Food I love

Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce – MUST HAVE!

Let’s talk about cranberry sauce! It’s the neglected, afterthought condiment of Christmas, but no holiday table is complete without it. Cranberry sauce adds a very necessary burst of sweet-tart flavor and ruby red color to an otherwise beige meal.

This naturally sweetened cranberry sauce recipe is much prettier than store-bought, not to mention extra delicious thanks to the honey or maple syrup.

Plus, this homemade cranberry sauce couldn’t be easier to make. It’s ready in about 10 minutes. If you need a quick and easy Friendsgiving option, sign up for the cranberry sauce!

Here’s what you’ll need to make this cranberry sauce recipe:

1 bag of fresh cranberries
Honey or maple syrup
Zest from one orange, or orange juice
…and a pot to cook it in. That’s it.


There is something fantastically retro about a gelatinous, shimmering cylinder of canned cranberry sauce on a plate. I loved it as a kid. Do you wondered when we started buying cans of cranberry sauce instead of making it themselves. Did we experience a fresh cranberry shortage in the 50s? Maybe fresh cranberries weren’t readily available back then?

Fortunately for us modern Americans, grocery stores are overflowing with cranberries this season. Thinking about my gut health and all that I have done to improve my eating habits, I picked up a can of cranberry sauce at the grocery store and glanced at the list—cranberries, followed by high fructose corn syrup, and that’s about it. High fructose corn syrup is heavily processed, flavorless sweet stuff that I try to avoid, and I know you all do, too.

Most homemade versions call for about a cup of white sugar. Today, I thought I would offer you a more gut redeeming, naturally sweetened option that calls for 1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup.

Uses for Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Swirl leftover sauce into yogurt with granola.
Dollop it into your oatmeal (like this).
Spread it onto toast topped with almond butter or goat cheese.
Basically, treat it like jam.
If you have any other fun ways to use up your leftover sauce, I’ll add them to the list.


Recipe yields about 2 cups cranberry sauce.


  • 12 ounces (1 bag) fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup honey or maple syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • Zest of 1 medium orange*, preferably organic (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Truly optional add-ins: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and/or ¼ cup fresh orange juice


  1. First, rinse the cranberries well and drain off excess water. Pick through the cranberries and discard any squishy ones.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, honey and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened to your liking, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the orange zest. If you’d like to add cinnamon or orange juice, add it now. Taste and, if the mixture is too tart (keeping in mind that cranberry sauce is supposed to be a little tart!), add more orange juice, honey or maple syrup to taste.
  4. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. It will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks.

Please let me know how this cranberry sauce turns out for you in the comments.

9 thoughts on “Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce – MUST HAVE!”

  1. This is the perfect blog for anybody who hopes to finnd out aboht this topic.
    You definitely put a brand new spin on a toopic which has been discussed for decades.Wonderful stuff, just excellent!


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