Cranberry Relish – Serve With A Side Of Love


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My mother loves homemade cranberry relish, she always has. Me, I was a died-in-the-wool devotee of “the kind with the rings on it” from an early age and only discovered the beauty of homemade as an adult.

Yup, I loved the stuff from the can.

Since we only had cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving and at my grandmother’s house, I thought it was her “special” recipe. She always served it in an oval pressed glass dish, all sliced up and ready to go.

Which just goes to prove that even canned cranberry sauce can be the part of a cherished memory. When it comes down to it, it’s not about how many hours were spent on the food, whether it was Aunt Charlie’s recipe or from the Kroger deli (but we sure do love our Aunt Charlie’s recipes!), its the time together that counts and canned cranberry sauce can be served with just as much love as homemade.

But for those of y’all who like it how my Mama does (and myself these days, too!), here is a handy little recipe that can be made up quick as a wink and is sure to impress – almost as much as the fact that you loved them enough to make it.

Isn’t it wonderful to come from good people? ~sighs~ I sure think so.

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You’ll need: Sugar, cranberries, walnuts*, Crushed pineapple, and lemon juice.

*You will only need one cup of crushed pineapple but I only had a large can so used that and ate the rest. ~sighs~ It’s a tough job…

*Walnuts are optional. Feel free to substitute pecans or leave the nuts out altogether if you like.

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Drain pineapple juice into a cup. Add enough water to make one cup of juice.

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Place cranberries in medium to large sauce pot.

Cranberries are so very pretty. Have any of y’all ever strung them for the tree?

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Add pineapple juice/water

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and sugar

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Stir that up and bring it to a boil, stirring every now and then.

Continue boiling until all of the berries are popped and mixture is thickened.

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You may actually hear them pop, which is pretty cool and impresses kids.

We have to impress them every chance we get.

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Once all of the berries are popped, remove from heat and add all other ingredients (including lemon juice).

Remember, if you’d rather not add nuts that is fine, too!

I usually omit nuts from all of my recipes because of how expensive they are but I was making this for Mama and she loves them in it. I reckon if she brought me into this world and spent all those years at home raising me, I can spring for some chopped walnuts on the baking aisle…

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Ooh yum!

Pour into bowl and allow to cool.

Once cool the mixture will be “jelled” and resemble store bought cranberry relish in texture, but much more impressive in taste – because YOU made it!

Cranberry Relish
  • 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 Cup crushed Pineapple (reserve juice and use remaining pineapple for another use*)
  • ½ C Sugar
  • ½ C Walnuts
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  1. Drain pineapple juices into measuring cup. Add enough water to make one cup of liquid. Place cranberries, cup of liquid, and sugar into a medium saucepot. Stir. Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat until all of the berries are popped and mixture is thickened, stirring every now and then. Once all of the berries are popped, remove from heat and add all other ingredients (including lemon juice).

*My definition of “another use” in this case means that it gets to be your snack while you’re waiting on the cranberries to cook. ~grins~

Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of living.

~Kahlil Gibran

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    • Erin says

      I have an Aunt Charlie too and she’s a great cook! Hi to yours!
      I might use this recipe this year. I have a great one but it’s much more complicated and being that this is my first year hosting (rather than just bringing the cranberries) something simpler might be in order.

      • Carol Cyrus says

        Mix a large box of raspberry jello in one and a half cups of boiling water and mix well. Allow to cool and add to the above recipe for a quick fix. I fix cranberry relish with fresh, chopped in food processor berries, one whole orange, 3/4 C. sugar and raspberry jello mixed with 2 cups of boiling water. Allow to cool and add to mixture. Is terrific. Can add crushed pineapple and nuts.

  1. Darlene says

    Christy, this recipe looks and sounds delicious, but I have to confess that I still love canned cranberry sauce. My mother always sliced it and put in in a special Christmas dish also. I do the same.

  2. Carla says

    I wonder if you could use brown sugar with this recipe?

    As a rule, I’m the one who likes the real cranberry
    sauce – that is, the kind that slides out of a can (lol), but this
    recipe looks easy enough that even I couldn’t mess it up!

    Thanks, again, Christy, for taking the mystery out of cooking!

    Being able to see all the ingredients, and then the step-by-step
    photos has made dinnertime planning much less burdensome for me!

    Thanks for all you do! It’s a simple thing, but it means more
    than you know!

    • says

      Now Carla, you are asking a brown sugar L-O-V-E-R so YES, I’d definitely put brown sugar in if if you are inclined to. I’m actually kicking myself for not having done that now that you mention it!

      You are so very sweet, thank you for your kindness! I have to admit its comments like this that keep me going! ll
      Love and Gratitude,

  3. Miss Adrienne says

    Oh my gosh, this sounds SOOO good! I am trying to wean my ‘Bama boy off “the stuff with rings”! Oh, it is okay in a pinch, but this sounds so good (he loves pineapple) that we may just have a winner here! Thanks Christy!!!!

  4. says

    I think I am the only one in the whole wide world who makes cranberry relish from uncooked cranberries. I have never, ever seen the recipe any where, but it is the BEST! Basically process your cranberries, a peeled, skinned orange, sugar and walnuts in a food processor and allow to sit for 24 hours so the flavors come together. It is YUMMY!

    Not that I would refuse this version because this is almost exactly as my mother in law makes it. But I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year so I can have my cranberry relish the way I like it!

    • Ann Mordini says

      I also make this uncooked cranberry relish–actually I make both kinds so there is a choice. I LOVE the uncooked kind. I make it with black walnuts (which I buy in the South when I go home and bring back with me to NY–I am a displaced Southerner).

    • atlantablondie says

      I place a bag of cranberries, a quartered navel orange (with skin) & 1/2 cup white sugar into the food processor. I “pulse” till chopped. Then add walnuts………chill & it is yummy. No need to cook.
      The navel orange skin is NOT bitter but gives a deeper orange taste. For those who want it sweeter, add more sugar!!

    • D. Campbell says

      Heather, try this one. 1 cup cranberries (food processed), 1 orange, peeled, sectioned and processed, 1 apple, cored, cut up and processed. 1/2 cup sugar. mix together and leave overnight. old family recipe of ours. kids don’t like it, but I sure do. Christy, love your website. It is wonderfully set-up and the step by step is so helpful. Thank you so much and your family for giving up their time with you so you can help all of us.

  5. April in CT says

    I’m a die hard canned fan! My nanny always sliced it up and put it on a pretty dish. Now I do the same at Thanksgiving on one of her small relish dishes. :)

    I’m always tempted to try making my own because it’s so pretty, but my hubby won’t touch the whole berry kind in a can so I’m not sure if he’ll go for this one. Maybe I’ll just splurge and have both. Can’t have too much food on Thanksgiving, right?

  6. Mary Jo says

    A note to Heather… You are not the only one who makes cranberry relish from uncooked cranberries. I do a very similar recipe, but I grind the cranberries, a whole orange (including rind) that has been seeded and cut into wedges and pecans. I then add about 1/2 cup of sugar. Sometimes I make a small box of rasberry jello using only the 1cups of hot water, then pour that into the cranberry mixture and chill.
    My mama also adds chopped celery and chopped apples.

    But I too like the sauce from the can. It has it’s own special place!

  7. Claudine says

    In response to Heather @ Not a DIY Life about making cranberry relish with uncooked cranberries, well I do just that EXCEPT being from the South, I naturally use Jell-O and make it congealed!!! And here it is!! Now Heather, I’m not implying that you aren’t from the South, but I just don’t know where you are from. So I’m not being mean or anything!!! LOL! And I LOVE the way you say you fix your cranberry relish. I’ll have to try it.

    Claudine from Texas

    Claudine’s Cranberry Holiday Salad

    2 cups raw cranberries — washed and coarsely ground*
    2 cups Mandarin oranges — drained and cut up
    1 (8 oz)can crushed pineapple — drained
    1 cup sugar
    1 (6 oz) package Black Cherry Jell-O
    2 cups boiling water
    4 stalks celery — chopped
    3/4 cup walnuts — (OR pecans) chopped

    *CLAUDINE’S NOTES: The cranberries grind better if they are frozen.

    Wash and sort cranberries; grind coarsely and add the sugar.
    Mix well and set aside.
    Dissolve Jello in the boiling water and let cool.
    Add cranberries and sugar mixture, Mandarin oranges, pineapple, celery and walnuts.
    Mix well.
    Pour into a 2 quart mold or dish and chill until firmly set.
    Unmold onto a plate and pipe a design around edges and top with cream cheese if desired.

    When I first developed this recipe, Jell-O did not have the Cranberry flavor. You might want to try the Cranberry flavor instead of the Black Cherry flavor. You could use Strawberry flavor, also.

  8. Lana says

    Ooh, my oldest daughter and I love cranberry orange relish too. She will be missing it this year and it will make me sad as she is living overseas, My grandmother always made it when I was growing up and she always brought it in a beautiful green glass dish. She gave me the dish when I got married 31 years ago so I could use it in my owm home.

  9. Foustein says

    Christy, why not serve all 3. The “solid” cranberry sauce in the can, the cranberry sauce with whole berries in the can and the “really good stuff” made with cranberries and oranges done in your food processer. All you have to do is toss the berries, the orange that has been cut into chunks and just a bit of sugar to taste. I always make mine about a week prior to serving so it can meld in the fridge. It is “really good stuff, Maynard”. (it is also good served with pork). Try it, you just might like it.

  10. kathy mainor says

    I HAVE to tell you what my son did about cranberry sauce….everyone ate all the cranberry sauce (canned-solid stuff) so my son used grape jelly instead…even convinced everyone else that it was just as good…so this Thanksgiving we will have cranberry sauce AND grape jelly :) Now THAT is CHEAP!!!!

    • says

      Hey Tina! I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t can this, especially with the acidity of the cranberries. I’d just pack it hot into the sterile jars and be sure to process it in a hot water bath according to the size jars you use.

  11. Terri go Dawgs says

    This sounds wonderful! I will have to try it, thank you Christy for another recipe. I am learning so many cool, neat tips and tricks to improve my “kitchen game” from SP.

    I always had cranberry sauce from a can (GASP!!!) I knooow…….. and I am from the South too, wow, deprived childhood, huh?
    So, years ago, I convinced my small son to eat it by telling him “It is jellied jello.” with a straight face. It worked, he ate it. I love it when kids try new things to eat.
    ~waves~ Happy Thanksgiving. Blessings on all ya’ll too.

    • Sheila M. says

      Terri, I just had to thank you for that “jellied jello” line. I’ve always wondered how to convince little ones to try it. Usually the second you say cranberry, their faces scrunch up and they refuse to touch it. I’ll try your line and see if it doesn’t work. ^_^

  12. Su says

    The photos of the cranberries is so pretty. I actually made my own cranberry sauce last year for Christmas and took photos that I put on my FB. lol I just thought they were too pretty not to.

    The cranberries, being tart as they are, were still a little too sour after I made it, but then I only made mine with the cranberries, water and sugar. The pineapple juice sounds like a good addition.

  13. Sheila M. says

    This is great! I’d always wanted to try my hand at making a cranberry relish but hey, the stuff in a can *is* good. ^_^

    I’ll give this a go this Thanksgiving. Although, I might substitute oranges instead (my family isn’t too big on the texture of cooked pineapple for some reason).

  14. Elaine Raye says

    I make the cranberries that are ground raw with orange and I always grind an apple into it as it makes it sweeter and a bit milder. We always called it cranberry relish. I consider it an “essential” at the Thanksgiving feast. It freezes well too. I love the canned jellied stuff sliced thin and it on a cold turkey sandwich and adds moisture.

  15. Melissa P says

    Oh, MY!!! Thank you! I’m a southern gal stuck in MI and really, really wanted to make cranberry relish for my family this year (can take the girl out of the south, but not the south out of the girl). This is precisely the recipe I was looking for. I probably will add a little chopped apple (after the relish cools) for a little added crunch. So very glad to find this website!

  16. says

    If you want a really Wonderful taste. Try putting a can of Vernor’s Ginger Ale Soda in with the cranberries. That ginger taste mixed with the tart cranberry flavor and some orange peel just has that special Holiday smell and taste to it. I always use brown sugar as well. And a pinch of salt. It is O.M.G. Good. (Oh My Goodness) Good.

    Hope Everyone one has a wonderful time with their special folks this Thanksgiving. ” Remember ” Treat every special gathering like it might be the last. For some it truely might be. With Love to all. Stephanie-SoutherngirlinOcala.

  17. AngelMass says

    This reminds me of the one I make every year…but mine has a little twist. There is never a bite left in the bowl. EVER. AND they beg me to make it throughout the year as well. Here is my version! It’s beautiful in a clear or clear pink bowl…I use one of my grandma’s depression glass bowls.

    2 (3 ounce) packages cherry flavored
    gelatin mix
    1 (16 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
    1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with

    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1 tablespoon mayonnaise
    1. Drain crushed pineapple and save 1/4 cup of the juice. Dissolve gelatin in 2 cups of hot water. Stir in cranberries and crushed pineapple. Pour 1/2 of the mixture in a bowl and leave at room temperature, set the other 1/2 in the refrigerator until firm.
    2. In a separate bowl mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, reserved pineapple juice and chopped pecans. Spread mixture over chilled gelatin. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Pour the room temperature gelatin over the top of the cream cheese layer and refrigerate until set.

  18. Angela says

    Hey Christy,
    My mama served canned cranberry sauce in a glass dish and I have a glass dish like it that I serve on too! I’m sure your mama’s is wonderful. Paula Deen slices her canned c. sauce and puts a mixture of mayo., cream cheese and pecans between two slices. Haven’t tried it tho.
    By the way, do you have a day off in a couple of weeks to go with me to lunch? I know you’re a busy woman, I was thinking it would be nice to go out during this time of year with all the decorations up and everything. If not, we can always wait until after the holidays. Love ya!

  19. says

    Morning Christy,
    We always had canned as a kid too…all sliced so pretty on that cut glass plate. But now that I live close to where I can get the cranberries fresh, it’s homemade relish for us as well. It’s so easy, not alot of mess or time involved, but boy does everyone think it’s the best thing goin’. Thank you for your recipe, may have to change mine up a bit this year.

    Oh, and AngelMass, you are my new hero…a friend, years ago, brought your recipe to our Thanksgiving, did he bring the recipe…nope…but I’m sure yours is it…it was heavenly!

    Thanks all!

  20. Patti says

    I also love canned cranberry sauce, especially with the whole berries! I bought mine yesterday, then saw this recipe. So today, I bought the stuff to make your relish! How far ahead can I make it?

    PS I work with your kids at school – they are really sweet!

  21. Cindy Newton says

    I had this recipe about 4yrs. ago made it served it over light philadelphia cream cheese, with celery and/or wheat thins. It was a BIG hit, lost the recipe and I am very happy that I found it on I am making it this year for Christmas with Family.

    Merry Christmas
    Cindy from Michigan

  22. Doris Flowers says

    Have enjoyed all the cranberry comments. We always called the ground uncooked cranberries a relish and then the cooked cranberries were cranberry sauce. Made mine for a luncheon yesterday. It consisted of berries, sugar, water and cooked till the berries popped. Brought home an empty bowl. But am sure it would have been ever better with the pineapple and nuts! Just can’t go too far wrong with cranberries. Loved your Mom’s menu. Looked just about like mine. We are a large family of 30 plus. Everyone pitches in and brings food – else grandma would have a hard time.

  23. LINDA says

    The best Cranberry Relish I’ve ever eaten…. You will never buy another can of cranberry sauce once you make this… Trust me.
    Thank You Sweet Christy for sharing this recipe with us. This is definately a Keeper for sure.
    You are a blessing to all of us cooks who believe in sitting down at the table with our family, By the way? Your new cookbook is wonderful.
    Thank you for working so hard to make it for us.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and your family. :-)

  24. Sherry says

    My cranberry sauce is:
    1 cup water
    1 cup sugar
    1 bag cranberries
    Bring water and sugar to a boil and add cranberries. Bring back to a boil and simmer until all have popped. Cook a little longer and let cool.

    I know this is really basic, but that is the way I like it. Dad always added a sliced apple, but I prefer it without the apple.


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