This is my go-to recipe for the simplest homemade Paleo Cranberry Sauce that’s a family favorite (especially for my daughter, Emily!) An easy tweak makes this holiday (or anytime!) favorite refined sugar free, vegan, Paleo, and healthy.
When I think of cranberry sauce, I think of Emily – my now 7 and 1/2 year old daughter (the middle one – updated in 2021 – she is 12 1/2!).
She’s notoriously been the pickiest eater of the crew, especially early on. She was the type of baby/toddler/kid who would flat out not eat if one little thing was “wrong” on her plate.
And, sometimes “wrong” meant that there was no buttered pasta in sight, or, a piece of broccoli touched her rice, OR that everything was “weird”. Isn’t it fun cooking for children with these “quirks?!” Heck to the no, to say the very least.
But! Cranberry sauce. Where does the cranberry sauce fit in? So, Thanksgiving. It happens to be my favorite holiday, mainly because of the food. The comfort food! And the warm happy memories – that too – of course.
Since first making this easy cranberry sauce, I’ve been obsessed with coming up with Paleo cranberry recipes. From cookies to bars, muffins to cake, even chicken! Healthy cranberry recipes are my jam! (No pun intended.)
And this healthy homemade cranberry sauce is SO simple to make.
Is Cranberry Sauce Vegan?
It sure is! This healthy cranberry sauce with orange juice is totally vegan, gluten free, and Paleo friendly. Every ingredient is plant based, so it’s a perfect addition to a vegan Thanksgiving table.
Ingredients in Paleo Cranberry Sauce
It only takes five ingredients to make this delicious homemade Paleo cranberry sauce. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:
Whole cranberries (you can use fresh or frozen)
Orange juice – make sure it’s 100% juice!
Maple Sugar (or maple syrup)
What can I add to cranberry sauce?
If you want to add some flair to your cranberry sauce you can all so add ginger, orange zest, or allspice to give it a little kick.
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
You won’t believe how easy it is to make cranberry sauce on the stove top. It only takes three steps!
- First, add the cranberries, orange juice, and sugar or syrup to a medium saucepan. Turn your stovetop to medium or medium-high heat, then stir and bring the ingredients to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes, scraping the sides of the pan with a spatula. Make sure to watch the sauce the whole time so that it doesn’t burn.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and any other additions that you desire. Allow the sauce to cool before serving.
Tips for serving cranberry sauce
-This homemade cranberry sauce can be served at room temperature! But if you like to serve your cranberry sauce cold, simply place it in a container with a lid and refrigerate for an hour or two before serving.
-Spoon it over meats, eat it as a side dish, or place it in a dish with a spoon and allow your Thanksgiving dinner guests to eat it as they desire.
Can you freeze cranberry sauce?
You sure can! This vegan cranberry sauce refrigerates and freezes wonderfully. Pour it into an airtight container after it’s cooled, and you can store it in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for a few months.
If you freeze your cranberry sauce, simply defrost it overnight in the fridge, then give it a good stir, and serve.
As much as I love face planting in turkey with gravy, stuffing, candied sweet potatoes and pies, years ago I realized that my kids couldn’t stand much of the traditional Thanksgiving food that I live for each November.
No mashed potatoes (too mushy) no turkey (luckily that one has changed!) and not even pumpkin pie (seriously!?)
I will say that to their credit (and maybe my persistence, too) they have warmed up to pumpkin and apple pie. Even mashed potatoes and my favorite stuffing! But for all those early years, it was one food, and one food only.
The one and only food Emily has actually eaten on Thanksgiving, is – you guessed it – THIS homemade Paleo cranberry sauce. Not only does she tolerate it, but she downright LOVES it and asks me to make it all the time. Sure, it’s most likely because it feels like she’s eating fruit preserves straight out of the jar, but still, we go with it!
It doesn’t get simpler than this Paleo cranberry sauce as a delicious, everyone-loves-it side dish.
Stay tuned, because I have two more ridiculously tasty recipes coming soon involving this cranberry sauce! As it turns out, I’m a little obsessed with it, too 😉
Simple Homemade Paleo Cranberry Sauce
Homemade Paleo Cranberry Sauce
Add your cranberries, orange juice and maple sugar or syrup to a medium saucepan and set the burner to medium heat on the stovetop.
Stir and cook, bringing the cranberry mixture to a boil (about 5-10 mins), then lower the heat to a simmer and allow it to cook 5-10 more minutes, stirring and scraping the sides occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning, until most of the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened (it will thicken quite a bit while cooling as well.)
Turn the heat off and stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Allow the sauce to cool for about 15 minutes in the saucepan. Once it's no longer too hot to handle, transfer to a container or dish, cover, and refrigerate if desired until cooled to your preference, then serve.**
The cranberry sauce can be reheated as you like, served as a side dish or topping for anything, or used for cooking/baking in other recipes. Store leftovers in a lidded container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
*You can also use coconut sugar in place of the maple sugar - 3/4 cup.
**"Prep time" includes the time to cool before serving
What I Used to make my Simple Homemade Paleo Cranberry Sauce:
Want more holiday themed Paleo recipes? Try one of these!
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