30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon

This 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon is an easy from-scratch recipe that will fool people into thinking you spent hours slaving away over a hot stove. It’s the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving menu!A bowl of cranberry sauce topped with orange zest and rosemary.

Well, I was supposed to be taking a little break from new recipes while I work on some other fun things for you, but after whipping up this 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon for our Friendsgiving this past weekend, I couldn’t resist sharing it with all of you. It is THAT good.

What Cranberry Camp Are You In?

So, tell me. Are you staunchly in the canned cranberry camp or do you HAVE to have something homemade? Or could you not care less? To be honest, I grew up eating the canned stuff with our family’s Thanksgiving meal, but once I found my love for cooking and realized just how easy it can be to make a fresh batch from scratch, I’ve forced my entire family down this road with me and we’ve never turned back.

As with everything else “made from scratch,” I love the idea that you can control all of the ingredients you use to create the finished product. There’s also no high fructose corn syrup in a homemade version, which we can probably all do without with all of the pumpkin pie, whipped cream and other sweets we’ll be consuming for the next two months.

What Goes Into this 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce?

The answer: Just enough ingredients to make it truly NEXT LEVEL without getting totally crazy. That’s right, you’re likely to have most of these ingredients on hand in your pantry or in your crisper already.

Here’s what you need:

Fresh cranberries (this time of year they’re easy to find in the produce section of most grocery stores)
An orange
Orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
Cinnamon sticks

That’s it! I don’t know about you, but EASY from-scratch recipes without a ton of weird ingredients in them are totally my jam when it comes to the holidays, much like these Pumpkin Popovers or this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad.

An overhead shot of a bowl of 30-minute cranberry sauce topped with orange zest and rosemary.

How Do You Make It?

Let me tell you, if you’re looking for a simple dish to make for Thanksgiving that will wow your crowd, this is it. If you know how to add ingredients to a pot and turn on the stove, and can remember to stir your ingredients every once in a while, then you can totally master this dish. Because that’s all it takes!

Simply add all the ingredients to a saucepan and let it simmer away until the cranberries have burst and an enticing aroma is filling up your house.

How to Store Cranberry Sauce

 Another great thing about this 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce – aside from how few ingredients it takes and how easy it is to make – is that it can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a few days. So, Meal Prepping Mamas, this one’s for you!

Just transfer it to an airtight container after it’s come down to room temp and then pull it out right before you’re ready to serve. It doesn’t even need to be reheated!A bowl of cranberry sauce flanked by fresh rosemary, cranberries and orange.

How to Serve Cranberry Sauce

I’m normally not one to make a big deal about serving dishes, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, it’s worth paying a little extra attention to what we’re putting all of these delicious homemade recipes in. Here are some serving dishes that would be perfect for your fancy Cranberry Sauce! (These are affiliate links.)

3 crystal serving bowls for serving cranberry sauce
This 3-bowl crystal serving set let’s the bright red color of your sauce really pop!
This serving boat is a modern way to dress up your Thanksgiving table.
I love pumpkin coquettes from Staub so much that I own two of them! Such a fun way to jazz up any holiday table.

Now, tell me, are you adding this to your Thanksgiving menu or what??

30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

This 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon is an easy from-scratch recipe that will fool people into thinking you spent hours slaving away over a hot stove. It’s the perfect addition to your
Thanksgiving menu!

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry, meal prep, quick-and-easy, side dish, Thanksgiving, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 59 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 16 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur Such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.

  2. Simmer on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped and mixture resembles classic cranberry sauce, about 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks.

  3. Let cool and serve at room temperature or store in an airtight refrigerator in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes



Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

This Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti has tart cranberries, toasted walnuts, and a generous coating of chocolate to make it the ultimate holiday dessert.

These Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti are fantastic dipped in coffee or a hot toddy!

These Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti live up to every expectation you may have about what a holiday cookie should be. The flavors meld together perfectly to form a delightful cookie that tastes just as good with your morning coffee as it does with an evening hot toddy in front of the fire. It’s a real crowd-pleaser, that’s for sure, and should make it on to your holiday baking list ASAP.

To be completely honest, this version of Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti was my own attempt at copying a similar biscotti recipe from back in my Hawaii days. When I was living there and working for an event production company, my boss’ wife would make THE most insanely delicious biscotti every Christmas. I distinctly remember how all of us in the office would impatiently await that first day sometime around Thanksgiving when my boss would bring in the first batch of the season, which would subsequently get devoured before the workday was through.

I don’t remember the exact ingredients (and the specific recipe was a highly coveted family secret), but they were something along the line of chocolate, dried cranberries and either walnuts or almonds. What I do remember is that, after the initial crunch, they just melted in your mouth and were the perfect accompaniment to any warm beverage that was suitable for dunking.

These Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti are the perfect holiday cookie to add to your baking repertoire.

So this year, I decided I needed to make my best attempt at making my own version, and let me just say that although they’re not exactly the same as my boss’ wife’s version, they’re pretty darn close and just as tasty.

If you’ve never made biscotti before, there’s no need to be intimidated. The biggest difference from other cookies is the baking technique, since you bake them off twice – once as a log (almost in the shape of a loaf of bread) and then again after you slice the log into the appropriate biscotti-sized pieces. Being the chocolate-lover that I am, of course I had to go ahead and dip the biscotti in it, but if you’re not such a big fan you could easily omit that step. Or, if you still want some chocolate but don’t feel like tackling the dipping process, go ahead and throw some mini chocolate chips into the dough! Tons of possibilities.

Set out a plate of Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti at your holiday get-together and guaranteed they'll be gone in an instant!

The other thing I love about these Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti is that the recipe yields quite a few, which makes it perfect for all of your holiday cookie plate gifting needs. Since I was making all my holiday recipes back in September before baby, I threw Ziplocs of these into the freezer and am just now getting into the stash. They’ve held up beautifully (and we’ll see if there are any left for me to gift people 😉

Whether or not you decide to make Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti for your friends or you decide to keep them all to yourself, you definitely need to give them a shot. Because who doesn’t need a delicious cookie they can pull out of the freezer and enjoy at a moment’s notice during this crazy holiday season?

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti are the perfect holiday cookie to bake up this season.

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Walnut Biscotti
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

This classic cookie gets fancied up for the holiday season with tart cranberries, toasted walnuts, and a generous coating of chocolate. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: biscotti, chocolate, christmas, cookies, cranberry, holiday
Servings: 24 cookies
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) chopped toasted walnuts
  • 14 ounces dried cranberries
  • 20 ounces chopped semisweet or dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on low until combined.

  5. Add the nuts and cranberries.

  6. Roll the dough into six 10-by-1 ½-inch logs. Arrange the logs on the prepared baking sheets and bake until golden, about 30 minutes. 

  7. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes. With a serrated knife, slice the logs on the diagonal, about 2/3-inch thick.

  8. Bake the slices, cut side up, for an additional 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool.

  9. Melt chocolate and coconut oil together in the top of a double boiler until smooth. One at a time, dip one end of the biscotti into the chocolate mixture.

  10. Place dipped biscotti on a baking rack over a large piece of parchment paper (to catch drips.) Let chocolate set and transfer biscotti to a resealable container or bag. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. 

Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini

I mean, what better way to kick off our cocktails for the month of December?

A Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini is the perfect easy cocktail to whip up all through the month of December!

This Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini is the epitome of what a December cocktail should look like. It features two of the biggest winter produce stars – cranberries and clementines – and gets jazzed up with good ol’ vodka plus a dash of Grand Marnier. I mean, who doesn’t want to sip on something this tasty all through the most festive month of the year?

Okay serious talk here – I realize I do not have too many martini recipes here on the blog, and that’s simply because I’m usually not a straight-up martini kind of gal. I just can’t seem to get down with olives/olive juice and/or onions flavoring my cocktails. And sorry to all my vodka-lovers out there, but I usually tend to lean towards booze with a little more inherent flavor (I’m looking at you, gin and bourbon) rather than more mildly-flavored vodka.

BUT give me a martini that is full of fresh clementine juice, tangy cranberry juice AND Grand Marnier on top of that vodka? Yes, please. I will take a Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini any day!

A Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini is the perfect way to kick off a holiday weekend.

I honestly don’t know why I haven’t thought to use fresh clementine juice in more of my cocktails before now. I mean, at this time of year grocery stores are chock full of those huge bags of them, and I don’t know about you but I unfailingly only get about halfway through before I notice them starting to go bad. And it breaks my heart to have to throw them away. After tasting this delicious concoction, I now know I just need to juice some of those bad boys up and grab my trusty cocktail shaker so I can be sipping on said Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini in no time at all.

That’s my kind of holiday cocktail.

Festive Cranberry Clementine Martinis are THE holiday cocktail you should be making this year!

So tell me, who has exciting plans for this weekend? We are taking a weekend to lay a little low (I mean, who are we kidding, we have a one-month old, laying low is our life) because next weekend we’re heading up north again to celebrate my dad’s birthday and cut down our Christmas tree. If nothing else, our baby girl will be quite the seasoned traveler by the end of the year!

There always seems to be a plethora of holiday celebrations and events that kick off as soon as we get through Thanksgiving, so I hope you’re up to something fun and festive these next few days. No matter what your plans, I hope you can work in making (and consuming) a Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini or two!

A Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini is easy to make and a real crowd pleaser.

Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

This martini is full of holiday flavor with the freshest in season produce and a little hint of something special to give it an extra-festive kick.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas, cocktails, cranberry, drinks, holiday, vodka
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce fresh clementine juice
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • Clementine wheel, for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. 

  2. Strain through the lid into a martini glass. 

  3. Garnish with a clementine wheel and enjoy!

Cranberry Ginger Mule

Have you eaten up all of your leftovers yet?

Cranberry Ginger Mule | CaliGirlCooking.com

I sure hope you at least still have some cranberries left, because you are going to want to make this Cranberry Ginger Mule ASAP. Tart cranberries simmered with vanilla bean and orange liqueur, topped off with a healthy dose of vodka and ginger beer. Does it get any better than that?

It might get better, if you sip on one of these while you’re baking cookies or decorating your Christmas tree, or if you just need a little pick-me-up after a rough day. It’s a cup of holiday cheer, and let’s be honest, there’s no drinking vessel more festive than a shiny copper mug.

Speaking of feeling festive, have you kicked off your holiday season yet? It’s the first weekend of December and, if you’re city is anything like Santa Barbara, the seasonal events are starting in full force. We’ve got our downtown Holiday Parade, Champagne Club, and a few fun holiday pop-ups going on around town this weekend, and after a long week back to the grind, I’m so excited to get even more in the holiday spirit!

Cranberry Ginger Mule | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m also headed to Quebec next week with my gal pal GoJohannaGo and I cannot wait! We planned the trip this summer, with the mission of finding a super cute, snowy, festive, Christmas light-ed town (something you do NOT find in California.) We were initially looking at small New England towns, but found ourselves being drawn to the quaint, French-centric Canadian town after it kept popping up on our radar. Plus, the strength of the American dollar there makes it super affordable. We’re so excited to go snow shoeing, visit sugar shacks and maybe even dip into a Nordic spa or two. We’re still finalizing our itinerary, so tell me if there’s anywhere we MUST go!

So in anticipation of my travels and all of the fun upcoming holiday events, I’m going to share this Christmas-y Cranberry Ginger Mule with you! The hardest part is making the cranberry puree, and after that everything comes together sooooo easily. You may want to mix up a batch of the vanilla-laced puree and just keep it in your refrigerator for whenever the urge strikes, because I can guarantee it’s going to happen.

I came up with the idea for this Cranberry Ginger Mule when I was trying to think of a way to use up some leftover fresh cranberries I had, but realistically you could even doctor up some cranberry sauce you already have on hand. I simmered my cranberries with the usual sugar and water, plus some vanilla bean seeds and a healthy glug of orange liqueur. Depending on what flavor of cranberries you have, you can either add the vanilla and orange liqueur into what you’ve got, or just use whatever you have! The only thing I would definitely recommend doing is pureeing the cranberries so it blends in nicely and you don’t end up with huge chunks of cranberry in your drink.

Cranberry Ginger Mule | CaliGirlCooking.com

Aside from the cranberry puree, all you’ll need to make this Cranberry Ginger Mule is vodka, ginger beer and, of course, ice! Easy as that. You’ll want to shake the cranberry puree and vodka over the ice in a cocktail shaker so you don’t get any separation, and then just top off your copper mug with a dose of ginger beer.

The vanilla and orange flavors peak through the cranberry, vodka and ginger beer flavors so nicely that you’ll hardly even notice you’re drinking a cocktail. That being said, this cocktail can sneak up on you quickly so proceed with caution. But if you plan on doing any merry-making in the near future, be sure you have a Cranberry Ginger Mule in hand!

Cranberry Ginger Mule | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cranberry Ginger Mule
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins

A holiday spin on the classic mule - cranberry puree with hints of orange and vanilla is mixed with vodka and topped with zesty ginger beer.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas, cocktails, cranberry, drinks, ginger, holiday, vodka
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
For the cranberry puree:
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 of a vanilla bean, seeds scraped (Use just the seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon Triple Sec, Cointreau or other orange liqueur
For the cocktail:
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry puree
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 6 ounces ginger beer
  1. First, make the cranberry puree. Combine all puree ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to cook over medium heat until cranberries begin to burst open and take on a somewhat gelatinous quality. Puree cranberry mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender. Set aside to let cool.

  2. Once cranberry puree is cooled down, you can make the cocktail. In a cocktail shaker, combine about 1 cup of ice, cranberry puree and vodka. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds, then pour into copper mug (ice and all.) Top with ginger beer. 

Recipe Notes

The cranberry puree recipe will make enough for about two cocktails.

Cranberry Ginger Mule | CaliGirlCooking.com


A big copper mug full of holiday cheer!

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel

These Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel are loaded with chocolate chunks, fresh cranberries and topped with a double chocolate streusel – perfect to serve during the holidays!

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

We all know that the eating frenzy that is known as Thanksgiving does not end on Thursday night. No, no, no, it runs straight through Friday, Saturday and Sunday, whether you’re crazy enough to hit the Black Friday sales or digging out your Christmas decorations. Which is why we need something like these Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel in our arsenal. A quick, easy, tasty breakfast loaded with a double dose of chocolate? I like it. I like it a lot.

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

We’re heading up to the Bay Area tonight, so I’ve spent the last couple of days cooking up whatever we’d be able to transport easily. The hubs and I are lucky that we can drive to our Thanksgiving destination, so we usually load a cooler or two in the car with treats that we’ve made to help take some of the cooking pressure off of our parents. This time around, I’m bringing up some Sweet Potato Casserole Babka, a delicious Pumpkin-Walnut Pate I just whipped up (recipe coming to the blog soon!), Jessica’s White Cheddar, Toasted Almond and Crispy Sage Cheese Ball, and of course some of these Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel!

Let me tell you a little bit about these muffins, because they are (sing it with me) “FAAAB-U-LOUSSS!!” They also happen to be the very first muffin recipe I’ve posted on this here blog. Can you believe it? I can’t, seeing as muffins (specifically, muffin tops) are one of my favorite types of baked goods. I kid you not, I’m that gal who will go buy a muffin strictly for its huge, crunchy top and discard the rest. My own special kind of balance, I guess?

The great news about these muffins, though, is that you are going to want to eat the whole. entire. thing. How can you not when they are laced with huge chocolate chunks, fresh cranberries, and an oh-so-perfect hint of orange? Um, yea, did I mention they’re also topped with the crunchiest, chocolatey-est chocolate streusel of all time?

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

Quick confession: I actually used the chocolate streusel recipe from this Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake by Hungry Girl Por Vida, and just cut it in half to use on the muffins. I’ve made this Crumb Cake two years in a row (a rare feat in the life of a food blogger) and it is soooo delicious. I especially love that it involves both cocoa powder AND chocolate chunks, so you get a double dose of that rich flavor. I knew it would be the perfect accessory for muffins already laced with chocolate chunks and cranberries.

The batter comes together quickly and easily, with all of the basic ingredients. And although I used fresh cranberries in this recipe, you could easily sub in frozen, as sometimes those are a bit easier to come by.

These Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel are truly so delicious and the perfect precursor to a day of chopping down your Christmas tree or watching football and chowing on leftovers. They’re also the perfect way to segue into the Christmas season, because Christmas means all things cranberry and chocolate, right?

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

One final note: these muffins are perfect candidates for a little freezer action. Just be sure to freeze them in a solid container (and then transfer to something like a Ziploc if necessary afterwards) so as not to lose all of that delicious chocolate crumble on top!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m hoping to start my holiday weekend a little early with a lunch date with my honey. I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving, full of quality time with friends, family and other loved ones. In a time of such political upheaval and uncertainty, it’s important to remember all that we have to be thankful for! XO

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins

A festive muffin for holiday breakfasts, loaded with chocolate chunks, fresh cranberries and topped with a double chocolate streusel!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
For the chocolate streusel:
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed
For the muffins:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (okay to use almond milk or other milk alternative)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
  1. First, make the chocolate streusel. In a small mixing bowl, combine all streusel ingredients. Blend using fingers (or a pastry blender) until mixture resembles wet sand and butter is at least in pea size chunks. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray and set aside. 

  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars together until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add in the eggs, milk, vanilla and orange zest until well combined. Set aside. 

  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, spices and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until combined. Gently fold in the cranberries and chocolate chunks. 

  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about ¾ of the way up. Top each muffin with a generous amount of streusel.

  6. Bake in 350 degree oven for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. 

Recipe Notes

Streusel recipe from Hungry Girl Por Vida’s Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake.

Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Chocolate Streusel | CaliGirlCooking.com


Breakfast never looked so good.