Small Batch Cranberry Relish

Fresh cranberries, orange (flesh + peel!), and sugar get whipped together for a quick Small Batch Cranberry Relish everyone will enjoy. Perfect for the holidays, this no-cook relish is great on its own, dolloped on crackers, spread on sandwiches, and more!

A small wooden spoon scooping relish out of a glass mason jar.

Today we’ve got a quickie condiment for you. This small batch cranberry relish requires just a few ingredients and is super fast to make in a mini food processor. It’s bright and tart and there are a zillion ways to customize and use it. Wait till you see the ricotta toast!   

How to Make Small Batch Cranberry Relish

The classic recipe for this dish uses a whole orange. Since this is a small batch recipe we’re just going to use a quarter of it.

To make the relish, start by slicing the ends off of the orange quarter. Then cut it into chunks. I love the texture and flavor the orange peel adds but I’m not a huge fan of the bitter pith (the white stuff). So I use a pairing knife to slice the thicker parts away from the flesh.

Orange segments and peel on a cutting board and with fresh cranberries in a mini food processor.

Once you’ve got your orange sorted, add the pieces and cranberries to a mini food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped into tiny pebble-sized pieces. To make sure everything gets chopped, scrape down the sides of the processor once or twice.

Pour the cranberry mixture into a small bowl and stir in the sugar. Start with 1 tablespoon. Mix it in well, taste, and then add more sugar 1 teaspoon at a time as desired.

Chopped cranberry and orange in a mini food processor and in a small glass bowl with a wooden spoon.

Cover the bowl and chill the relish for at least 1 hour before serving. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Just before serving, stir in the chopped pecans. Not sure if everyone likes nuts? Serve them on the side! 

Cranberry relish in a glass mason jar with a sprig of fresh mint.

Flavor Customizations 

There are so many ways to customize this relish. My favorite is to stir 1/4 cup of thawed frozen raspberries into the cranberry mixture before adding the sugar. It gives the relish a vibrant pink color (see the photo below) and sweeter flavor. 

A quarter of a Granny Smith apple adds a nice crunchy texture. Just deseed the apple, chop it into a few chunks, and throw it in the processor with the orange and cranberries. 

Warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg give the relish a distinct holiday flavor. A little goes a long way though so only use a pinch or two, otherwise, the spices will overwhelm the other flavors. 

Or for a spicier bite, try adding a teaspoon of peeled and chopped fresh ginger to the processor.

Toasted bread spread with creamy whipped ricotta and cranberry raspberry relish on a blue plate.

Cranberry Relish Uses

The perfect addition to any holiday meal, this bright and fresh condiment has a lot of other tasty uses. 

  • Spread it on toast with whipped ricotta 
  • Serve with crackers and cream cheese
  • Top a batch of quick baked sweet potatoes 
  • Enjoy with yogurt or cottage cheese and granola 
  • Dollop on your morning oatmeal 
  • Or just eat it by the spoonful!
A small wooden spoon scooping relish out of a glass mason jar.

Small Batch Cranberry Relish

Yield: About 8 tablespoons
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This fresh and tart raw alternative to traditional cranberry sauce takes just a few minutes to make. Enjoy it with your holiday meal, stir into oatmeal, or use it to top baked sweet potatoes and toasts.


  • 1/4 a Large Unpeeled Navel Orange
  • 3 ounces Fresh or Frozen Cranberries (see note), washed and dried (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Finely Chopped Pecans, optional


  1. Cut the orange piece into 3 or 4 chunks and discard any seeds. If desired, use a pairing knife to cut away the peel and remove some of the bitter white pith from the flesh.
  2. Add the orange peel and flesh and cranberries to a mini food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of sugar until dissolved. Taste and add more sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches your preferred level of sweetness.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend together.
  5. Just before serving, stir in chopped nuts if using.


Frozen Cranberries - Let them thaw about 20 minutes before using otherwise it will sound like you’re trying to grind rocks in your mini processor.

Orange - Since you’re eating the skin, grab an organic orange if you can (if you can’t don’t stress about it). Half a small mandarin orange works too.

Sweetener - We’ve had good luck with substituting maple syrup for some of the sugar. It does not add a maple flavor, just sweetness.

Nuts - Totally optional but highly recommended. Chopped pecans are my favorite but walnuts or pistachios taste great too.

Storage - Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Stir well before serving.

Flavor Variations

  • Rasberry: Stir and lightly mash 1/4 cup of fresh or thawed frozen raspberries into the cranberry mixture.
  • Apple: Seed 1/4 of an apple, chop into chunks, and add to the processor with the cranberry and orange.
  • Spiced: Add a few pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger to the cranberry mixture.

Nutritional information is for a relish made using 4 teaspoons of sugar.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 34Total Fat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 7.1gFiber: 1gSugar: 5.5gProtein: 0.1g

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