Jalapeño-Orange Cranberry Sauce

by on December 9, 2013
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Jalapeño-Orange Cranberry Sauce

I’ve learned over the years not to tamper with a family favorite recipe if I want our daughter to eat it. She wants her lasagna to taste like lasagna not spaghetti squash lasagna and her green bean casserole to be covered with those evil fried onions, not caramelized onions and bread crumbs. But I never realized that my beloved cranberry relish was also beloved by E until I decided to make this very different cranberry sauce instead. She hated it. Fortunately, my husband D and I loved it, as both an accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner and an alternative to tomato-based salsa.

Now, before you start slathering this cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving Loaf, you have to be prepared for it not to taste like the sweet cranberry sauce you’re used to. If your taste buds aren’t expecting them, the flavors of onion and garlic as well as the spiciness of the jalapeno can be off-putting. Also, this sauce is a lot less sweet than most cranberry sauces, which I think works well with the piquant flavors, but again, not so much if you’re expecting grandma’s cranberry sauce that contains only cranberries, sugar, and water.

Tacos with Jalapeño-Orange Cranberry Sauce on Instagram

Tacos on Instagram

Since I made a double batch of this sauce a couple of days before our Thanksgiving meal, D and I have had time (and leftovers) to experiment with it. Our favorite way to use it was on tacos with soy curls and grilled onions and peppers, where the sweet and spicy combination added a festive zing. D has had it spread on toast and bagels both with and without vegan cream cheese and reports that it makes a good, savory breakfast addition. And I liked it better on plain baked tofu, where it provided the primary flavor, than I did on No-Fu Loaf, which already had plenty of savory flavors of its own.

So if you’re up for an adventure, give this jalapeño cranberry sauce a try. But tell your taste buds that it’s cranberry salsa, not sauce.

Jalapeño-Orange Cranberry Sauce

Jalapeño-Orange Cranberry Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Use more or less jalapeno depending on the spiciness of your peppers and your tolerance for heat. For even more bite, add the seeds or a little cayenne pepper.
Serves: 10
  • 12 ounces cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (white and green parts)
  1. Wash and pick over the cranberries, discarding any bad ones. Combine all ingredients except green onion in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until the berries pop and burst. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Transfer to a serving dish and stir in the green onion. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/10 of recipe Calories: 54 Fat: less than 1g Carbohydrates: 13.7g Sugar: 11.8g Sodium: 29.8mg Fiber: less that 1g Protein: less than 1g



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 moonwatcher December 9, 2013 at 11:55 am

Wow, Susan, what a great innovation!! Cranberry Salsa!! I bet the orange and jalapeno and green onion are really nice together. I bet it’s really delicious with either the vegan cream cheese or the tofu. I have a feeling my hot sauce loving kin would really enjoy this. But I better not use it for a topping on a sweet potato “cheese” cake I keep dreaming up in my head!! LOL




2 Teresa December 10, 2013 at 6:11 am

you can substitute mashed sweet potatoes for the pumpkin in any pumpkin cheesecake recipe


3 Beth Shafran-Mukai December 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Dear friend, here is an idea that worked well for me this holiday season, and I bet it would be a great alternative in your delicious sounding relish. Instead of the white sugar, peel and add an apple, or so quick and so easy, use a few spoonfuls of natural unsweetened apple sauce. Was delicious in the cranberry persimmon relish I put together, mine included red chili flakes – your jalapeno idea is grand!


4 Jennifer December 12, 2013 at 10:54 am

Perfect Flavors paired together!! Very great recipe! LOVE it!


5 Mary@Mary's Test Kitchen December 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Wow! This looks sooooooo good. I’m not a huge fan of cranberry sauce (fruit + savory = strange to me) but the the jalapeno…well…jalapeno makes everything worth trying too me! hehe


6 Tiana Gustafson December 17, 2013 at 12:14 am

Thank you so much for this amazing looking recipe! I love healthy recipes and I will look forward to trying it out and sharing it with my followers at TianaGustafson.com. As Arnold says “I’ll be back” 🙂 Thanks again!


7 Liliana December 21, 2013 at 8:22 am

Very good indeed! We cannot find fresh cranberries here in the UK, so I thought I would pass this on, till I went to my local Llidl the day after and here they are, product of the USA. I saw this as a sign for me to make thise recipe! Then I had to google what green onions are as I thought they were one of those ingredients to be found only in America and nearly gave up on the recepy, but then found out that what you guys oversee call ‘green onions’ we call spring onions in the UK, very common everywhere. Delicious.
I have to say, Susan. I love your blog because I love simply cooked healthy vegan food (I am a bit of a nerd of healthy stuff and try to make what I can myself), and your recipes fit the bill. Plus, you are funny. Keep the good work up. Merry Christmas from the North of England.


8 Liliana December 21, 2013 at 8:24 am

Sorry, my spelling is usually much better than my previous post, honest! 🙂


9 Richard Shewmaker November 25, 2015 at 11:31 pm


I don’t mean to be contrary, but what makes this any more vegan than regular cranberry sauce. My cranberry sauce contains cranberries, orange zest, and sugar. What could be more vegan than that?


10 Susan Voisin November 26, 2015 at 8:46 am

I don’t think I ever claimed that this was “more vegan” than any other cranberry sauce. (I’m not even sure what that means!) It’s not a competition. It’s just cranberry sauce, with jalapeños in it. Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂


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