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.
Now I have a whole list of re-invented, healthier recipes for the holidays, most of which call for real food ingredients, little prep, and a lot less sugar.
Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce
Most homemade cranberry sauce recipes call for a lot of sugar… enough that I’d classify cranberry sauce 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. I shouldn’t have worried, because unrefined natural sweeteners (honey) and delicious applesauce filled in the gaps.
This recipe still has more natural sugars than we normally eat, but is a much healthier option than the ones that actually contain refined sugar and is a delicious treat for Thanksgiving dinner.
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, also check out my healthy versions of green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, butternut squash soup, and root vegetable stuffing.
Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- 24 oz fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup pineapple juice or orange juice
- ½ cup no sugar added applesauce
- ½ cup water
- juice and zest of one orange
- 3-4 TBSP honey or to taste optional
- Put cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to medium heat and stir constantly until the cranberries start to explode (about 10-15 minutes).
- Reduce to a simmer and add the juice and zest to 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.
Do you eat cranberry sauce? What foods do you always have at Thanksgiving? Share below!
Discussion (75 Comments)
I just made my fires homemade cranberry sauce this week – the kind with sugar. I am thrilled to find this recipe because I am hooked and it is fabulous with a little bit stirred into homemade yogurt!
Is using organic a necessary concern or are cranberries generally considered safe?
Do you serve this cold like in a glass bowl?
How long would this keep for?
Also, how could you go about preserving it, if I made a bigger batch? 🙂
This recipe turned out well but I agree with other reviewers to add some cinnamon and nutmeg. Also it says this makes 8 servings but I’d say more like 16 at least. I had thanksgiving with 11 people and I didn’t even use half the quantity made.
Thanks for this recipe! I love that isn’t sweet.
I would try this with maple flavored agave nectar.
Agave nectar isn’t actually better for you, it has recently been called one of the bad sweeteners, something because it’s like all fructose, I can’t remember exactly but we have stopped using it here… Google it
Would it be possible to make this in a crock pot?
I just made this recipe and tweaked it here and there. I used a cup of 100% pineapple juice not from concentrate, 1/4 cup water, half cup of unsweetened apple sauce and juice and zest of one orange as in the original recipe. From there I added 4 tablespoons of coconut sugar, unrefined, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of salt. I do mean just a pinch. This cooked up really fast and thickened up beautifully. After my taste testers tried it, we decided to add just a touch more of orange flavor and sweetness with only 2 drops of orange flavored stevia. Its PERFECT for us. Being diabetic I am sensitive to any processed sugar. My blood sugar does spike with natural sugars like fruit but that only lasts hours instead of wreaking havoc on my system for days or even a week after eating processed refined sugar, which I call fake. I’d rather have a drop or two of stevia in the mix, and the coconut sugar is good for diabetics as well with no problems. Enjoy!
Thanks! Just what I was looking for!