Healthy Paleo Cranberry Sauce
This Healthy Paleo Cranberry Sauce is simple to make, delicious, and sweetened with maple syrup to keep it refined sugar-free. Orange zest and warm spices give this cranberry sauce incredible flavor, and it’s done in 15 minutes.
Are you a cranberry sauce fan on Thanksgiving? Cranberry sauce fans tend to be a pretty decisive group, and in my house at least, it’s always the same people scooping cranberry sauce onto their plates year after year.
Those who like cranberry sauce on their Thanksgiving plates also tend to be divided within themselves, favoring either fresh, chunky cranberry sauce, or the ridged stuff from the can. Which camp do you fall into? Personally, I’m all about the fresh stuff. I like my cranberry sauce tart, lightly sweetened, chunky, and full of flavor.
Cranberry sauce is not my favorite thing on Thanksgiving, though. I usually just take a little bit, and use it here and there to accent some bites. But, it’s so quick and easy to make that I always try to take 15 minutes to whip a quick batch together for our table, especially being in the “fresh cranberry sauce all the way” camp. I don’t want our table to end up with the canned stuff on it. There’s something a little too odd to me about cranberry sauce in a can shape. I just can’t get down with it, especially when it’s so easy to make it yourself.
So, what’s in this healthy cranberry sauce?!
- Cranberries. Fresh or frozen both work well here – whichever is more accessible to you!
- Orange. One fresh orange, any variety. We’ll be using the zest as well as the juice, so I recommend opting for organic if you can.
- Maple Syrup. Honey can also be used, but I prefer the maple flavor here.
- Spices. We use cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. You can adjust amounts, or spices used if you prefer something different. I find this combination to give fabulous flavor, though.
This cranberry sauce is also incredibly customizable to your tastes. Like a sweeter cranberry sauce? Add a bit more maple syrup. Like it more tart? Scale the sweetness down. Want more cinnamon? Give it a taste and adjust as necessary.
When you’re making cranberry sauce in your kitchen, it’s all in your control and you can make it just how you like it. This year’s version is my kitchen is definitely one of my favorites. In the past, I’ve used granulated or brown sugar, but this year I decided to make this cranberry sauce refined sugar-free by sweetening with maple syrup.
This recipe uses just 1/2 cup of maple syrup, and my family finds the cranberry sauce to be plenty sweet for our tastes. Orange zest and juice help brighten up the recipe, but the spices are what really shine. I love fall spices so much, and the warmth they give this recipe is incredible! If you like the spices to be a bit milder, start with using half the recommended amounts and scale up as desired.
This healthier paleo cranberry sauce recipe will look beautiful on your Thanksgiving table! Be sure to snatch up the leftovers too, because I have some delicious recipes coming at you to use your leftover cranberry sauce. Enjoy!
For the rest of your Thanksgiving Menu:
- Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole with Gluten-Free Pecan Crumble
- Autumn Harvest Kale Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Vegan Broccoli Gratin
- 20 Gluten-Free Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts
Paleo Cranberry Sauce
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 1 ½ cups 1x
- Category: Side Dish
This Paleo Cranberry Sauce is simple to make, delicious, and sweetened with maple syrup to keep it refined sugar-free. Orange zest and warm spices give this cranberry sauce incredible flavor, and it’s done in 15 minutes.
- 12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
- Zest of 1 orange
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- Empty cranberries into a saucepan. Add maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, and spices to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 5 more minutes. If you like your cranberry sauce very chunky, remove from heat now. If you like a smoother sauce, cook down over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely before serving.
- This can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week, so it’s easy to make ahead of time.
Keywords: cranberry sauce, refined sugar free, thanksgiving
What a great idea sweetening the cranberries with maple syrup! A little maple flavor and sweetness all in one! Sounds fabulous!
Thanks so much, Kathy!
Thanks for this recipe. I always add ground ginger to cranberries, but never thought to add other fall spices. I’ll be trying this on Wednesday. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Hope you enjoy it, Martha! The spices really do add an extra layer of flavor. Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m so-so with cranberry sauce. It’s not my favorite, but I will eat it. I definitely prefer the homemade version, though. This paleo sauce looks absolutely gorgeous, Rachel! I have a feeling I would eat this on just about everything!
Thanks, Gayle! It definitely tasted delicious working it’s way into some “leftover cranberry sauce” recipes. :)
Ooh, this recipe looks fab, Rachel. Cranberry sauce is the best. <3
Oh I just love that you used maple syrup in this! Such a great idea!
Omg, that stuff in the can? So gross, I just can’t. Even looking at it freaks me out. lol This fresh and fabulous cranberry sauce is totally where it is at! LOVING the addition of maple and orange in here – SO YUM! Pinned! Cheers! <3
I wish my mom would use maple syrup in hers. I love that flavor anywhere, and in cranberry sauce it would be amazing. This looks so delicious!
It works so well here, Mir, especially with the spices! Thanks :)
I am with you – cranberry sauce has always been one of those take it or leave it kind of dishes, however, when dressed up with exciting flavors like you have here – I’m all in!
I love cranberry on meat — the sweet/tart flavor pairs so well! But I’m the kind of person that likes a little bit of sweet with everything so… Lol. This looks so vibrant and I bet it tastes just as good!
Thanks Ashley!! I love the sweet/tartness with meat too – so good.
When it comes to cranberry sauce, homemade is always best! I love that you sweetened this with maple syrup to make it healthier! It sounds absolutely perfect with the orange zest and spices!
I’m in the homemade cranberry sauce only camp, but many of my family members prefer the canned jellied stuff. I say more homemade for me! I love maple syrup, so using it in cranberry sauce sounds SO good — this I need to try!
I love, love, love cranberry sauce! Homemade, chunky and tart. There’s no other way for me and if it’s decent I slather it on everything, from turkey to pancakes ;) I make mine pretty much the way you do, but I have NEVER thought of adding spices! What a wonderful idea, I have some left in the fridge and will try it tomorrow!
I definitely enjoy it but only if it’s the homemade kind!! Love all the spices you have in this version! Happy Thanksgiving Rachel!!
I’ve never been a big cranberry sauce fan, but I think I can get behind this one. I just love the cranberry orange combo!
Yes! The can shaped cranberry sauce with the little ridges is pretty creepy. I am so glad you did this recipe with maple syrup! I had been wondering how it would taste and I bet with those fall spices it is amazing!
Loving the idea of cranberry sauce without any refined sugar. I am always shocked by how much sugar cranberry sauce recipes call for. This recipe looks great!
You’re totally convincing me to try some homemade cranberry sauce! Love that you sweetened it with maple syrup too, such a great idea!
Cranberry sauce is my FAVORITE on Thanksgiving! I like to dip everything on my plate in it, because it’s just that awesome. ;) I totally can’t wait to give your paleo version a try!
oh I am SO making this on Thanksgiving! This was exactly the recipe I was looking for- can’t wait to try it out!
I hope it’s a hit! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Angela.
Happy Thanksgiving. I’m sure you had a tasty one!
Happy Thanksgiving, Lisa!!
This is such an easy and delicious recipe for cranberry relish. It’s so satisfying to make it yourself, and it’s beautiful on the table! My husband is not even a cranberry fan and he loved it! My sister loved it so much she said she’d stop buying processed jams/preserves and use this instead. It feels so good to make something so yummy that’s also healthy. I also made your lattice apple pie…OMG!! Took it to our family Thanksgiving dinner and it literally disappeared! Thank you for these wonderful recipes!
So thrilled to hear you and your family loved the sauce and the pie – makes me so happy that I could share a piece of Thanksgiving with you! Thanks so much for your kind words and feedback.
This was absolutely delicious! Will definitely make again. Thank you
So glad you enjoyed it, Kate!!
So easy and delicious! Happy Thanksgiving!
So glad you’re loving it, Melissa!! Happy Thanksgiving!