Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Relish

This sweet and spicy cranberry relish belongs in your weeknight repertoire and not just on your Thanksgiving table. Made in minutes from just five ingredients, including jalapeño (!!!!), this easy everyday lifesaver is gonna amp up your weeknight dinner game.

A white gravy boat filled with sweet and spicy cranberry relish with a halved lime and juicer in the background.

This sweet and spicy cranberry relish with jalapeño will banish any recollections you may have of that jellied red stuff that makes an annual appearance and will similarly dispel any misgivings you may have about anything remotely resembling it. There are cranberries and jalapeño, natch, along with sugar, lime, and onion. They all collide in an unexpected yet inspired combination of sweet, tart, and spicy that’s perfection alongside a holiday roast although it’s equally at home with everyday entities, which we’ve listed below. Although don’t be surprised if you catch yourself eating it straight from the bowl. (We know we did.) And did we mention you can make it ahead of time since it freezes beautifully?Angie Zoobkoff

How To Use This Cranberry Relish Beyond Thanksgiving

This sweet and spicy cranberry relish is an inspired addition to any of the below incarnations. Have something you’d like to add to the list? Let us know in a comment below!

Served as a condiment alongside roast chicken
Plopped on the plate with roast pork 
Dolloped alongside seared duck
Slathered on sandwiches—notably those containing leftover roast turkey or chicken
Forked up with roast chicken thighs
Spooned straight from the bowl (seriously, we did this)
Tossed with quinoa and salad greens and goat cheese
Featured on a cheese plate
Served atop seared pork chops

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Relish

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Makes about 2 1/2 cups
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Place the cranberries, 3/4 cup sugar, and half the lime juice and lime zest in a food processor and pulse just until the cranberries are somewhere between coarsely and finely chopped.

Add the jalapeño and red onion and pulse just a few more times to combine. Taste and, if desired, add more sugar and/or the remaining lime juice and zest to taste. Let rest at room temperature until the sauce starts to get juicier as the sugar dissolves, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Stir to recombine before serving. (To freeze the cranberry relish, place the relish in a resealable plastic bag and place it flat in the freezer. The cranberry relish will last 2 months in the freezer. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight or submerge the frozen bag of sauce in a bowl of cold water.)

Print RecipeBuy the Fast to the Table Freezer Cookbook cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

If you’re looking for cranberry sauce that doesn’t resemble anything that you’re used to, stop right now. This is it. This cranberry relish is the perfect mix of sour, sweet, and spicy. It’s delightful. If you taste it right off the bat, you’ll get a hit of spicy and sweet with a big sour finish. But after chilling it for a bit, everybody in the relish starts to get comfortable with one another and those peppers and onions mellow a bit thanks to all that lime. For the best balance of flavor, let it hang out in the fridge for at least an hour before serving it and an overnight rest is even better. Serve it like you would a traditional cranberry sauce, although take note that this relish really shines on a leftover roast turkey sandwich. One batch makes just over 2 1/2 cups, which I found to be more than enough to serve dinner for 8.

This sweet and spicy cranberry relish is certainly delicious enough to grace your Thanksgiving table but since it's so easy to toss together I'm willing to bet you'll want to make it throughout the year! I used a whole jalapeno for the hot pepper called for in the recipe and I was happy with the mild spiciness that it gave the finished relish, but if you're looking for a little more kick you might want to reach for a hotter pepper. That said, I'll use the jalapeno again because my family can't handle a lot of heat. I used the cranberry relish right away on chicken sandwiches and it was spectacular. I used it again the next day and didn't notice a difference in texture or flavor. The relish certainly softened up and the flavors melded a bit more but not enough to discourage me from using it right away if I was short on time. Clearly, any time that you can make something ahead, however, you should definitely take advantage—especially for a big meal like Thanksgiving when you need all the make-ahead dishes that you can get. Try it next to a roast chicken or turkey, on chicken or turkey leftover sandwiches, salad greens with candied nuts...I'm excited to figure out where I can sneak it in!

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  1. This is my new very favorite thing to do with fresh cranberries. I doubled the recipe for my roast turkey dinner for 12–there were no leftovers. In the future I think I’ll probably have to consider it a side dish rather than a condiment or sauce! I was excited to find fresh cranberries this week so I can make more. It’s been requested for my Super Bowl gathering.

    1. Love to hear that, Debbie! Absolutely love it! This is exactly why we test recipes before we put them on the site—so you can be assured that each recipe will be just as spectacular as what you experienced! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know. We SO appreciate it! And we SO look forward to hearing what other recipes you try on the site!

  2. I agree with the earlier reviewers, this is an order of magnitude better than any other cranberry relish I’ve ever had. I made turkey croquettes the day after and used the leftover relish as a sauce—what great leftovers!

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