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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Healthy Cranberry Sauce

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Sweet and tangy healthy cranberry sauce made with no refined sugar, fresh cranberries, and a hint of orange will be the star of your holiday meal!

healthy cranberry sauce topped with orange zest served in a glass bowl

Cranberry sauce has always been my favorite part of any holiday meal. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of dessert!

It’s sweet, tangy, and made from fruit! Next to your holiday favorites, such as stuffing, and mashed potatoes, it brings the perfect hint of sweetness.

This vegan-friendly, healthy cranberry sauce also makes a yummy spread for next day leftovers, to enjoy on some crusty bread for breakfast or brunch.

Most cranberry sauces are filled with tons of sugar – one serving of pre-made / canned cranberry sauce can run up to 22 grams of sugar! But with a few simple swaps, you can have this classic holiday side dish for only 3-7 grams of sugar per serving!

Tools and Equipment

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

healthy cranberry sauce ingredients
  • Fresh Cranberries: Fresh or frozen whole cranberries are key to making a delightfully tart cranberry sauce. You’ll need a 12 oz bag. You can find this seasonally in the grocery store. They don’t usually become available until October. I tend to buy a few bags while they are in season and toss them in the freezer to use later in the year.
  • Coconut Sugar and Maple Syrup: Coconut sugar and maple syrup are used to add necessary sweetness to this vegan cranberry sauce. On their own, cranberries are too tart to enjoy. However, using natural unrefined sugars is a healthier way to sweeten your cranberry sauce.
  • Orange Juice: Cranberries and oranges are the perfect compliment. It also adds a touch more natural sweetness.

How to Make Healthy Cranberry Sauce – Step by Step

Step 1: Rinse off the cranberries in a colander and throw out any bad ones. Use a medium size sauce pan and pour in the orange juice, water, coconut sugar, and maple syrup.

orange juice simmering in a pot

Step 2: Add the cranberries to the pot. Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until the cranberries have split open and the sauce only has a few small lumps. This takes around 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently so they don’t burn to the pan. You can use a potato masher to get the consistency you want.

cranberries added to pot

Step 3: Sprinkle in orange zest to taste. Add in the all spice and stir.

cranberries cooked down and mashed in a pot

Step 4: Let the sauce cool for 30 minutes – 1 hour before serving.

healthy cranberry sauce topped with orange zest served in a glass bowl

What Makes This Cranberry Sauce Healthy?

  • Refined Sugar Free: While this recipe uses sugar to sweeten the cranberry sauce, the sugars are not refined. Maple syrup and coconut sugar are natural sweeteners. You can also cut the sugar as much as possible depending on your tastes! This recipe calls for 1/3 cup of coconut sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup. But you can start with 1/6 cup coconut sugar and 1/8 cup maple syrup and add more as needed (with these amounts, each serving of cranberry sauce will only have 3-4 grams!)
  • Rich in Vitamins and Nutrients: Cranberries are considered a superfood! They are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and calcium.
  • High in Antioxidants: Out of numerous common fruits and berries, cranberries are one of the highest in phenols, a type of antioxidant.

Will Kids Like This Healthy Cranberry Sauce?

This cranberry sauce is tart and sweet! It is my kids’ favorite part of any holiday meal. With a hint of orange juice, and zest, it has a nice balance of flavors, that kids enjoy!

healthy cranberry sauce spread on freshly baked bread

Recipe FAQS

Is canned cranberry sauce healthy?

Canned cranberry sauce is made with high fructose corn syrup. Thus, it is not the healthiest option to include in your feast. High fructose corn syrup is linked to numerous health complications, including increase risk of fatty liver disease, weight gain, and diabetes to name a few.

How do you get the tartness out of cranberry sauce?

Cranberries are extremely tart. Even with added sugar and sweetness you can still taste the tartness in the berries. In order to balance the tart flavor, it’s important to add natural sweetness in the form of maple syrup, agave syrup, coconut sugar, honey, or other natural sugars.

How Do You use Leftover Cranberry Sauce?

There are so many ways to use this low sugar cranberry sauce once Thanksgiving is over! Here are a few of my favorites:
1) Add it to your morning oatmeal or yogurt bowl
2) Mix it into smoothies
3) Use it like jam, spread it on toast with nut butter
4) Add it as a topping for pancakes or waffles (instead of syrup!)
5) Add it to a cheese plate as a condiment!

How To Store And Keep

Store leftover cranberry sauce in an air tight container. Keep refrigerated for up to 7 days. It will thicken and gel as it cools. You can also freeze cranberry sauce for up to 6 months.

Variation: How to Make Keto Cranberry Sauce

In order to make this a keto friendly cranberry sauce, sub the coconut sugar and maple syrup for a keto friendly sweetener. Here are a few of the most popular sweeteners to use.

  • Stevia
  • Powdered Monkfruit
  • Erythritol

Top Tips for Making Healthy Cranberry Sauce

  • The cranberries will spray as the pop from the heat. This is completely normal.
  • You can swap the allspice for cinnamon or nutmeg if you want.
  • Feel free to mix in any fall favorites at the end of cooking. Pecans, raisins, currants would all taste great.
  • The orange zest is optional, but gives it a tasty zesty flavor.
  • It’s fine to add more or less sugar depending on taste preferences.
  • Use a potato masher to get a chunky cranberry sauce. If you want a super smooth, pureed consistency, just use an immersion blender once the cranberries have finished cooking!
  • For a low sugar cranberry sauce, use half the sugar called for in the recipe to start, taste, and add more as needed.
  • I recommend making this vegan cranberry sauce the day before serving. It tastes even better once it has time to set!
  • This recipe makes 2.25 – 2.5 cups of healthy cranberry sauce; 1 serving is 2 tbsp of sauce.

Check Out These Other Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes!

healthy cranberry sauce spread on freshly baked bread

If you have tried this Healthy Cranberry Sauce recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

healthy cranberry sauce topped with orange zest served in a glass bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Healthy Cranberry Sauce

Sweet and tangy healthy cranberry sauce made with no refined sugar, fresh cranberries, and a hint of orange will be the star of your holiday meal!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Cooling Time1 hr
Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Servings: 18
Calories: 38.7kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 12oz bag fresh cranberries about 4 cups
  • cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup orange juice (prepared orfresh squeezed)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • Orange Zest from one orange

Instructions

  • Rinse off the cranberries in a colander and throw out any bad ones.
  • Use a medium size sauce pan and pour in the orange juice, water, coconut sugar, and maple syrup.
  • Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until the cranberries have split open and the sauce only has a few small lumps. This takes around 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently so they don’t burn to the pan.
  • Sprinkle in orange zest to taste. Add in the all spice and stir.
  • Let the sauce cool for 30 minutes – 1 hour before serving.

Video

https://youtu.be/OPBBToMralI

Notes

Top Tips for Making Healthy Cranberry Sauce
  • The cranberries will spray as the pop from the heat. This is completely normal.
  • You can swap the allspice for cinnamon or nutmeg if you want.
  • Feel free to mix in any fall favorites at the end of cooking. Pecans, raisins, currants would all taste great.
  • The orange zest is optional, but gives it a tasty zesty flavor.
  • It’s fine to add more or less sugar depending on taste preferences.
  • Use a potato masher to get a chunky cranberry sauce. If you want a super smooth, pureed consistency, just use an immersion blender once the cranberries have finished cooking!
  • For a low sugar cranberry sauce, use half the sugar called for in the recipe to start, taste, and add more as needed.
  • I recommend making this cranberry sauce the day before serving. It tastes even better once it has time to set!
  • Recipe makes 2.25 – 2.5 cups; 1 serving is 2 tbsp of sauce

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 38.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.9g | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7.8g

Posted In…

Appetizers ·

Appetizers are the perfect complement to my favorite entrees and dinner party menus. You can also make a small batch for a snack, or turn them into a complete meal.

6 responses to “Healthy Cranberry Sauce”

  1. We love cranberries and sometimes do not know what to make. Thanks for this great idea about cranberry sauce. It is the best option for me now. 🙂5 stars

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