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Easy Vegan Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice (frozen cranberries)

 A recipe for quick and easy vegan cranberry sauce flavoured with orange juice and balsamic vinegar made with frozen cranberries.

fresh cranberry sauce in a spotty bowl.

Easy Vegan Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice (frozen cranberries)

Like everyone else I'm thinking about Christmas and what I will make for Christmas dinner this year.

I've been experimenting with a new Christmas main course (I'll share it this week) and I decided it needed to be served with cranberry sauce, so it was time to experiment with cranberry sauce too.

I'm blown away with just how delicious this easy vegan cranberry sauce is.

I've never been a big fan of cranberry sauce, but boy homemade cranberry sauce tastes completely different.

So, so delicious and very quick to make with frozen cranberries.

I hope you try it.

frozen cranberries in a pot.

Frozen or fresh cranberries?

You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries when making cranberry sauce, but I prefer frozen cranberries.

Frozen cranberries retain more nutrients as they are frozen so quickly after picking, whereas fresh cranberries spend a lot of time travelling and aren't as fresh or nutrient-packed.

I also like the way frozen cranberries soften as they cook, leaving you with an unctuously soft cranberry sauce. 

Frozen fruit is often cheaper too, although it really can depend on the supermarket you shop in.

orange juice in a bowl.

Flavouring cranberry sauce with orange juice

Adding orange juice and zest when making cranberry sauce gives you an extra fruity sauce.

The orange juice also helps balance the bitterness of the cranberries and reduces the amount of sugar you have to add to sweeten your cranberry relish.

I used the zest and juice of 4 clementines, but you could use any small orange like easy peelers, mandarins or tangerines.

Of course, you could use large oranges too. 

Can you use shop-bought orange juice?

A lot of flavour comes from the orange zest in this recipe, but you could use shop-bought orange juice if that is all you have.

It will still be very tasty.

I'm a big fan of tweaking recipes to use what you have, within reason of course. 

Using like-for-like or something similar.

easy vegan cranberry sauce.

What you need to make easy vegan cranberry sauce

Here are the simple ingredients you need to make this cranberry orange sauce.

  • Cranberries - frozen
  • Orange juice & zest - I used clementines for a seasonal twist but you can use any type of freshly squeezed orange juice or shop-bought orange juice
  • Sugar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt - just a pinch


Here are a few ideas for tweaks to this simple Christmas cranberry sauce.

  • Fresh cranberries - you can use them, but they hold their shape more, so for a soft cranberry sauce, you may need to mash them to break them down into a softer mixture
  • Mango juice - mango juice would make a good substitute for orange juice
  • Port - you can add a splosh of port to your cranberry sauce
  • Chilli - give it a kick and add some chilli flakes or fresh chilli

Shallot pastry crown served with cranberry sauce

How to serve homemade cranberry sauce

Here are some serving suggestions.

  • Spread it on top - spread it on lentil loaf or homemade vegan haggis, before slicing to serve
  • Christmas plait - serve with this butternut squash, red pepper & potato plait
  • Cheese board - serve it on a cheese board with vegan cheese, including soft cheese, olives, grapes and oatcakes
  • Retro cheese log - serve it with this delicious savoury cheese log with crackers
  • Burgers - serve on a spicy bean burgers in a bun with salad
  • Sandwiches - spread on a cheese sandwich
  • Wraps - spread on a wrap and fill with salad leaves, cucumber, flalafel and hummus.
  • Dip - swirl some cranberry sauce through greek yoghurt to make a tasty dip

How long will fresh cranberry sauce keep?

This quick cranberry preserve can be stored in an airtight jar or tub in the fridge for 3-4 days.

So if you're making it for a family dinner or for Christmas dinner, you can make it ahead.

Can you freeze homemade cranberry sauce?

Homemade cranberry sauce freezes really well and can be kept in the freezer for 2-3 months.

To defrost, take it out of the freezer and leave in the fridge overnight.

mushroom & chestnut sausage rolls

More vegan Christmas recipes

Here are few more easy vegan Christmas recipes for you to try.

  1. Air fryer roast potatoes - no parboiling and a hint of garlic for flavour
  2. Mini tomato pastry bites - good as an appetiser or as a starter with salad
  3. Mushroom & chestnut sausage rolls - good for a light lunch on Christmas Day or Boxing Day 
  4. Slow cooker carrot & coriander soup - makes a great starter
  5. Mushroom & chestnut pate - serve with oatcakes
  6. Butternut squash, red pepper & potato plait - serve as a main course with cranberry sauce, roast potatoes and veg
  7. Mushroom, lentil & nut wellington - serve with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, carrots and mushroom gravy
  8. Vegan haggis - serve with mashed potatoes, neeps and creamy whisky sauce

For more vegan Christmas ideas, tips and recipes, check out my Vegan Christmas page.

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Christmas cranberry and clementine sauce.

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How to make Vegan Cranberry Sauce

Scroll down for step-by-step photos followed by a full printable recipe. 
If you don't have a printer, hit print then save as a PDF.

Making vegan cranberry sauce - part 1.

Step 1

  • Finely grate the zest and juice clementines or large oranges (see the recipe card below for full ingredients list).
  • Add the balsamic vinegar to the orange juice.
  • Now add the cranberries to a pan.

Making vegan cranberry sauce - part 2.

Step 2

  • Add orange juice & zest, sugar and salt to the cranberries.
  • Once the sugar has melted, simmer and cook until thickened.
  • Serve when cooled.
  • Enjoy!

cranberry sauce, Christmas cranberry sauce, vegan cranberry sauce, vegan Christmas recipes
Yield: 4-6
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Easy Vegan Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice

Easy Vegan Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice

A recipe for quick and easy vegan cranberry sauce flavoured with orange juice and balsamic vinegar made with frozen cranberries.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 25 Min


  • 400g (14 oz) frozen cranberries
  • zest from 4 clementines (or 2 large oranges)
  • 100g (7 tablespoons) clementine juice (or orange juice)
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt


  1. Add the frozen cranberries to a pot and add the sugar.
  2. Now add the orange juice and zest, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  3. Allow the sugar to melt, then as it comes to the boil, reduce to a simmer and leave to cook, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes until soft and thickened.
  4. Spoon in another dish to cool. It will thicken as it cools.
  5. Enjoy!


  • Use 2 large oranges instead of 4 clementines. You could also use 4 mandarins or easy peelers instead.
  • You can use shop-bought orange juice instead of freshly squeezed orange juice and zest.
  • Once cool, keep the cranberry sauce in an airtight jar or container for 3-4 days.
  • Once cool, freeze for up to 3-4 months, then defrost in the fridge overnight.

  • If using fresh cranberries, you may like to mash the sauce to soften the cranberries as they don't soften as much as frozen cranberries.


4 portions = 175 calories per portion

5 portions = 140 calories per portion

6 portions = 116 calories per portion

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)


This information is approximated using a nutrition and calorie calculator.


  1. I have been waiting to see what the next recipe would be. I am so pleased it is a Christmas recipe. I need to decide soon. Jill x

    1. I have another going up tomorrow snd one for best week. The next one goes with this cranberry sauce.

  2. I was thinking of making gravy to go with my lentil roast but I might try this instead. (sam)

    1. Oh yes that eould go well. You could either serve it alongside or spread it on top of your lentil loaf

  3. I made it! It's gorgeous. I had it for lunch on crackers with brie. Keeping some to put on burgers when my daughters here at the weekend. Jill x

    1. Whoop whoop! That all sounds fabulous Jill. I sm so pleased you like it.

  4. This cranberry sauce looks amazing. Perfect to spread it on my toast bread

  5. The cranberry sauce came out perfect. It was my first attempt and am super happy with the result.

    1. I am so glad you had a go at making it and enjoyed it.

  6. Love that you use frozen cranberries. I can make this cranberry sauce year round.

  7. This one's absolutely yummy - the satsumas on our tree are just about ready, and I have one bag of cranberries left. Yum. xt

    1. Oh perfect and with homegrown satsumas! Enjoy it!


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x