Blog Nutrition Recipes Homemade Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice (Refined Sugar-Free)

Homemade Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice (Refined Sugar-Free)

This homemade cranberry sauce recipe is refined sugar-free and made with orange juice. It’s super easy to make and can be made ahead of time. Bonus: it’s also much better than the canned stuff!


Homemade Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice Recipe (8)

This easy cranberry sauce recipe is made with just 4 ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make. 


  • 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. Under running water, rinse the cranberries and pick out any stems. 
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, honey (or maple syrup), water, and orange zest. 
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened. 
  5. Remove from heat and stir in fresh orange juice, if using. Taste and add more sweetener, if needed. Let cool slightly before serving. 
  6. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Cranberry sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
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  • You can use the zest of 1 lemon if you don’t have an orange on hand.
  • If you don’t have fresh cranberries, you can use frozen. Just add them in at the beginning and cook for a few minutes longer.

Nutritional Info:

Calories 82, Fiber 1.4g, Sugars 19g, Protein 0.2g, Sodium 2.2mg.

This recipe is courtesy of

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homemade cranberry sauce

Health Benefits Of Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is not only delicious, but it might also have some health benefits. Cranberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that may boost your health in many ways.

Some of the most impressive possible health benefits of cranberry sauce include:

Improving Digestion

Cranberry sauce may help improve digestion and prevent digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, and stomach ulcers. The high fiber content of cranberries helps add bulk to stools and promote regular bowel movements (7).

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Supporting Immunity

Cranberry sauce can help support your immune system thanks to the vitamin C in cranberries. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps your immune system to fight off infection and disease (12).

Preventing UTIs

Cranberry products have been used traditionally to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The cranberries in the sauce contain proanthocyanidins, which are compounds that are thought to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. However, the actual evidence for cranberries’ ability to prevent UTIs is limited (4).

homemade cranberry sauce

Lowering Cholesterol

The pectin in cranberry sauce may help lower cholesterol levels. Pectin is a type of soluble fiber that binds to cholesterol molecules and helps remove them from the body (3).

Supporting Heart Health

The antioxidants in cranberry sauce may also help support heart health. These compounds help protect the arteries from damage which might reduce the risk of heart disease (1).

Regulating Blood Sugar

The fiber in cranberries can slow down the absorption of sugar in the gut, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable (10).

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Reducing Inflammation

Cranberries have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation throughout the body. This could be beneficial for people with conditions like arthritis and Crohn’s disease (2).

Low In Fat

Cranberry sauce contains no saturated or trans fat, both of which can be detrimental to health.

It can be used as a marinade or dressing to add flavor without adding unhealthy fats (2).

Good Source Of Vitamins And Minerals

Cranberry sauce is also a good source of essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and manganese. These nutrients are important for maintaining good health (2).

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homemade cranberry sauce

Homemade Vs Store-Bought Cranberry Sauce

When it comes to cranberry sauce, homemade is always best. Store-bought sauces have the following disadvantages:

  • Low nutritional value: Most store-bought cranberry sauces are made with lots of refined sugar, which has little nutritional value.
  • High in calories: Store-bought cranberry sauces are often high in calories due to the added sugar.
  • Artificial flavors and colors: Many store-bought cranberry sauces contain artificial flavors and colors.
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Homemade cranberry sauce, on the other hand, is:

  • High in nutritional value: Cranberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
  • Low in calories: You can control the amount of sugar added to homemade cranberry sauce, making it lower in calories than store-bought varieties.
  • Natural flavors and colors: Homemade cranberry sauce only contains natural flavors and colors.

Refined Sugar Vs Honey For Cranberry Sauce

You can sweeten your homemade cranberry sauce with either refined sugar or honey. Refined sugar is made by extracting the sugar molecules from sugar cane or sugar beets. This process strips away everything but the sugar itself.

Honey, on the other hand, is a natural sweetener that contains trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Honey has also been shown to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, although we don’t necessarily know how eating honey affects the human body with respect to those properties (6).

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Note that honey and refined sugar are both still added sugars and have the same effect on blood sugar levels. Your body processes both honey and refined sugar in the same way.

If you’re trying to manage your blood sugar, it might be best to use a non-nutritive sweetener like stevia or monk fruit extract, or to limit the amount of sugar you consume.

Moderation is key to keeping your sauce low in calories and sugar. Luckily, honey is sweeter than refined sugar, so you can use less of it to achieve the same level of sweetness.

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The Bottom Line

This easy cranberry sauce recipe is made with just 4 ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make. It’s refined sugar-free, and can be made ahead of time. Serve it with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, or anything else you like!



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 100g of cranberries a day improves cardiovascular health, study finds (2022, 
  2. Are Cranberries Healthy? 6 Surprising Benefits (2022, 
  3. Cholesterol-lowering properties of different pectin types in mildly hyper-cholesterolemic men and women (2011, 
  4. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections (2012, 
  5. Honey (2018, 
  6. Honey and its nutritional and anti-inflammatory value (2021, 
  7. Impact of Cranberries on Gut Microbiota and Cardiometabolic Health: Proceedings of the Cranberry Health Research Conference 2015 (2016, 
  8. Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce (n.d., 
  9. REFINED SUGAR (2021, 
  10. The effects of cranberry juice on serum glucose, apoB, apoA-I, Lp(a), and Paraoxonase-1 activity in type 2 diabetic male patients (2012, 
  11. The sweet danger of sugar (2022, 
  12. Vitamin C and Immune Function (2017,