanto for no-calorie sweeteners


  • Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 30 times until the relish is evenly chopped.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.


This recipe makes about 4 cups. One serving is ½ cup.
Nutrition information is calculated with a zero-calorie sweetener. I recommend Swerve or Lakanto. 
You can prepare this up to three days in advance. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to six months.


Serving: 0g | Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @CravingSomethingHealthy!




  1. I make this every year. I always freeze some so I can make it at other times of the year. My cousins brought the recipe home with them from Long Island at Thanksgiving one year. We all adopted the recipe. I’ve made it every year since - which is many, many years.

    1. It's one of my favorites too and I agree it freezes beautifully. Thanks for visiting and sharing your version with apples and pecans too! Happy holidays!

  2. 5 stars
    This sounds good! I LOVE cranberry relish! I make one recipe of mine with a bag of cranberries, 4 fresh Mandarin oranges (NOT CANNED), a cored sweet apple like honey crisp or McIntosh, some walnuts, a sprinkle of apple pie spice and enough honey to sweeten. The Mandarins are extra sweet so less sugar or other sweetener is needed. My Ninja food processor with a double blade chops it really fast with almost no scraping down. I live in FL so I don't know if you can get fresh Mandarins in other parts of the country. I make 4 recipes worth all at once and freeze the extra instead of freezing the cranberries and going through the process each time.

    1. Thanks for sharing your version Essie! It sounds delicious! I love how easy this freezes too. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. 5 stars
    I love the fresh crunch of this recipe! I make extra so I can freeze it up and enjoy it later when fresh cranberries are not available. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I'm so glad you like it Meghan! I love having it when cranberries aren't available too. You can also freeze fresh cranberries and use them to make the relish when you want it. Thanks for visiting!

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