wash cranberries under running cold water in a sieve. Place berries in a 2 quart microwave-safe bowl or batter bowl. Add sugar and orange zest, mix lightly.
Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High for about 7 minutes. Carefully remove plastic wrap (watch out for steam) and stir, breaking berries as you stir. For “whole” cranberry sauce, pour mixture into mold or dish.
For “smooth” cranberry sauce, pour mixture into a sieve over a bowl and press mixture through with a spoon, scraping outside of sieve occasionally. Discard berry skins. Pour strained mixture into mold or bowl.
Cool, then refrigerate until ready to use. The natural pectin will cause the mixture to gel.