Start by adding sugar and water to a medium sauce pot. Stir to combine, then place the pot over medium heat and allow it to come to a boil.
While waiting for the water and sugar to boil, rinse fresh cranberries. You can actually use either fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe. If using frozen, just allow them to thaw first.
Add the rinsed cranberries to the boiling sugar water. Place a lid on top and allow it to return to a boil.
When it begins to boil again the cranberries will begin to pop (that’s why you need a lid!). Once they have all popped, remove the lid, give it a good stir, and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Continue to let the cranberries simmer over medium-low until they have broken down (about 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally.
While the cranberries are simmering, zest and juice one small orange. You’ll need about 1 tsp zest and 1/2 cup juice.
Stir the juice into the cooked cranberry sauce. Remove the pot from the heat, then stir in the zest.
Stir everything together then let it cool slightly (it will thicken as it cools). Then it’s ready to serve! You can make this a day or two ahead of time if needed.