Cranberry Relish with Horseradish and Sour Cream

cranberry relish in a small glass jar

Cranberry Relish with Horseradish and Sour Cream is an adaptation of a 1959 Craig Claiborne recipe made famous as Mama Stamberg’s cranberry relish on NPR’s All Things Considered. It’s a fabulously unique fresh cranberry sauce you need on your Thanksgiving table this year!

cranberry relish in small jars with spreading knife

This easy cranberry relish is my favorite kind of recipe to share with you ~ unusual, colorful, super easy, and insanely delicious.

If this looks odd, I understand, so let me explain…the cast of characters might sound odd to you at first, but reserve judgement, this creamy spread will transform your holidays, guaranteed.

My relish is an adaptation of a relish that originated with a 1959 recipe from Craig Claiborne of the New York Times, and became well known through Susan Stamberg of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, who’s mother-in-law used to make it every Thanksgiving. It’s that kind of recipe…once you taste it you’ll be telling everybody you know about it.

easy cranberry horseradish relish in small glass jars

This gorgeous pink sauce will command attention on your holiday tables, but be sure to stash a jar in the fridge for those leftovers, this stuff is awesome on turkey or roast beef sandwiches.

The jars I use in these photos are from a German company called Weck, and they make canning jars of all shapes and sizes that can be used for everything from storage to gifting as well.

Cranberry relish with horseradish and sour cream in small jars, with empty mixing bowl

You’re probably used to cooking your cranberries for cranberry sauce or jelly, but in this recipe the berries are used raw. Don’t be afraid of raw cranberries ~ this way you can really experience the vivid taste of the fruit. The tartness is balanced by the rest of ingredients in this relish.

cranberry relish with horseradish and sour cream in small jars

Ingredients for cranberry relish with horseradish and sour cream

These are the ingredients for the relish, but the secret is in how you combine them…not too much sugar, and plenty of horseradish! Note, all the ingredients are raw.

  • cranberries, you can use fresh or frozen
  • onion
  • sour cream
  • prepared horseradish or horseradish cream (I love Stonewall Kitchen’s Horseradish Cream)
  • sugar
  • salt

making cranberry relish in a food processor

Mixing up cranberry relish in a glass bowl

What’s fun about this relish, aside from its incredibly bombastic flavor, is its stunning color.

You’ll start with a dark mash of cranberries and as you begin to stir in the sour cream you’ll see it slowly transform into a glowing pink. Taste it and adjust the flavor until it’s just the way you like it.

Love the stunning color of cranberries? Check out my show stopping Cranberry Gingersnap Pie, or my Microwave Cranberry Curd!

cranberry horseradish relish in a glass bowl with spoon

make this cranberry relish your own ~

use fresh horseradish

  • if you can find it, fresh horseradish packs quite a kick. Finely grate it, and use a little at first and taste as you go, it’s potent.

use frozen cranberries

  • no need to thaw, use them straight from frozen.

make it lower fat and calorie

  • use a good thick Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream.

make it low carb and keto

  • plain cranberries are low in sugar and carbs.
  • use the alternative sweetener of your choice, to taste.

make it dairy free and vegan

  • use a non-dairy sour cream in place of regular sour cream.
cranberry relish with horseradish and sour cream with turkey sandwich

How to use cranberry relish ~

Can you freeze this cranberry relish?

  • Unfortunately sour cream doesn’t freeze well, so I don’t recommend it, but luckily this recipe is a snap to make, so just keep cranberries in your freezer and you’ll be good to go.
cranberry relish in a small glass jar
4.3 from 20 votes

Cranberry Relish with Horseradish and Sour Cream

Cranberry Relish with Horseradish and Sour Cream, a cranberry sauce upgrade for holiday meals and leftover turkey sandiches ~ it's seriously delish!
Course sauce, condiment
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Yield 2 cups
Author Sue Moran


  • food processor


  • 2 cups whole cranberries (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp prepared horseradish or horseradish cream, or more to taste.


  • Pulse the cranberries and onions in a food processor until finely ground. Watch carefully because you don't want to create a puree, you want some texture remaining.
  • Stir in the sour cream, sugar, salt, and horseradish. Taste to adjust any of these ingredients.
  • Store your relish in an airtight container in the fridge and plan to use within 10 days.

Cook's notes

Recipe adapted from Susan Stamberg on NPR
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

cranberry relish pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Cheer B Kosak
    November 18, 2021 at 3:40 am

    Can’t wait to make this. Your site and recipes are NEXT level as always! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      November 18, 2021 at 7:22 am

      It’s unique and yummy Cheer, thanks!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    I can’t wait to try this!!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    5 stars
    My ex boyfriend and his family made this for the holidays. They used to listen to “All Things Considered” so now I know how they started this delicious tradition. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    Lisa Riegel
    November 30, 2019 at 10:58 am

    5 stars
    I just made this recipe for the Cranberry Spread to have with leftover turkey for sandwiches. So simple to make, and it is unbelievably good! I did put less horseradish in my batch, as no one in my family likes horseradish as much as I do, but this will be a new tradition in my home. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!!

  • Reply
    Glenn LoSasso
    November 19, 2019 at 6:01 am

    I’ve been looking for a relish and this looks really good. How much does the raw onion shine through in the dish? I have a couple of diners who are onion adverse, it drives me crazy but I love them none the less.

    • Reply
      November 19, 2019 at 6:29 am

      Well, I can’t say that I really taste onion, as such, but I think you could do without it and not miss much, as long as you use the horseradish.

  • Reply
    patti j
    November 15, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    This is with uncooked cranberries? Never tried. Well, just the dried fruit type. Luv cranberries. I’m gonna try this. I’ve got 2 bags waiting so I’ll try this first then decide what to do with the other bag! Never seen before but seems like would make a great sandwich dressing. And good with turkey ruebens too!

    • Reply
      November 15, 2019 at 7:48 pm

      Yes, the cranberries are uncooked, I think you’ll love the result when you try it Patti. And YES to the turkey rueben!

  • Reply
    Lori Kostecki
    November 13, 2019 at 11:43 am

    What an intriguing recipe! I’ve been looking for a fresh idea for Thanksgiving dinner as well as those delicious midnight turkey sandwiches after the company has gone home. Looking forward to trying this out on my cranberry-loving family!

    • Reply
      November 13, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      This was made for you Lori!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2019 at 7:42 am

    5 stars
    This is a delicious recipe! Good with beef as well as turkey! I remember my mother working in the kitchen, listening to Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered. And I have her hand written recipe of “Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish”!??

    • Reply
      November 13, 2019 at 7:44 am

      How funny! I’d never heard of it, but now we’re going to be making it every year from here on 🙂

  • Reply
    November 13, 2019 at 7:11 am

    5 stars
    I have been making this recipe for YEARS and it is FANTASTIC. I bring it to parties (in addition to serving in our home) and if you like horseradish, onions, and sour creme – you will LOVE this. Everyone does! I usually add a lot MORE horseradish … it’s the perfect foil to turkey. And it comes together quickly as you chop the onions in a food processor and then add the cranberries – – whirl a few pulses – -dump into a bowl, and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Done. (and let it sit at least 1 hour for the flavors to meld.)

    This also freezes well.

    Yes, at first look, the pink “pepto bismol” color may not look appetizing but it’s truly excellent. Highly recommended!

    • Reply
      November 13, 2019 at 7:45 am

      LOL the pepto bismol color is what attracted me in the first place 🙂

  • Reply
    Amma Lee
    November 13, 2019 at 6:57 am

    No food processor here. How did the original recipe say to do it? Lots of fine chopping??

    • Reply
      November 13, 2019 at 7:07 am

      Great question, and I don’t know. Good knife skills, I guess, or maybe a meat grinder type appliance. The issue is you want to finely cut, not mash, the berries. I highly recommend getting even one of the small food processors, they’re so worth the money, and you can do most jobs in them.

      • Reply
        Ken Losey
        November 24, 2021 at 12:35 am

        4 stars
        As anyone who listens to NPR around Thanksgiving knows, Susan Stamberg uses a meat grinder. Since my mother was from Susan’s generation and both she and my grandmother considered a hand-cranked meat grinder an absolutely essential kitchen tool, I assume Susan’s mother-in-law “Mama Stamberg” used one also for this recipe. As Susan puts it, the key is to “keep the pieces chunky” if you use a food processor. As an NPR purist who has adopted Susan’s version, however, I must point out she does NOT use salt. Sorry, Sue, that cost you a star but anyone who spreads this recipe has my thanks.

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