This Cranberry pie is so easy to make! The pie filling is tart yet sweet, and flavored with fresh orange, vanilla, and brown sugar. Top of this delicious pie with a whole lot of whipped cream and your whole family will love this easy Thanksgiving dessert.
Cranberries are such an underrated fall baking ingredient! Instead of just using them as a condiment on your Thanksgiving table, they can be made into so many delicious desserts. For example these cranberry cheesecake bars, or these melt in your mouth cranberry shortbread cookies.
As a trained pastry chef I love to play around with the sweet and tart flavors of cranberries to come up with new desserts like this easy cranberry pie.
It’s flavored with orange juice, orange zest, and some brown sugar for sweetness that really balances out the tart flavor of the cranberries. Top if with some festive pie decorations and a lot of whipped cream and you have a fabulous Thanksgiving dessert!
You can easily make this pie with store bought pie crusts, or you can make your own using this flaky pie crust recipe too! Either way you cant go wrong!
Why you should make this pie
- Cranberries are an underrated fall baking ingredient that are easy to bake with.
- It makes a wonderful holiday or Thanksgiving easy dessert.
- You can make it with either homemade or store bought crusts.
- 2 Pie Crusts– These can be either store bought or homemade.
- All purpose flour- You’ll need a bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking if you are rolling out decorations.
- Cranberries- You can use fresh or frozen cranberries here.
- Fresh Orange– You’ll need orange zest and a bit of juice.
- Vanilla extract– Vanilla extract helps with the flavor.
- Brown sugar– Brown sugar counteracts the tartness of the cranberries.
- Corn starch– Corn starch act as a thickener for the pie filling.
How to make an easy cranberry pie
Make the crust- You’ll need two crusts for this recipe if you want to decorate the top of the pie. Make the crusts or use store bought. You can make this flaky pie crust that can be made dairy free too! Use the store bought pie in the pan or line a pie plate with your pie crust and trim the edges. Set aside.
Make the cranberry pie filling– Combine the cranberries, orange zest, vanilla extract, and brown sugar in a medium size pot over medium high heat. In a small bowl combine the orange juice with the corn starch and mix until the corn starch is dissolved.
Bring to a boil- Add the corn starch and orange juice mixture to the pot, bring the cranberries to a boil for 1 minute. Lower to a simmer, mix, and cook until the cranberries release their juices, about 5-7 minutes. You can mash them up as small as you like or leave plump. If you like the filling smooth, use an immersion blender to blend it up. Cool.
Fill the pie- When the filling is cool, fill the pie crust with the cranberry orange mixture. Using the second pie crust make the pie crust decorations.
Bake- Brush the pie dough decorations with a little bit of a beaten egg. This ensures that the crust comes out all nice and shiny. Bake the pie for 20-25 minutes on 350° F until the crust is golden brown.
How to make pie decorations:
- Use cookie cutters to make shapes in the pie crust and add it as a border
- Roll out the dough into thin strips to make braids
- Make a lattice crust from this caramel apple pie
- Completely cover the top and crimp the edges. Just make sure to cut some slits so steam can escape!
How to serve:
The best part about this pie is that it can be served warm, at room temperature or even cold. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and extra crunchy turbinado sugar to garnish.
Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days if it will last that long!
Storage and freezing:
Storing: Store this pie in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can make the filling 2 days ahead of time and hten bake on the day you want to serve.
Freezing- I don’t recommend freezing the pie because the filling can turn runny.
This cranberry pie feeds about 12 but if you want it to feed a crowd you can double it and make it in a 9×13 pan.
Tips for recipe success:
- To prevent a soggy bottom crust, dust the bottom of your pie plate with a mixture of 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp flour. Place the pie crust on top.
- If the pie crust starts to burn, line the rim of the pie plate with tin foil and place back in the oven. An easy way to do this is to cut a large piece of tin foil and place the entire pie over it, then curl up the foil around the edges.
- To make a thinner and smooth filling, use an immersion blender to blend the cranberries while they are cooling in the pot.
- If you see the edges of the pie or the decorations starting to burn, cover loosely with tin foil.
Why do I need to use corn starch?
Corn starch combined with liquid helps to thicken pies and sauces. It is tricky though because it cannot be directly added to hot dishes, rather you need to mix it with a cold liquid first to dissolve then add it to the pie filling to activate the thickening.
Can I use canned cranberry sauce instead?
I haven’t tried it but I don’t see why not!
Want more Thanksgiving recipes? Check these out:
- Flaky pie crust recipe
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie
- Apple Pie Bars
- Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Bars with Chocolate Chunks
- Apple Bundt Cake
Easy Sweet and Tart Cranberry Pie
- 2 pie crusts store bought or homemade
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour for rolling dough
- 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries about 3 cups
- 2 tsp orange zest half a large orange
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice or bottled
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 egg beaten
- Turbinado sugar optional
- whipped cream optional
- Preheat your oven to 350° F and prepare one pie crust in a pie pan or defrost a store bought one from the freezer for 15 minutes. Trim the edges if you need to, about 1" over the pie plate
- Add the 12 oz cranberries, 2 tsp orange zest, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup brown sugar into a a medium sized pot over medium high heat and stir.
- In a small bowl combine the 2 tbsp orange juice and 1 tsp cornstarch and mix well until the cornstarch dissolves completely and the mixture has a cloudy look to it.
- Add the corn starch mixture to the cranberries. Bring the cranberries to a boil for 1 minute then lower to a simmer and cook until the cranberries release their juices, about 5-7 minutes. You can mash them up or leave them more plump. If you like them super smooth, blend it with an immersion blender. Cool.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust. Decorate with the other pie crust (see post for ideas) or lay the second pie crust over the filling, securing pinching the edges together. Cut 3 small slits in the middle to let steam out if covering fully.
- Brush the dough decorations and edges of pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake 20-25 minutes on lowest oven rack.
- Cool and serve with whipped cream!