Holiday Recipe: Honey-Cranberry Relish

Honey- Cranberry Relish

By: Linda  Edson

Growing up, I was never a fan of cranberry sauce. But, as I continually tell my students, tastes change over a lifetime, so one should always be open to trying new things. I came across this recipe in a magazine advertisement published by Sue Bee Honey in the early 1990’s, and was intrigued enough to try it. There has not been a Thanksgiving celebration in my home without this cranberry relish since. Though other members of my family will occasionally indulge in the canned version, this is the only one for me! 

In a food science class at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, a professor lamented that modern cranberry production seems to have resulted in a cranberry that is lower in pectin, as it is more difficult to get a homemade cranberry sauce to gel in a satisfactory consistency compared to when she was growing up. The addition of apple in this recipe prevents the problem of a “loose” sauce. I prefer Granny Smith, as I find the honey balances the tartness of this relish nicely, but you may use a sweeter variety if preferred. This relish requires almost no attention, and I like to put all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and stick it on a back burner over low heat to gently simmer while I prepare the more labor intensive dishes of the holiday. It also works well in a small slow cooker, started on high and turned to low after 30 minutes.


  • 12 oz. cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 apples, cored and diced
  • ¼ cup shredded orange peel

Bring all ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Continue boiling for 10 minutes, or until cranberries pop open. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to use.

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Linda Edson has spent three decades honing her culinary skills as a mother of five.  She enjoys sharing her passion for good food with her students as a high school culinary instructor.  She draws inspiration from her family, local farmer’s markets, a vast collection of cookbooks, and a cultural heritage that includes French, Danish, and Menominee Indian.