Cranberry Sauce with Jalapeño

This Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce is a spicy variation on your classic cranberry sauce. With just four ingredients and 15 minutes of time, you can light up Thanksgiving dinner with this easy cranberry sauce.

Read on to learn all about tips and tricks for this recipe. Or just grab your bag of cranberries, hit that Jump to Recipe button, and let’s make a cranberry sauce with jalapeño pepper!

small bowl of cranberry sauce with a jalapeno and fresh cranberries.


frozen cranberries spilling out of bag, jalapeño, orange, and measuring cup of brown sugar.

This super easy jalapeño cranberry sauce has just four ingredients: cranberries, jalapeño, brown sugar, and orange zest and juice.


Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • Swap out the brown sugar for another sweetener. Taste testers really liked the flavor with maple syrup, especially a smoked version.
  • Use a spicier chili pepper than a jalapeño. You can read all about different chili peppers and their Scoville heat units in this spicy margarita post.

Recipe tips and tricks

In this recipe, the spiciness of the jalapeño is infused into the cranberry sauce just as it infuses into the liquor in my spicy skinny margarita or spicy raspberry Bramble. This means that you are in control of how spicy you make your cranberry sauce based on what chili pepper and how much of it you use and how long you let it soak into your cranberry sauce.

Step 1: Slice the jalapeño in half or quarters and cut away the ribs and seeds. Don’t chop it any more than this or it will be challenging to remove the jalapeño pieces from the sauce.

Tip from the wise quacker: wear a kitchen glove or hold the jalapeño pepper using a plastic bag to avoid getting chili oil on your hand. And be careful not to touch your eyes or other sensitive bits until after you’ve washed your hands!

You can read more about how to treat your eyes if you get chili oil in them (and also about lime juice sunburns) in this piece: Surprising hazards in the kitchen.

Put all of the ingredients into a medium-sized sauce pan and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.

fresh cranberries and slices of jalapeño in a pan.

Cook on medium-low until the cranberries burst and the liquid has thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

cooked cranberry sauce with jalapeño in a pan.

Taste your cranberry sauce to decide if it’s spicy enough. If it is, remove the jalapeño slices. If not, you can leave them in for as long as you like.

Let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature and then refrigerate in an air-tight container until you are ready to serve it. You can puree the jalapeño cranberry sauce in a blender if you prefer it smooth. Just be sure to remove the jalapeño first.

small bowl of cranberry  jalapeño sauce with cranberries and  jalapeño next to it.

Recipe FAQs

How should I store this cranberry sauce?

This Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce can be made up to five days ahead. Just keep it in an air-tight container in your refrigerator.

What else can I do with this jalapeño cranberry sauce?

Add some cream cheese to it and eat it as a dip or spread on your favorite sandwich. Personally, I’m really looking forward to making jalapeño cranberry meatballs with mine!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.


Cranberry Sauce with Jalapeño

5 from 2 votes
Category: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 72kcal
This recipe makes a delicious and easy Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce in just 15 minutes and with just four ingredients: fresh cranberries, jalapeno, orange, and brown sugar. The slightly smoky flavor is the perfect accompaniment to turkey dinner or cast iron pan-roasted chicken breasts.
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  • 12 ounces cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 1 jalapeño halved or quartered, ribs and seeds discarded
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 medium orange or 2 small oranges


  • Add the cranberries, jalapeño, sugar, and orange zest and juice to a small pot. Add a bit of water just to cover the bottom of the pot.
    12 ounces cranberries, ½ cup brown sugar, zest and juice of 1 medium orange or 2 small oranges, 1 jalapeño
  • Cook over medium-low heat until the berries have burst and the liquid has thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cranberry sauce from the heat and taste. If it is sufficiently spicy, remove the chili pepper strips. Otherwise leave in and let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature.
  • Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to serve.


This recipe will make about one cup of jalapeño cranberry sauce.
You can make this cranberry sauce spicier by using a hotter chili pepper like a habanero.
Feel free to puree your cranberry sauce if you prefer. Be sure to remove the jalapeño first.


Calories: 72kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 57IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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  1. 5 stars
    Came across your site while looking for baking ratios. Really enjoying what I see and can’t wait to try many of these recipes! I have an excess of sumac at the moment so especially appreciate the sumac sauce recipe 😀 . This recipe looks delishous as well. Cheers from Colorado.

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