Cranberry-Orange Jelly Recipe (2024)

Recipe from "Canal House Cooking"

Adapted by Julia Moskin

Cranberry-Orange Jelly Recipe (1)

Total Time
20 minutes, plus at least 3 hours’ chilling
Read community notes

This is the cranberry sauce for cooks who secretly (or not so secretly) like the kind that comes in a can, a quivering ruby mass with an unexpected dash of orange and spice. Guests can scoop it out of a pretty glass bowl, but it’s more fun to unmold it onto a cake plate and serve it in slices. Make sure the water your use to unmold your jelly is quite hot, not just warm. The idea is to melt the outer jelly layer just enough so that the whole mold can slip right out. —Julia Moskin

Featured in: Essential Thanksgiving

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Yield:12 to 16 servings

  • cups Lillet (see note)
  • ½cup orange liqueur, like Grand Marnier
  • 2cups sugar
  • 2tablespoons juniper berries (optional)
  • 212-ounce bags fresh or frozen cranberries (about 8 cups; frozen can be substituted)
  • Nonstick cooking spray (if chilling in a mold)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (14 servings)

185 calories; 1 gram fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 36 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 31 grams sugars; 0 grams protein; 4 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Cranberry-Orange Jelly Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine Lillet, liqueur, sugar and juniper berries if using. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until all the cranberries burst and are very soft, at least 10 minutes total (or use a candy thermometer and cook mixture to 210 to 215 degrees). The mixture should be reduced and thickened, like a very loose jam.

  2. Step


    Strain the sauce into a bowl through a sieve, pushing on the solids with a rubber spatula to extract all the liquid. Discard the solids. Stir the liquid and transfer to a pretty serving bowl or a mold. (If using a mold, spray the insides first with nonstick cooking spray.) A funnel or liquid measuring cup with a spout can be useful for transferring without splashing the sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours, or up to several days. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

  3. Step


    If you chilled the jelly in a mold, turn it out by placing the mold in a large bowl. Carefully pour hot water into the bowl so it comes up the sides of the mold, melting the jelly just enough to release it from the mold. After 3 minutes, try unmolding the jelly onto a serving dish. If it doesn’t come out, return to the bowl and try again 2 minutes later. Repeat until the jelly is released. If necessary, return it to the refrigerator to firm up before serving.


  • Two cups of red wine, port, Madeira or orange juice can be substituted for the Lillet and liqueur.



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Cooking Notes


Which kind of Lillet are you folks using?


I made this three days in advance of Thanksgiving dinner. What a mistake! I don’t know how I am going to wait... I cooked it exactly to the recipe (simmered the cranberries for about 35 minutes), poured it into the mold (chunks and all), placed it in the refrigerator overnight. When I woke up this morning (with two entire days left), my curiosity got the best of me... Oh my. This is good. Very. Very. Good.


To NYCSandi:
I make this with orange juice every year. But I use a candy thermometer to make sure that the sugar and juice reach Jelly stage, 210-215 degrees Farenheit. It always jells. I do not pass it through a strainer either.

In addition, my family likes the addition of ground cloves to liven the flavors. I add the cloves to the sugar before cooking.


Don’t shy away from this recipe just because you can’t find all the ingredients! I couldn’t find juniper berries so I used a cinnamon stick, 20 whole cloves and about 30 green cardamom pods. The cardamom flavor is such a nice complement, I really recommend it. I also used Cabernet Sauvignon because I couldn’t find Lillet and it still came out amazing. This is my new go-to cranberry sauce method!


I make the same thing but with orange supremes (no skin) and a packet of plain gelatin. I don't strain the solids. It ends up a as a chunky and delicious side dish.


The video shows that it's Lillet Blanc. But you're absolutely right -- it should be made clear in the list of ingredients.


I feel like this was supposed to be really easy and I just made it so much more difficult...

Don't cover the cranberries. It will overboil and you will spend the afternoon scrubbing your stove.


I made two batches, one with red wine and one with orange juice. I used 1.5 c wine/juice 0.5 c grand marnier. I included juniper berries in both. My husband and I both preferred the OJ version. The wine jelly is a deep garnet color and has a very rich, traditional—but excellent—cranberry jelly flavor. The one with OJ is a beautiful ruby color and has a brighter, tangier flavor. You really get the orange, but it is nicely balanced with the cranberry. So good! Tip: Use a big pot—it foams a lot.

Rebecca Love

Used Grand Marnier no lillet, a little water and some whole cloves. Put it through the food mill. It made a stiff, flavorful jelly. It won't make a pretty mold on Thanksgiving though because someone sliced off an edge and it has divots in it from the spoonful sneaks.


Which Lillet, please??


Like all cooking, this Cranberry Jelly is an exercise in molecular interactions. When boiling a mixture of alcohol and water, the alcohol boils off first, which keeps the temp. down until it is nearly all gone. And then there is the interaction between sugar and water: as the % water goes down, the temp goes up and so does the hardness of the resulting 'candy' once cooled.Use a thermometer. 210F min. 30 minits, min. I poured my excess into a cup; jelled well before it hit the 'fridge!


I subbed red wine & made an additional wine jelly with unflavored gelatin, red wine sweetened a tad with honey and added to this recipe before putting in individual portion molds. It didn't gel so I put the whole thing in the freezer.

Unmolded, count just to 5 in hot water and plate. Stunning like Indian rubies w/velvety icey texture, perfect counterpoint to a heavy meal. Added bonus, completely satisfying dessert w/out any fat!

Woke up last night wanting it rather than stuffing.


The recipe makes enough for a 6-cup Bundt pan. The jelly came just as in the photograph. Served on a white plate, it looked stunning on our Thanksgiving table. It was delicious as well, with a little bit of welcome texture as I purposefully did not strain the mixture.


I’ve made this twice now, except with 1 cup red wine 1 cup fresh OJ. I also add a cinnamon stick, star anise, a few cloves and black peppercorns since I don’t have juniper berries. Both times it didn’t form after the first overnight fridge. But both times I reheated cold cranberry jelly soup to a rolling boil for like 8 min, poured it into a mold chilling in freezer, then freezer for 1.5 hours then fridge. It solidified. It was a huge hit (why I made it twice despite the hassle).


Can you store it in a metal mold for a few days or does that ruin the taste?


Why discard the solids! They are also perfectly delicious on their own or mixed into yogurt or ice cream!


This didn’t go over well last year. I should try again bc I love the idea of it.


Very good and easy especially with Cabernet Sauvignon. Would need to triple the recipe to fill out my smallest cake mold. The recipe fills 1/3 of my mold so I Hope it doesn’t fall apart when I mold it.


This was really good. I don't usually like cranberry sauce but loved this. It was perfect with other traditional TG food like mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. I used grand mariner and orange juice. I will definitely make this again and again.


What a disappointment. Followed recipe to a T, even watched the video twice. Used a candy thermometer to get to precisely 215. Now on Thanksgiving morning as I went to unmold this I found that it barely gelled. No way it will hold its shape. So we're just going to have to spoon it out of a bowl and use it as a liquidy sauce. I used the same Lillet as in the video and Grand Marnier. Kept it in the fridge overnight. What the heck went wrong, NYT?


For my European pals: 354 ml Lillet118 ml Grand Marnier (I used Cointreau)400g Sugar680 g Cranberries (only used 500 and reduced the sugar to 320)I also added cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and I didn't discard the solids.Turned out great!

Beth in KC

Made a couple substitutions to reduce sweetness and lower glycemic index and it’s turned out great.- replace 2 cups sugar with 1 cup agave. -for liquid, use 1 cup fresh squeezed OJ (2 large oranges), 1/2 cup tawny port and 1/2 cup Grand Marnier. Using the agave meant i had to simmer the mixture longer to bring it to 210 and thicken it, but it seems to be setting up fine. So good!


Mine didn't gel the first time, so I put it back in the saucepan and reheated on medium heat stirring constantly for about ten minutes and it worked perfectly.


To answer a frequent question: after aggressive pushing at the solids to get all the cranberry guts, I had just under 4 cups of really stiff cranberry jelly. And take your time in cooking. Temp is much more important than time... 210F is magic. I poured my leftovers into a cup... within 10 minutes it was so stiff I could stand the cup on its side and the jelly didn't move! Tomorrow will tell, but I think mine will put Oceanspray to shame, at least in terms of stiffness!


Like all cooking, this Cranberry Jelly is an exercise in molecular interactions. When boiling a mixture of alcohol and water, the alcohol boils off first, which keeps the temp. down until it is nearly all gone. And then there is the interaction between sugar and water: as the % water goes down, the temp goes up and so does the hardness of the resulting 'candy' once cooled.Use a thermometer. 210F min. 30 minits, min. I poured my excess into a cup; jelled well before it hit the 'fridge!


Wow!! As a not so secret lover of the canned stuff, I’m happy to say this elevated alternative is enough to make me a believer!! Quick and easy. Made as written and chilled in a pretty glass Pyrex. Easy-peasy and oh so tasty. Crowd pleaser for our friends giving. Will make again. Thinking about adding half a cinnamon stick, some clove, and a sprig of rosemary! Happy turkey day!!


This was such a fun recipe! I used Lillet blanc and Grand Marnier and followed the recipe exactly. For molds I used a mini loaf cake pan with Thanksgiving themed indents to make turkey shaped jelly loaves. Made the day before, but recommend a few more days in advance for a firmer texture. Benefit of several smaller molds is that you can make an extra for testing (snacking) purposes.

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Cranberry-Orange Jelly Recipe (2024)


Can you mix orange and cranberry juice? ›

Orange and cranberry juice both offer up health benefits, but when you combine them you can pack a lot of nutrition into one glass of juice. For people who have trouble meeting fruit intake recommendations, adding a glass of 100 percent juice can help, according to Fruit Juice Facts.

What's the difference between cranberry jelly and jam? ›

Jelly undergoes the same cooking process as jam, but is typically made with only strained fruit juice, resulting in a more translucent, smoother spread that is also stiffer.

How do you spruce up cranberry jelly? ›

Adding a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon or orange zest, a tablespoon of chopped candied peel, or even a splash of juice to your canned sauce will brighten flavors and bring in some homemade flavor.

Why is my cranberry jelly not thickening? ›

Another possibility is that the cranberries need to boil for longer, releasing their pectin and ensuring a jelly consistency. Still stumped? Try reducing the sauce down even further so more of the liquid cooks off and the mixture thickens.

What not to mix with cranberry? ›

Possible Interactions
  • Warfarin (Coumadin): Cranberry may raise the risk of bleeding, especially if you already take medications to thin the blood such as warfarin. ...
  • Aspirin: Like aspirin, cranberries contain salicylic acid. ...
  • Other medications: Cranberry may interact with medications that are broken down by the liver.

Does cranberry juice and orange juice taste good together? ›

I enjoy this fruity drink as a refreshing summer co*cktail, but the addition of cranberries makes it an equally good holiday drink too. It is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal, as a party drink with friends and family, or simply to enjoy on your own.

Is jelly better with or without pectin? ›

The use of commercial pectin simplifies the process, but jelly made without added pectin contains less sugar and tastes fruitier. Follow the manufacturer's directions for using commercial pectin and do not interchange liquid and powdered pectins. Acid: The proper level of acid is critical to gel formation.

What is the healthiest jam or jelly? ›

Jam and jelly have virtually the same nutritional value, fruity taste, and spreadable texture. Thus, you can use them interchangeably. That said, some studies have analyzed the nutritional profile of jams after 9 months in storage and observed no significant losses in their antioxidant content.

How to make jelly from juice without pectin? ›

Measure juice into a saucepot. Add sugar and stir well. Boil over high heat to 8 degrees F above boiling point of water or until jelly mixture sheets from a spoon. Remove from heat; skim off foam quickly.

How to jazz up jellied cranberry sauce? ›

Stir-in one (or more) of the following add-ins to one can of whole or jellied cranberry sauce:
  1. 2 Tbsp. of orange juice plus 1 tsp. of finely grated orange peel.
  2. ½ can of mandarin oranges.
  3. ½ cup pineapple.
  4. ½ tsp. cinnamon.
  5. ½ cup chopped dried apricots.
  6. ½ cup toasted pecans.
  7. 2 Tbsp. Zinfandel Wine.
Aug 11, 2022

Are cranberries high in pectin? ›

Cranberries are high in pectin, which helps them set naturally into a jelly without the need for any other thickeners. Orange zest and cinnamon are natural flavor pairings for cranberries, enhancing and complementing their tartness.

Why is my cranberry sauce so watery? ›

Mistake #2: Your Cranberry Sauce Is Too Runny

You may have added too much liquid to the cranberries. In addition to pectin, cranberries contain water, which means you only need to add a splash of liquid to get the cooking going. Add too much and you'll be stirring at the stove much longer than expected.

Why is cranberry jelly upside down? ›

The cans are "filled and labeled upside down with the rounded edge on top and the sharp can-like edge on the bottom to keep the jelly whole." This creates an air bubble vacuum on the rounded side (the top) so customers "can swipe the edge of the can with a knife to break the vacuum and the log will easily slide out."

Does lemon juice thicken jelly? ›

Lemon is crucial to balancing those sweet flavors, but it also helps the pectin to firm up the jam. It can be added at the start of the cooking process or towards the end, but what must be taken into account is that adding liquids to the jam mixture will inevitably require the jam to cook for longer.

What do you put in jelly to make it thicker? ›

Commercial pectin helps thicken jam made with low-pectin fruits, like blackberry jam, or vegetable jelly recipes, like pepper jelly. It comes in powder or liquid form, but the former is the most common. Add powdered pectin to the fruit juice, chopped fruit, or strained purée before heating the jam mixture.

Can you mix vitamin C and cranberry juice? ›

No interactions were found between cranberry and Vitamin C.

What fruits mix well with cranberry? ›

It's one of those funny fruits that people only pair with orange. But if you're still getting stone fruit (or have some frozen fruit around), it's great to combine cranberries with peaches or nectarines in a sauce for the best of their sweet and tart flavors.

What can I mix with cranberry juice? ›

Lime will add just a bit of tanginess. Salt will bring out the flavour, and sugar will give it some more sweetness. Personally, I recommend doing what Ocean Spray does, and mixing in other juices. Grape and apple seem to work well.

What is a good combination with orange juice? ›

However, here are a few popular options:
  • Vodka: Vodka is a neutral spirit that pairs well with the sweet and tart flavor of orange juice. ...
  • Tequila: Tequila can also be mixed with orange juice to create a tangy and sweet drink. ...
  • Rum: Rum is another popular alcohol to mix with orange juice.
Aug 9, 2021

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