I’ve always thought that homemade versions of classic recipes taste much better than store bought versions, and cranberry sauce is a perfect example of this. Although I loved the canned jellied cranberry sauce that we always ate on Thanksgiving when I was young, after I tried making cranberry sauce from scratch one year, I was hooked.
Most homemade cranberry sauce recipes call for a lot of sugar… enough that I’d classify cranberry sauce as a dessert and not a side dish. For those who haven’t tried them, plain cranberries are very tart, so I wasn’t sure how much it would be possible to reduce the sugar and still have an enjoyable sauce, but unrefined natural sweeteners (honey) and delicious fruits filled in the gaps.
This recipe still has more natural sugars than we normally eat, but is a much healthier option to the ones that actually contain refined sugar and is a delicious treat for Thanksgiving dinner.
You can also download and print my entire Thanksgiving menu and shopping list here if you are cooking this year and want an easier solution.
- 2 bags of fresh cranberries (they are usually 12 ounce bags, so about 24 ounces)
- ¾ cup pineapple juice or orange juice (I recommend pineapple!)
- ½ cup of applesauce (no sugar added)
- ½ cup of water
- juice and zest of one orange
- 3-4 Tablespoons of honey or to taste (optional)
- Put cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce and water in a sauce pan and and bring to a boil.
- Keep on medium heat, stirring constantly until the cranberries start to explode (about 10-15 minutes).
- Reduce to a simmer and pour the juice and zest over the cranberry mixture.
- Simmer 10-15 minutes and remove from heat.
- Cool completely and store in fridge at least 4 hours but preferably overnight before serving.
- NOTE: This is not as sweet as store versions! Taste at the end of cooking. It is naturally sweet from the fruit juice and applesauce but you can add more honey or stevia to taste if needed.
Do you eat cranberry sauce? What foods do you always have at Thanksgiving? Share below!