This Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe has only 7 ingredients and NO refined sugar! Using apple cider and orange juice gives it a rich & spicy yet bright and citrusy flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious! Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free & paleo-friendly!

Hello and welcome to another installment of Homemade Holidays here at JoyFoodSunshine! Today I’m sharing a healthier makeover of one of our family’s must-have holiday side dishes…Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce!

I already have a homemade cranberry sauce recipe on this site, which I have made more times than I can count!  But that one has quite a bit of sugar and while it’ll always have a special place in my heart, this year I set out to make a healthier version! And oh momma let me tell you this Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce might be even better than our old family favorite!

This Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe has only 7 ingredients and NO refined sugar! Using apple cider and orange juice gives it a rich & spicy yet bright and citrusy flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious! Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free & paleo-friendly!

Now you might be a bit skeptical and wonder, does it really taste as good as it’s sugar-laden counterpart? I can honestly say YES! And do you know how I know? I used my husband as a pawn in my recipe testing experimentation {without his knowledge}!

I made this recipe and casually told my husband, “Hey babe, there’s homemade cranberry sauce in the fridge.” He immediately grabbed a spoon and dove right in {because it’s one of his favorites}. I silently waited for his response…which was, “Your homemade sauce is the best! It’s so good!”

Jackpot. He had no idea that I had switched up the recipe and actually made this Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce! Since it passed the “Ritch test” with flying colors, I knew I had to share it with all of you!

This Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe has only 7 ingredients and NO refined sugar! Using apple cider and orange juice gives it a rich & spicy yet bright and citrusy flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious! Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free & paleo-friendly!

Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce: Substitutions

This recipe is actually fairly versatile, especially considering that it’s made with only 7 ingredients! Here are a few possible substitutions:

Apple Cider: Unsweetened apple juice can be used to ensure there is no added sugar and that the recipe is 100% paleo! I suggest adding a pinch of a few other spices if you opt not to use apple cider {think nutmeg and cloves}. This will compensate for the absence of spices in regular apple juice!

Orange Juice. This recipe needs a total of 1 cup of liquid. So your options are to make the recipe as written, or tweak the amounts of apple cider and orange juice to your liking. You can even omit the orange juice all together and just use apple cider! However, I love the bright, citrusy flavor it imparts in this recipe! Another option is to omit the apple cider and use 1 cup of orange juice. However you may need to increase the maple syrup or coconut sugar to reach your desired sweetness.

Maple Syrup. Honey can be used in place of maple syrup, although it is not vegan!

Coconut Sugar. Any granulated sugar works exceptionally well in this recipe! Just be sure to chose a variety that complies with your dietary needs!

This Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe has only 7 ingredients and NO refined sugar! Using apple cider and orange juice gives it a rich & spicy yet bright and citrusy flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious! Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free & paleo-friendly!

Watch how to make this recipe! 

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Healthier Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauce-pan, whisk together orange juice, apple cider, maple syrup, and coconut sugar over medium-high heat.
  2. One mixture comes to a boil, whisk in the cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
  3. Pour cranberries into the saucepan and reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Simmer the mixture uncovered for 10 - 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to pop! (You will literally hear popping noises and the berries will burst open)!
  5. Using a potato masher, gently mash the cranberries to thicken the mixture. The more you mash, the less chunky the sauce will be---your choice! (if you like extra-smooth cranberry sauce, blend the mixture in your Vitamix until smooth).
  6. Simmer for another 3 minutes and then turn off heat but leave the pot uncovered on top of the burner to cool and thicken for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container!

This Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe has only 7 ingredients and NO refined sugar! Using apple cider and orange juice gives it a rich & spicy yet bright and citrusy flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious! Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free & paleo-friendly!

This Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce will definitely be making an appearance on our table this Thanksgiving! I’m SO thrilled with the way it turned out, and that it fits so nicely with so many diverse dietary needs.

Just please, whatever you do, do not buy that gelatinous canned goop masquerading as cranberry sauce! Making your own is SO easy and so, so much tastier…I promise!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition or holiday appetizer? 

If you make something from JoyFoodSunshine I would love to see your creations! #joyfoodsunshine

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This Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe has only 7 ingredients and NO refined sugar! Using apple cider and orange juice gives it a rich & spicy yet bright and citrusy flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious! Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free & paleo-friendly!

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This Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe has only 7 ingredients and NO refined sugar! Using apple cider and orange juice gives it a rich & spicy yet bright and citrusy flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious! Gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free & paleo-friendly!