Easy Orange Dessert Sauce

Gingerbread with orange sauce
Alexandra Grablewski/Photodisc/Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 1/2 to 2/3 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
71 Calories
2g Fat
13g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 71
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 16mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 25mg 124%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 90mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Used in both savory and sweet dishes, oranges are a popular fruit in Morocco. The juice and zest are added to tagines, baked into cakes, and are the main ingredients in sauces, such as this easy orange dessert sauce. To make this sweet sauce with a bit of tang, the orange juice and zest are cooked along with some sugar until the mixture is thick and syrupy and then butter is added. With its intense flavor, just a small amount of this orange sauce is all you need to add a delicious citrus touch to crepes, cake, ice cream, custards, and other desserts.

To make this recipe, you will need two or three fresh oranges. A citrus zester or Microplane is the ideal tool for zesting fruit; if you don't have either of these, you can use a vegetable peeler and then chop the zest, but this does create an added step and takes more time. It is much easier to zest the fruit before juicing it as the fruit is firm and easier to hold.


  • 1 orange, zested

  • 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed, from 2 or 3 oranges

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix the orange zest, juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer the juice mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until a thick, syrupy sauce has formed. (At this point, you should still be able to pour the sauce, but if you like, continue reducing the sauce to make it even thicker.)

  3. When the sauce is a consistency you like, stir in the butter and simmer for another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

  4. Serve the orange sauce chilled, at room temperature, or warm.

  5. Enjoy.

How to Use

This sweet and tangy orange sauce can be used to dress up a variety of desserts, as well as breakfast treats.

  • Serve alongside an angel food cake.
  • Drizzle on top of slices of a simple cheesecake for added flavor.
  • Ladle onto dessert plates to sit underneath pieces of chocolate tart.
  • Spoon over cinnamon rolls in place of the traditional vanilla flavored icing.
  • Offer at brunch with waffles, French toast, and pancakes instead of, or in addition to, maple syrup.

Recipe Variation

If the orange sauce is for adults only, you can give it an extra boost of boozy flavor by adding in a little Grand Marnier.