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Looking for a simple and yet somewhat healthy Cranberry Sauce that you can make this holiday season? This is the recipe that we have been enjoying for several years. It only needs 3 simple ingredients to make one delicious sauce.
The Easiest Healthy Cranberry Sauce
I can hardly believe that it’s been a year and a half since I stopped eating any processed sugars besides maple syrup and honey (and even those in moderation). I went from being quite sugar-obsessed to thinking that even a handful of dates is much too sweet. It’s also opened my eyes to so many new tastes and flavors that I may not have enjoyed before. In other words, it’s been a good thing!
When it came to holiday dishes and treats, I wondered how this no-sugar thing was going to work, but it turns out that it’s really not as difficult as I made it out to be. Like with this healthy Cranberry Sauce….only 3 ingredients? So easy! Even if you don’t need to be sugar-free or aren’t even looking for a healthy Cranberry Sauce, you should make this one because it’s so easy to make!
This is one of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and we think it makes the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. Keep reading for the recipe!
I made this last Thanksgiving and will make it this year. It is great on oatmeal. Thanks for the recipe.Charlotte, Little House Living reader
If you want to make cranberry sauce to enjoy later, you can preserve it by canning it. Just bring your cranberry sauce to boil after the cranberries finish popping. Pour the hot sauce into pint jars, place the lids and rims on, and hot water bath in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Cranberries are a wonderfully healthy little berry! They can help to prevent UTIs, improve your digestion because they contain a good amount of fiber, help reduce the number of bacteria that can stick in your mouth, which can help prevent gum disease, and they can help boost your immune system because they contain a great amount of vitamin C.
Yes! If you have my book, Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life, you can replace half of the milk in one muffin recipe with 1/2 cup of the cranberry sauce for some yummy Cranberry Muffins.
If you don’t have or don’t want to use maple syrup in this recipe, you could also substitute honey or coconut sugar. You might even be able to use applesauce, although I’m not quite sure how much you would need to add, so that would be up to your taste buds.
Fresh cranberry sauce can last for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also freeze cranberry sauce if you don’t think you can use it all before it goes bad.
Normally, about 1/4 – 1/2 cup cranberry sauce is consumed per person at a meal. This recipe will make enough to serve about 8-10 people. You will want to double it if you are planning on serving more.
Tip: Love anything cranberry? Here’s a yummy treat recipe for Cranberry Pecan Pinwheel Cookies.
How to Serve Healthy Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Sauce is typically served as part of a holiday meal such as Thanksgiving or Christmas (in the United States), but there are several dishes that pair nicely with healthy Cranberry Sauce, such as:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Corn Muffins
- Sweet Potatoes or Sweet Potato Casserole
- Green Beans
Typically, anything that wouldn’t be overpowering may taste good served with or alongside Cranberry Sauce. It’s also good when mixed into homemade baked goods like the Cranberry Muffins that I mentioned above.
I love cranberry sauce.. I decided to make your with no sugar; just using maple syrup.. It will be our favorite from now on! The maple syrup gives the cranberry’s just enough sweetness!Lynette, Little House Living reader
How to Use Cranberry Sauce Leftovers
If you don’t want to can it or freeze it, as I mentioned above, there are some other ways that you can use up your Cranberry Sauce leftovers if it doesn’t all get eaten during the meal:
- Use it in a grilled sandwich with some mozzarella cheese and leftover turkey.
- Add it to a Muffin Mix.
- Use it in place of the jam layer in Oatmeal Bars. (Recipe for these in my Frugal Gluten Free Ebook.)
- Serve as a topping for waffles or pancakes.
- Layer over yogurt with granola.
- Use it like jam on toast.
- Dip Homemade Crackers into it.
- As mentioned above, add it into oatmeal or yogurt.
Tip: Another delicious recipe to make with cranberries is Cranberry Orange Quick Bread.
Instead of juice I add and an entire chopped navel orange (i removing any seeds and tough white stem end) and a little less of the syrup (but we are diabetic so our taste buds are already adjusted to requiring less to make something sweet to our tastes)
I always make a double batch just to use it later in muffinsKaren, Little House Living reader
Ingredients in Healthy Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberries. These should be fresh. This entire dish will taste amazing when you use fresh berries!
- Orange Juice. You can use fresh squeezed orange juice if you have some or have some stored in the freezer, or you can use boughten orange juice.
- Maple Syrup. This is the only sweetener you need in this recipe. You may be able to use honey or another sweetener but I haven’t tried anything but maple syrup.
If you like some spices in your cranberry sauce, you might also want to consider adding vanilla extract, a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon cloves, or other warming spices to the mixture. I haven’t done this because we like ours plain but it’s always an option if you think your family would prefer that.
Just made homemade cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. Bought more and want to make the above recipe with the addition of orange zest from one organic orange.Pamela, Little House Living reader
Step By Step Instructions for How to Make Healthy Cranberry Sauce
Begin by rinsing off your fresh cranberries. While I was making this recipe to take pictures, I made a double batch (I was serving 16 people), so these pictures will show more than what a single batch will make.
When choosing fresh cranberries to buy, make sure to pick berries that are firm. The soft or mushy berries have already started to go bad and will not taste good in your cranberry sauce.
You might be able to use frozen cranberries, but I’ve only used fresh in this recipe.
Place the cranberries in a medium saucepan and turn on a low heat. Add in the orange juice. If you don’t have any from the store, you can always fresh orange juice from freshly squeezed oranges. As an added bonus, their juice shouldn’t be quite as tart, so you may be able to add less maple syrup.
Add in the maple syrup. Stir everything together and let it continue to sit on your stovetop at low heat while the cranberries begin popping or they begin to burst.
I will admit this is my favorite part of cooking cranberries. The little popping noises that they make while they are heating up!
Continue to simmer your cranberry sauce, stirring on occasion, until all of the cranberries have finished popping and the sauce begins to thicken. Cook it until you have the consistency you are looking for. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes total.
Remove the healthy Cranberry Sauce from the heat and pour into a heat-safe bowl. Be sure to taste it. Add a bit more maple syrup if it’s too tart for your family.
The bowls I use are part of the limited edition Amish Vintage Charm Pyrex Bowls. They are so cute, and they have lids, so they are perfect for serving and for storage! This healthy Cranberry Sauce is best when served at room temperature, but store it in the fridge when your family isn’t enjoying it.
Yummy! With just 3 simple ingredients, you can make a delicious sauce to grace your table during the holiday season or any time of year!
Be sure to stock up on fresh cranberries while they are on sale, wash, and freeze them to use to make sauces and other tasty foods any time of year.
I made this for Thanksgiving and it was sooo good!! I will make again for Christmas. Thanks for the good recipe!Susan, Little House Living reader
Need the printable version of this healthy Cranberry Sauce? Get it below!
The Easiest Healthy Cranberry Sauce
How to make a super simple 3 ingredient cranberry sauce.
- 12 ounces Fresh Cranberries
- 1/2 cup Orange Juice
- 3/4 cup Maple Syrup
Begin by rinsing off your fresh cranberries. While I was making this recipe to take pictures, I made a double batch (I was serving 16 people) so these pictures will show more than what a single batch will make.
Place the cranberries in a medium-sized saucepan and turn on a low heat. Add in the orange juice. If you don’t have any from the store, you can always use freshly squeezed oranges. As an added bonus, their juice shouldn’t be quite as tart so you may be able to add less maple syrup.
Add in the maple syrup. Stir everything together and let it continue to sit on your stovetop at a low heat while the cranberries begin popping.
Continue to cook your cranberry sauce, stirring on occasion until all of the cranberries have finished popping and the sauce begins to thicken. Cook it until you have the consistency you are looking for. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes total.
Remove the healthy Cranberry Sauce from the heat and pour into a heat safe bowl.
Be sure and taste it. If it’s too tart for your family, add a bit more maple syrup. This healthy Cranberry Sauce is best when served at room temperature but store it in the fridge when your family isn’t enjoying it.
More Holiday Recipes
- My Famous Homemade Stuffing
- Eggless Pumpkin Pie
- Crustless Pumpkin Pie
- Chicken Broth Gravy
- Easy Pumpkin Cookies
Cranberry sauce is so quick and simple to make. I hope that you and your family will enjoy this recipe for many years to come.
Do you make cranberry sauce for the holidays? Would you try this healthy Cranberry Sauce?
Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple and frugal life on Little House Living since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to freedom on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.
This Healthy Cranberry Sauce Recipe was originally posted on Little House Living in December 2018. It has been updated as of November 2023.