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Healthy (or not so healthy) homemade cranberry sauce may be a Thanksgiving ordeal for most, but I’m one of those people that makes it all through November. (Are there enough people who do this to say I’m “one of those people”? No idea, but there you have it.) Anyway, who says the turkey gets to have all the fame? This low carb sugar-free cranberry sauce recipe is actually unexpectedly delicious on chicken or even meatballs, too.
I made this year’s first batch of healthy cranberry sauce this week. Once again, I was reminded of how much I love this stuff. It’s totally unfair that fresh cranberries aren’t available all year round.
I actually attempted to find fresh cranberries to snap photos of this low carb cranberry sauce recipe a month ago. I couldn’t find them yet at that point. I’m glad they are finally here!
How To Make Cranberry Sauce Without Sugar
This sugar-free cranberry sauce recipe is ridiculously easy. It takes just ten minutes. In fact, it’s so easy that it almost feels strange to call it a recipe.
But, I know that at this time of year many people want to know how to make cranberry sauce with no sugar. If you haven’t made a whole berry cranberry sauce before, you’ll never want to go back to the canned stuff.
You’ll be happy to know that the process to make low carb cranberry sauce is actually the same as any other cranberry sauce from scratch. All you have to do is simmer together cranberries, water, sweetener, and orange zest. Then, stir in vanilla extract at the end.
The difference is in the sweetener. I prefer confectioner’s-style powdered erythritol as my sweetener of choice. It blends well into the sauce, keeps longer without crystallizing, has no aftertaste, and is a natural sweetener.
If you’ll be storing your sauce at all, I highly recommend the powdered version. That way, the sauce won’t become crunchy. How long does cranberry sauce last? I’d say at least a week in the fridge, as long as your sweetener is powdered or liquid.
If you plan to use your sugar-free cranberry sauce right away, regular granulated erythritol will work just fine, too. You can still use granulated if you think you’ll have leftovers, but the sauce will crystallize sooner in this case.
The recipe is actually very flexible in terms of sweetener, so feel free to use whatever you have. The fresh cranberries actually have a small amount of natural sugar, and this helps the sauce thicken. It will gel a little, just like you’d expect from a traditional cranberry sauce. No one will guess it’s a low sugar cranberry sauce, where the only sugars come from the cranberries.
Some so-called healthy cranberry sauce recipes add orange juice, but this actually adds a lot of sugar. And, it’s totally unnecessary to get that hint of orange flavor.
All you have to do is make your cranberry sauce with orange zest instead! Add as much or as little as you like, depending on how much you like orange. I might even try a little orange extract next time I make this sugar-free cranberry sauce.
If you want a paleo cranberry sauce, you might be okay with the powdered erythritol since it’s a natural sweetener. But if not, feel free to swap it with something else, like stevia, coconut sugar, or even maple syrup. The recipe is very forgiving in terms of which sweetener you want to use.
Easy Healthy Cranberry Sauce The Whole Family Will Love
It feels unusual to be saying that I made the “first batch” of something for the year, implying that I’d be making it many times again. As a food blogger, I tend to develop a recipe and move on to the next. Rarely do I come back to the same one over and over.
It’s not because I don’t have ones I love, and even miss dearly, because I do. The reality is, there are only so many hours in the day. And, there are only so many meals to feed my little family of three (for now!!) throughout the week.
So, I tend to save my cooking for new experiments. This is even more true during the holiday season, when the occasions to which I can bring my creations are sadly limited compared to the number of ideas I have.
This fresh, homemade sugar-free cranberry sauce is a delightful exception. It’s so easy and so good that I always make it for Thanksgiving. Every. Single. Year.
And every single year, everyone at the table eagerly gobbles it up. Even though it’s sugar-free, gluten-free, low carb, and paleo, the whole extended family tells me this is the best cranberry sauce. Fresh cranberries make all the difference.
Fortunately, this healthy cranberry sauce is quick and easy to whip up. It doesn’t take time or effort away from whatever other dish I’m experimenting with. And, it means you can make it in just ten minutes, leaving you more time to focus on the turkey, low carb sweet potato casserole, low carb pumpkin pie, keto pecan pie, pecan pie bars… or whatever else you happen to be making for Thanksgiving. Enjoy!
- Medium Saucepan – This is the cookware set I prefer to use. It is stainless steel and dishwasher safe.
- Utensil Set – High heat resistant and BPA free, this cooking utensil set is the perfect choice when making this low carb cranberry sauce.