Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

Slow cooker cranberry sauce recipe

The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 48 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
21 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 48
Amount per serving
Calories 21
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 2mg 0%
*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.)

Homemade is almost always better than canned. This is a simple, fresh cranberry sauce cooked the slow cooker. With only four ingredients and a small amount of water, the sauce—or relish—takes just minutes to prepare.

Serve this cranberry-orange sauce with your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and be sure to save some for the leftovers. It's also wonderful other times of the year with a chicken dinner or pork roast.


  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 (12-ounces) bag cranberries (rinsed and picked over)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for slow cooker cranberry orange relish
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  2. Zest the oranges using a microplane grater or box grater.

    Zest oranges
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  3. Cut off the remaining outer peel and pith and discard.

    Cut off peel
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  4. Cut the peeled orange sections into small chunks and add to the slow cooker along with cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest.

    Cranberry and orange
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  5. Add the 3 tablespoons of water.

    Add water
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  6. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 2 hours.

    Cranberries in crockpot
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  7. Serve the relish with a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

    Slow cooker cranberry orange relish
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic


  • If you have a few packages of cranberries left over from the holidays, this is a good way to preserve them. Double or triple the recipe and freeze it in airtight containers in 1 cup portions. It will freeze for up to 1 year. To thaw cranberry sauce or relish, take it out of the freezer and refrigerate overnight or put the container in a bowl of cold water. Put a heavy cup or another bowl on top of it to keep the container submerged. 

Recipe Variations

  • Add about 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped pecans to the relish for some extra texture and flavor.
  • Add currants or raisins to the mixture, or finely chopped dried apricots.
  • Chopped candied ginger makes a nice addition to cranberry relish.
  • Add leftover cranberry sauce to barbecue sauce.
  • Add a little to softened butter or cream cheese for a tasty spread for quick bread or muffins.
  • Adding cranberry sauce to a basic frosting or whipped cream will make it pink and add some fruity flavor.
  • The tart flavor of cranberries goes well with apples. Add it to applesauce, apple cobbler, or apple pie filling.