Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice and Brown Sugar {Instant Pot or Stove Top}

Looking for a quick and easy way to make something new this holiday season?  This cranberry sauce with orange juice and brown sugar can be served with our without cinnamon.  Best of all?  It is easy to make on the stove top or in your Instant Pot!

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easy orange cranberry sauce instant pot or stove top

Okay first things first, I have to admit I’ve never had that whole cranberry sauce out of a can thing.  Why?  Simple…it reminded me too much of jello and I never liked jello.

Then I sort of felt like I was missing out since cranberry sauce is such a thing during the holidays.  I took things into my own hands a couple of years back, and have been making this simple cranberry sauce ever since, which is just great on everything.

cranberry sauce with orange juice and and cinnamon English muffin

Best of all?  I used to make it exclusively on the stove, but started making it in my Instant Pot last year, so it works either way!

Now let’s take a closer look at how to make it, and the tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years.

Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice and Brown Sugar

The first rule of cranberry sauce is you need more than just cranberries.  Cranberries are super bitter on their own.

While I’m not someone who goes for super sweet things, even I can’t tolerate straight cranberry sauce.  I tried that one year and ended up having to add sugar.

You also need liquid to make cranberry sauce, and orange juice adds sweetness along with it.

I also like to use brown sugar for a deeper flavor, and follow it up with white sugar.  You can tweak the amounts in the recipe to find your perfect cranberry sauce easily.

Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice and Cinnamon?

Yes, you read that right.  The secret ingredient here is cinnamon to really add another angle to the cranberry sauce.

cranberry sauce with orange juice and brown sugar and cinnamon

You can leave it out if you really don’t like cinnamon, but believe me, it adds something really special.

How to Make Cranberry Sauce on the Stove or in the Instant Pot

You can make this on the stove top or in the Instant Pot.  I like the Instant Pot since it is a little less work.

If you make your cranberry sauce on the stove top, add all your ingredients and allow to simmer, we’re talking just under a boil here.

Because there’s a lot of sugar in this it is prone to burning, so keep stirring.  Also, if you’re nervous the first time you make it you can cook it lower, it will just take longer.

The cranberries will basically disintegrate when the sauce is ready, like this:

cranberry sauce with orange juice and brown sugar

Once you have reached this point, it is just a matter of getting it to your desired thickness.

How to Make Cranberry Sauce in the Instant Pot

Cranberry sauce couldn’t be easier to make in the Instant Pot, but there are a couple of things to be aware of.

First of all, cranberries get foamy when they cook.  Because of this, be sure to let your Instant Pot natural release for at least 10 minutes before releasing the rest of the pressure, our you’ll have burning hot sugar foam shooting out of your pressure valve.

By the way, I always throw a dish towel over the valve every time I open it after being sprayed by too many somethings.

If you want your cranberry sauce thicker, all you need to do is switch your pot to Sauté and cook until you reach the desired consistency.

Easy Cranberry Sauce with Orange

This cranberry sauce with orange juice and brown sugar of course goes great with chicken and turkey, but also goes great with breads and muffins too.  Don’t miss some of our other gluten free dairy free baked favorites that this goes well with:

Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice and Brown Sugar

cranberry sauce with orange juice and brown sugar

I spent most of my life hating cranberry know, that round tube of something that comes out of a can.

My life changed when I decided to make fresh cranberry sauce for the first time!

This sauce is fantastic on everyting. Besides turkey (and chicken too!), it is great on bread, rolls, and english muffins.

It also is great on a turkey sandwhich the day after a holiday!


  • 16 ounces (1 pound) of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Orange Zest


  1. Start by rinsing your fresh cranberries. Be sure to take out any bad ones.
  2. Add the clean cranberries to a pot on your stove or your Instant Pot.
  3. Add the orange juice, water, brown sugar, and sugar.
  4. STOVETOP: Simmer over medium to high heat until the cranberries have split open, and your mixture resembles a thick sauce. Be sure to keep stirring, this sugary mixture is prone to burning.
    INSTANT POT: If using the Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 3 minutes, and allow to natural release for at least 10 minutes before releasing the rest of the pressure and opening the lid. If the cranberries have not desintigrated, you can use the saute function. If the mixture is not thick enoguh, you can also use the saute function to reach the desired thickness. Be sure to keep an eye on it!
  5. Add orange zest and cinnamon if desired.
  6. Allow to cool, and serve! Besides being great at the holiday table, this orange cranberry sauce is also wondrful on bread and english muffins.


This can be made on a pot on the stove, or in your Instant Pot. I switched over to using the Instnat Pot, so it doesn't need to be constantly stirred.

If you make it on the stove top, be sure to stir constnatly and keep an eye on the heat. You're looking for a high simmer.

Not a fan of cinnamon? Don't worry, you can leave it out!

You can also vary the amount of sugar added for a more sweet or more tart cranberry sauce with orange juice and brown sugar.

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