Zehnder's Cranberry Relish Recipe

Discover the secret to Zehnder's Cranberry Relish perfection! Our easy recipe brings sweet, tart, and nutty flavors together for a culinary masterpiece.

Zehnder's Cranberry Relish

    Zehnder's Cranberry Relish

  • Cuisine: American
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: 200 calories

About Ingredients Instructions Video Servings Tips Substitutes

Zehnder's cranberry relish is a timeless and beloved recipe that has become a signature dish at Zehnder's of Frankenmuth, a renowned restaurant in Michigan. This delightful relish perfectly balances the tartness of fresh cranberries with the sweetness of sugar, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that complements a variety of dishes.

The preparation of Zehnder's cranberry relish is a straightforward yet artful process. Fresh cranberries are simmered in a sugar-water mixture until they burst, creating a luscious base. The addition of grated apple provides a pleasant texture, while the zing from both orange zest and juice elevates the overall taste profile. Chopped walnuts add a satisfying crunch, making each bite a symphony of textures and flavors.

This cranberry relish not only serves as a delightful side dish but also as a testament to the culinary expertise of Zehnder's. Whether paired with roasted turkey during holiday feasts or as a condiment for everyday meals, this recipe has stood the test of time, earning its place as a cherished tradition among patrons.

Zehnder's cranberry relish reflects the commitment to quality and taste that defines the restaurant's culinary legacy. It's a testament to how a simple yet well-crafted dish can leave a lasting impression, becoming a staple on tables and a topic of conversation among those who have had the pleasure of savoring its deliciousness.


Unlock the magic of Zehnder's Cranberry Relish! Elevate your meals with our tantalizing recipe—bursting with fresh flavors and culinary finesse. Let's dive in!


  • 1 lb fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium orange (zested and juiced)
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Method Instructions

  1. Rinse the cranberries and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring it to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the fresh cranberries to the boiling sugar-water mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens.
  4. Remove from heat, and let it cool for a few minutes.
  5. Stir in the grated apple, orange zest, and orange juice.
  6. Once the mixture is completely cooled, fold in the chopped walnuts.
  7. Refrigerate the cranberry relish for at least a couple of hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

Enjoy this tangy and sweet cranberry relish with your favorite dishes! It's a staple at Zehnder's and brings a burst of flavor to the table.

Recipe Video

Zehnder's Cranberry Relish

This is a video about Zehnder's Cranberry Relish.

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 75 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Zehnder's Cranberry Relish, Zehnder's Cranberry Relish Recipe, Recipe


Zehnder's cranberry relish is a versatile and delightful accompaniment that can enhance various dishes. Here are some ways to serve it:

  • Thanksgiving Feast: Serve the cranberry relish alongside traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Its sweet and tart flavors complement the savory notes of roasted turkey, adding a burst of freshness to each bite.
  • Holiday Spread: Include the relish as part of a festive holiday spread. It pairs well with roasted meats, ham, or even as a condiment for sandwiches.
  • Cheese and Charcuterie Board: Elevate your cheese and charcuterie board by adding a dollop of cranberry relish. The contrast of flavors adds a dynamic element to the assortment of cheeses and cured meats.
  • Pork or Chicken Dish: Use the cranberry relish as a side for grilled or roasted pork chops or chicken. Its fruity and nutty profile complements the savory nature of these meats.
  • Sandwiches: Spread the cranberry relish on sandwiches for a burst of flavor. It works well with both cold and hot sandwiches, providing a sweet and tangy kick.
  • Salad Dressing: Mix a spoonful of cranberry relish into vinaigrette to create a unique and flavorful salad dressing. It adds a distinctive twist to green salads.
  • Appetizer Topping: Serve the relish as a topping for appetizers like brie or goat cheese crostini. The combination of creamy cheese and the cranberry relish creates a delightful bite-sized treat.


  1. Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh cranberries for the best flavor and texture. Ensure the apple and orange are also fresh for optimal taste.
  2. Consistent Size: When grating the apple, aim for a fine, consistent texture. This ensures that the apple blends seamlessly into the relish, contributing to its overall appeal.
  3. Chop Walnuts Thoughtfully: Chop the walnuts into small, uniform pieces. This provides a pleasant crunch without overpowering the other textures in the relish.
  4. Adjust Sugar to Taste: Taste the relish as you go and adjust the sugar level according to your preference. Some may prefer a sweeter relish, while others may enjoy a more pronounced tartness.
  5. Chill Before Serving: Allow the cranberry relish to chill in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours before serving. This enhances the flavors and allows the relish to set, making it easier to serve.
  6. Customize Flavors: Feel free to customize the recipe to your liking. You can experiment with additional spices like cinnamon or a splash of cranberry liqueur to add depth to the flavor profile.
  7. Make Ahead: Zehnder's cranberry relish can be made a day or two in advance, making it a convenient dish for holiday preparations. Store it in the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before serving.
  8. Pairing Suggestions: Consider the dishes you'll be serving alongside the cranberry relish. It pairs exceptionally well with poultry, pork, and cheese, so plan your menu accordingly.
  9. Serve in Style: Present the cranberry relish in an attractive bowl or dish to elevate the visual appeal. A well-presented dish enhances the overall dining experience.

Ingredient Substitutes

While it's recommended to stick to the original recipe for Zehnder's Cranberry Relish, you can experiment with substitutes based on dietary preferences or ingredient availability:

  1. Sweeteners: If you prefer a natural sweetener, consider using honey or maple syrup instead of granulated sugar. Adjust quantities to taste.
  2. Nuts: Swap walnuts with pecans or almonds for a different nutty flavor. Ensure they are finely chopped for a consistent texture.
  3. Fruits: Experiment with different apples for varied sweetness levels. You can also try adding other fruits like pears or even dried fruits like raisins for a unique twist.
  4. Citrus: If oranges are unavailable, try using tangerines or clementines. Lemon zest and juice can be used as an alternative for a more citrusy kick.
  5. Spices: Introduce warm spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for added complexity. Start with a small amount and adjust to your taste preference.


As you savor Zehnder's Cranberry Relish, embrace the joy of homemade goodness. May each bite be a reminder of shared moments and culinary delight. Happy cooking!

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