Cranberry Sauce Recipe with No Added Sugar

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Cranberry sauce adds a pop of color and tangy zing to any Thanksgiving spread. Problem is, cranberries are naturally pretty sour on their own, and the sweetness you taste in most recipes usually comes from more sugar than a can of soda.

If you’re going to indulge in sweets, save it for dessert. This cranberry sauce recipe is sweetened with applesauce, with the option to use maple syrup, honey, or your favorite natural sweetener if you want to tone down the tartness.

It’s easy to make, and likely the quickest recipe you’ll make for your whole Thanksgiving celebration. Here’s how to do it.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe with No Added Sugar

Time in the kitchen: 15 minutes

Serves: 8-10


  • 18 oz. fresh cranberries (we love )
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • Zest from ½ orange
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger


Place the cranberries and water in a pot and heat over medium heat.

Mix in the applesauce, orange juice, honey, and orange zest.

cranberry sauce ingredients in a pot

When the pot comes to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and stir in the ground cloves and ginger and the cinnamon.

cranberries simmering for cranberry sauceAllow the sauce to simmer for around 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reaches the consistency of your liking. Taste the sauce occasionally and adjust the sweetener to taste.

finished cranberry sauce recipe in a pot

Serve this cranberry sauce alongside your favorite meat or holiday meal. It’s also delicious as a lower sugar sweet option when paired with a bit of coconut cream, dark chocolate or fresh whipped cream.

bowl of cranberry sauce using a no sugar recipe

– If the cranberry sauce is too tart for you as written, feel free to add additional honey. You could also use maple syrup.
– Depending on the strength of your stove top burner and the size of your cranberries, you may need a little more or less time for the sauce to finish cooking.

bowl of cranberry sauce using a no sugar recipe

Nutrition Facts (1/8 of recipe):

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 0g
  • Total Carbs: 13g
  • Net Carbs: 10g
  • Protein: 0g

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