Homemade, healthy cranberry sauce is incredibly easy to make and very delicious. It beats store bought cranberry sauce hands down!
This recipe contains a lot less sugar than most bought cranberry sauce. In addition to being healthier, adding less sugar means that the tangy sauce complements roast meat much better.
A quick check of a leading supermarket brand showed that nearly half of the sauce was sugar. So one tablespoon contains over a teaspoon of sugar, and tastes like jam. This recipe is so quick and easy to make, it's definitely worth making the switch.
Ingredients for homemade cranberry sauce
Fresh cranberries seem to be readily available in most supermarkets now in the run up to Christmas. Frozen berries would also work perfectly well in this recipe. Most of the cranberries we buy are grown in North America. If you end up with more than you need, they freeze well. You could also add them to muffins, or use as a topping for cheesecake. Whatever you add them to, their bright ruby colour looks appetising and attractive.
Cranberries do have some health benefits. In particular, they are rich in vitamin c and antioxidants. And for some people they can help to prevent urinary tract infections. But take care if you opt for packaged cranberry drinks or dried cranberries as they can be very high in sugar. See here for further info: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-cranberries-and-cranberry-juice
Sugar or sweetener
Cranberries are incredibly tart, and you'll need to add some sweetness. If you want to make a sugar free cranberry sauce, use a sweetener instead of sugar. Or, if you'd prefer a non-refined sugar, use honey or maple syrup. A spoonful or two of applesauce will also help to sweeten the sharp cranberries, although in my experience you'll still need a little bit of sugar or sweetener as well.
Orange and spices
Orange adds a lovely tang to this healthy cranberry sauce recipe. Or you could use 2 clementines instead for the zest and juice.
If you don't have this exact combination of ground cinnamon, ginger and allspice, use what you'd prefer. Ground mixed spice would work perfectly well. Or use some grated fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick.
Making healthy cranberry sauce
This easy cranberry sauce recipe takes just minutes to make. You just pop everything in a pan and simmer for 5 minutes, and it’s done. It’ll store well in the fridge for around a week. So you can make it ahead of time and know that it is ready for the big day. Homemade cranberry sauce also freezes very well.
Traditionally cranberry sauce is served cold, but it is also very nice served warm.
If you’ve got some pretty jars, this homemade low sugar cranberry sauce would also make a lovely gift. That way your friends can enjoy it too!
Frequently asked questions
Fresh cranberries are usually available from around the middle of November in all the major supermarkets.
Frozen cranberries will work well in this recipe, and are available in some supermarkets year round. However, dried cranberries are very different, and are usually sweetened. (If you've bought them by mistake, try them in these healthy Christmas cookies!)
You can keep this sauce in the fridge for up to a week. If you want to make it further ahead, it'll freeze well.
If you don't want to freeze leftover cranberry sauce, try serving it with other meats, lentil burgers or roast salmon. It also goes well with cheese, so try a posh toasted cheese sandwich with a layer of cranberry sauce.
You might also like to read our post about other healthy and delicious Christmas recipes
Healthy Cranberry Sauce
- 400 g cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 orange
- 50 g sugar see notes above
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Grate the zest from the orange and add it to a pan along with the juice from the orange. Add the cranberries, sugar and spices. Bring to the boil, stir and cover.
- Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes until the cranberries have burst and most of the liquid has evaporated. As the sauce cools, it will thicken more.
- If you'd prefer to use a non refined sugar, substitute 3 tablespoons of either honey or maple syrup instead of sugar.
- If you don't have ground cinnamon, allspice and ginger, then switch in a teaspoon of ground mixed spice. Or if you prefer, use a cinnamon stick and a little grated fresh ginger.
Please note nutritional information is for guidance only