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Easy Cranberry Sauce (with no white sugar)

cranberry sauce

I love cranberries. In fact, I’m one of those weirdos who didn’t like soda as a kid (still don’t), so my special treat drink of choice was cranberry juice.

The only time I wasn’t crazy about cranberry was when it jiggled its way out of a can once a year onto our Thanksgiving table.

I know some people are wild about canned sauce, but it really skeezes me out. So, I thought I just didn’t like cranberry sauce. And then our friend Lindsay brought homemade cranberry sauce to our Thanksgiving one year and changed my mind.

sugar free cranberry sauce

If you’ve never made your own, it’s crazy easy. You can even do it a few days ahead of time to make things that much easier.

But no refined sugar? What’s the deal with that?

Maple syrup doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike like regular white sugar, plus it adds flavor instead of just sweetness. That said, if you’re out of maple syrup or would rather use regular sugar, go for it. It’ll work just as well.

This is a very forgiving recipe – you can use whatever you have on hand. I like pomegranate juice, but you can use cranberry juice instead. Orange zest is delicious, but lemon or grapefruit would also work.

DIY cranberry sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Easy Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce sweetened with maple syrup and fruit juice


1 bag rinsed fresh cranberries
1 c. pomegranate juice
1 c. real maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup)*
zest of 1 orange


1. Bring all ingredients to a boil.
2. Stirring regularly, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the juice has thickened significantly. Most of the cranberries will swell and pop, too.
3. Skim off the foam if that bothers you, or be like me and leave it 😉

*This sauce seems to get sweeter and jammier after being refrigerated for a few days. I might try cutting back to 3/4 c. of maple syrup next time if I'm making this ahead of time.


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