Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe is free of refined sugar making it much healthier than the store-bought version. Plus it’s easy to make and ready to serve on your holiday table in 10 minutes!

No holiday table is complete without cranberry sauce and this homemade cranberry sauce doesn’t disappoint!

What Makes this Cranberry Sauce Healthy?

  • Coconut Sugar: It’s healthier than refined sugar in that it has a lower glycemic index than regular white sugar. It also has a small trace amount of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium.
  • Apple Butter: I love using apple butter as a sugar substitute. It itself is very low in sugar and relies on the natural juices of the apples.
  • Karuna Whole Plant Juice Ashitaba, Beet, & Pomegranate: The ingredients in our Karuna’s Whole Plant juice like Beets, Ashitaba, and Pomegranate has a ton of minerals and vitamins. It’s an excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K!

How to Get the Bitterness out of Homemade Cranberry Sauce?

If you are used to eating canned cranberry sauce, homemade cranberry sauce might shock your palate as cranberries are naturally sour and bitter.

Some ways to make it less bitter are…

  • adding a pinch salt a little at a time. The salt helps bring out the sweetness in the sauce more. This is really the best way to lessen the bitterness.
  • adding more sweetener (coconut sugar and apple butter) to your sauce one tablespoon at a time.
  • using our Whole Plant Juice Peach, Mandarin, & and Kiwi drink instead of plain orange juice. Using both our juices will not only add more nutrients but more natural sweetness and flavor!
  • not overcooking your cranberry sauce. DO NOT go over 10 minutes of cooking time.
  • don’t cook with the rind of the orange. Some recipes call for this but I urge against it. Cranberries are bitter enough. Just use the juice from the orange.

Even with all these tips, there will always be a hint of bitterness. This is natural food, not the pre-bought overly processed stuff in a can.

The good news is, more natural you eat the more your palate develops a taste for bitter and sour. When paired with salty food (say vegan cornbread dressing) it tastes less bitter. (This is why adding salt will help calm down the bitter taste).

What to eat with Cranberry Sauce?

The best way to eat homemade cranberry sauce for the holidays! It’s a perfect condiment to be served with vegan cornbread dressing or vegan turkey roast!

How to Make Cranberry Sauce? (1-minute video)

This homemade cranberry sauce is a great complement to all that heavy holiday food you will be consuming!



Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe is free of refined sugar making it much healthier than the store-bought version. Plus it’s easy to make and ready to serve on your holiday table in 10 minutes!

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American, Holidays
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 111kcal

  • Author: Gina Marie



1 cup Karuna Whole Plant Juice Ashitaba, Beet, & Pomegranate
1 cup coconut sugar (see notes)
1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 medium orange,  juice squeezed from an orange
¼ cup apple butter
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick (see notes)
1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)


Be sure to rinse the cranberries well and drain off excess water. Set aside.

Pour in Karuna Whole Plant Juice Ashitaba, Beet, & Pomegranate in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Then add coconut sugar and whisk together until sugar is dissolved in the juice for 1 minute.

Next, add in fresh cranberries, squeeze orange juice, apple butter, ground nutmeg, and 1 cinnamon stick. Simmer on low until cranberries burst and the sauce starts to thicken for 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it continues to cool. Taste and adjust flavors to your liking. (Keep in mind cranberries are naturally tart but you can add more coconut sugar if you like to sweeten it up).

Once cool, transfer into a glass bowl and use a Microplane Grater to grate some orange zest (optional) over your sauce.

This sauce will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks. To freeze, pack cranberry sauce in an airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bag and keep for 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.


  • JUICE: You can find Karuna in many participating retail stores throughout the nation. Please use the Store Locator to find out where our drinks are sold in your area. You can also find them on AMAZON!
  • SWEETENER: I use coconut sugar because it has a lower glycemic level. You can swap out the coconut sugar for any natural sweetener you desire. If using liquid sweetener, use ½ cup instead of 1 cup. Be sure to use apple butter as it adds a level of sweetness and flavor without the need for more sugar. You could also use applesauce.
  • ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS: Instead of orange juice, feel free to try this recipe with pineapple juice or our Whole Plant Juice Peach, Mandarin, & and Kiwi drink! If you don’t have cinnamon sticks use ½  teaspoon of cinnamon powder.
  • OPTIONAL: Orange zest is optional. I use a Microplane Grater which easily removes the zest but you can skip this step if you desire.

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