Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce (Refined Sugar-Free)

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What’s Inside: Nothing says “Happy Holidays!” like a delicious, healthy homemade cranberry sauce to accompany the star of the show — your Thanksgiving turkey. Ditch the canned stuff! You can make your own at home with just a few simple ingredients and NO refined sugar.

Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Yes, Cranberry Sauce Can Be Delicious AND Refined Sugar-Free

Most Americans grew up plopping a jiggly, gelatinous, tin can-shaped cylinder of store-bought cranberry sauce onto their Thanksgiving plate. It added color, but rarely ends up in the diner’s stomach and — most often — goes straight from the can, to the plate, to the trash.

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This is a shame, because there is a LOT of potential with cranberry sauce. The trick is to ditch the can and make it yourself.

And the best part is when you make your own, you get to control what’s in it. This means you can completely omit refined sugar and still attain a sweet, sour, tart, gorgeous cranberry sauce. You read that right. You can make delicious, healthy homemade cranberry sauce that is refined sugar-free. It takes almost no time, and your Thanksgiving guests will appreciate the effort.

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homemade cranberry sauce without refined sugar

How to Make the Best Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Besides the roast turkey, drippings gravy (*swoon*), I love to spoon a dollop of cranberry sauce on my plate for the bird. And lest we forget the key role cranberry sauce plays in arguably the best part of every Thanksgiving meal — the leftovers for a lunch sandwich the next day, like what I did here.

However, store-bought cranberry sauce — like many traditional recipes — tend to be overloaded with refined sugar.  But we can do better.

Cranberries are naturally and pleasantly sweet. but also have a tart bite, so they do need a little help to be sweet. A couple tablespoons of unrefined sugar, like honey or maple syrup, does the trick, especially when combined with fresh-squeezed orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. Mmmm … Heaven!

This is a simple recipe for healthy homemade cranberry sauce you can easily make ahead of your holiday meal and store in the fridge. It gets better when it sits. Enjoy!

And make sure to check out my roundup of healthy Thanksgiving basics to ensure you stay on track this holiday season and impress your guests with a delicious, clean, homemade meal.

Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce (no refined sugar added)
4.92 from 12 votes
Healthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce via Food by Mars (Refined Sugar-Free)
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Cranberry Sauce (Refined Sugar-Free)

Skip the canned stuff (and the refined sugar) and grace your Thanksgiving table with heathy homemade cranberry sauce this holiday season!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: healthy homemade cranberry sauce
Servings: 8 people


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 dash nutmeg (omit for AIP)
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 pinch sea salt (to taste)


  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Bring the sauce to a low boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the cranberries soften and burst, it should take 12-15mins
  • Stir around with a wooden spoon, and remove from heat and let it sit to cool off. The sauce will thicken as you let it sit. Store in the fridge if not serving day of or serve right away!

More Thanksgiving Recipes and Healthy Veggie Side Dishes To Try

If you like this healthy homemade cranberry sauce, make sure to save these healthy Thanksgiving recipes when planning to host your own holiday feast:

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Recipe Rating

  • Sandhya's KitchenOctober 7, 2020 - 9:29 am

    That sounds awesome!! I can’t wait to try the refined free Cranberry Sauce.ReplyCancel

    • Alison MarrasOctober 14, 2020 - 3:48 pm

      yay!! enjoy it!ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline MeldrumOctober 7, 2020 - 9:35 am

    That looks lush and will be good with the pastry pie I am planning to make for Christmas Dinner.ReplyCancel

    • Alison MarrasOctober 14, 2020 - 3:48 pm

      ooh love the way you think!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle WolterOctober 7, 2020 - 10:26 am

    homemade cranberry sauce is so much better than that canned stuff. love the maple syrup in this – it’s perfect for the holidays!ReplyCancel

    • Alison MarrasOctober 14, 2020 - 3:47 pm

      couldn’t agree more!!ReplyCancel

  • JessOctober 7, 2020 - 12:45 pm

    Homemade cranberry sauce is always the way to go! Way better than the canned stuff!ReplyCancel

  • SueOctober 7, 2020 - 12:50 pm

    This makes a delicious classic cranberry sauce. So glad I can make it from scratch and know exactly what goes in it!ReplyCancel

  • JessDecember 22, 2020 - 3:42 pm

    Homemade cranberry sauce is the way to go! So much better than the canned stuff!ReplyCancel

  • Priya LakshminarayanDecember 22, 2020 - 3:57 pm

    We made this! Thank you so much for this recipe…it came out perfect!ReplyCancel

  • JuliaDecember 22, 2020 - 4:16 pm

    Love this refined sugar free cranberry sauce and that touch of nutmeg really made it even more flavorful!ReplyCancel

  • JessieDecember 22, 2020 - 4:49 pm

    This looks and sounds amazing! Adding this to my menu for Christmas dinner. ReplyCancel

hey thereI'm Alison

I believe your healing journey with real food can be a stress-free lifestyle, filled with joy and flavor.



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