Nutrient-Packed Cranberry Sauce (No Sugar Added)


I didn’t plan on sharing this cranberry sauce recipe with you. Not because I wanted to keep it a secret, but because it didn’t exist until about an hour ago. Today is one of those days when almost every hour is scheduled as I finish up deadlines, emails, and pack in preparation for traveling for Thanksgiving. And yet...the cranberries were calling to me. So here we are. 

When I think of a recipe, it’s hard to resist (especially when it’s quick and easy)! I love cranberry sauce, but as you know, I’m not a fan of huge amounts of added sugar. The typical Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce contains 22 grams of added sugar per ¼ cup serving. (For reference, the American Heart Association recommends a daily maximum of 25 grams of added sugar for women.) The ingredient list is cranberries, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water. Not cool. We can do better than that.

November is a time of year when apple season is just ending and orange season is just starting. I decided to celebrate this time of year by adding those two fruits to balance out the tart and delicious flavor of cranberries. The combination of a honey crisp apple and freshly squeezed orange juice along with comforting fall spices and a dash of balsamic vinegar creates a balanced and nourishing flavor that doesn’t need any help from added sugar. This sauce is packed with amazing nutrients! The addition of chia seeds adds a dose of omega-3’s and fiber for a happy gut and stable blood sugar, however they’re optional if you don’t have any.

Despite traveling for Thanksgiving, I wanted to make cranberry sauce because I love having it to add to a variety of dishes. Here are some of the ways I recommend enjoying it beyond a traditional Thanksgiving meal:

  • Create a turkey roll-up with cranberry sauce and sweet potato or a squash (butternut, acorn, and pumpkin all work)
  • Add to a cozy bowl of pumpkin oatmeal 
  • Add it to chia pudding
  • Create a simple appetizer by topping a nutty cracker (like these Blue Diamond Pecan Nut Thins) with goat cheese and a dollop of cranberry sauce
  • Add a bowl to your cheese plate for a fun and seasonal addition
  • Create Thanksgiving stacks with sweet potato rounds, a piece of turkey, and dollop of cranberry sauce

Time for me to go pack, so let’s get to the recipe! 

Nutrient Packed Cranberry Sauce (No Added Sugar)


12 oz. fresh cranberries

5 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice (approx. 3 oranges)

1 honeycrisp apple, diced

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cloves

Dash of salt

1 Tbsp chia seeds

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Add the cranberries, orange juice, apple, and spices to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low and simmer until the apples are soft and the sauce is thickening (approx 10 minutes). Turn off the heat.
  2. Add the chia seeds and balsamic vinegar and stir.
  3. Use an immersion blender or blender to blend (so many blends in that sentence). 
  4. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy cranberry sauce?


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!