This delicious naturally sweetened cranberry sauce is sweetened using natural ingredients like applesauce and orange juice and has less added sugar than most recipes.This delicious naturally sweetened cranberry sauce is sweetened using natural ingredients like applesauce and orange juice and has 2/3 less added sugar than most recipes.Ok, guys. Let’s buckle up. It’s game time.

What’s your game plan? Your lineup?

No, no, no. Not that game. It’s time to get your plan in order for Thanksgiving!

Don’t fret. If you’re in a pickle about what to serve up, I’ll be sharing some of my fav Thanksgiving recipes with you over the next week. Like this naturally sweetened cranberry sauce you can learn how to make by watching my video below!


One of my favorite Thanksgiving sides is homemade cranberry sauce. Which is kind of funny because I usually don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving. But in case you were not aware, cranberry sauce is SUPERB on TOFURKEY. 
naturally sweet cranberry sauce
Everyone keeps asking me if I’m going to eat turkey this year since my recent “coming out” as a flexible eater. And I’m like chill duuuuudes. Imma do me and you do you. Yeah, I’m going to try it but I cant guarantee I’m going to like it. I may have a Field Roast’s Celebration Roast on hand just in case. Because that would be REALLY SAD if I didn’t have anything to put my cran sauce on! Although let’s be real, I eat this shiz by the spoonful. the BEST cranberry sauce. made with applesauce and orange juice!Ok so this is a cranberry sauce that has less added sugar than most recipes. About 2/3 less. But I make up for the sweetness with ingredients like applesauce and orange juice. But here’s the deal. I’m not one of those anti-sugar, sugar is the devil people. Sugar, or glucose, is our brain’s primary source of fuel! So, please, please don’t feel guilt or shame around your cran sauce this Thanksgiving or ANY Thanksgiving dish for that matter. Enjoy your freaking holiday that comes ONCE A YEAR! naturally sweetened cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving! I love this recipe because you get the bright citrus from the orange juice and the warming spices from the cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. I’ve been enjoying the leftover cranberry sauce stirred into my morning oatmeal with some nuts and seeds! YUM.

Happy (almost!) Thanksgiving ya’ll!

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Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 3.75 out of 5)

  • Yield: Approx 2 1/4 cups 1x


  • 1 12-oz bag cranberries (approx. 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Add cranberries, applesauce, orange juice and agave to a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to simmer and add cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
  3. Let simmer for approximately 10-12 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Are you ready for game day? Will cranberry sauce be on the menu?

This post was originally published November 2014 and has recently been updated to give you better and more beautiful content!

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Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds

Sweet Potato & Kale Mac N’ Cheese

Sweet Potato Polenta Bites with Thyme-Marinated Mushrooms

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  1. Melissa

    This has been my go-to for the last few years. It’s sooo good. (Although I’ll admit to using brown sugar instead of agave.)

  2. Jessie

    Could you use orange zest? I have another recipe that does but I’m trying to stay away from refined sugar so I found this one, but I’d like to incorporate the zest. Thoughts?

  3. Such a cranberry sauce fan! We grew up eating the canned stuff so I love making my own now too – the orange flavor here is perfect!

  4. I love, love cranberry sauce! Can’t wait to try this recipe. 🙂

  5. This sounds so yummy and love the flavors! I think you might like turkey! Depends on how it is cooked that can make all the difference. Enjoy your holiday Kara!

  6. I was so looking for a cranberry sauce recipe and this one looks like I hit the jackpot! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Tommy Rybicki

    The family tradition is to have cranberry sauce out of a can. I have never eaten it, and I’m not sure who actually does. This looks way better, and I may see if I can substitute it in vs. the can. Thanks for the recipe

  8. I’ve been experimenting with ways to sweeten my cranberry sauce with less added sugars. This looks like a great option to try.

  9. ML

    Can you suggest a substitute for the agave syrup if I can’t find it? Does the cranberry sauce need to be refrigerated after it’s done or can I take in on a 3 hour plane trip to Florida?!

  10. What a great idea to add applesauce! I bet it adds to the creamy texture as well!

  11. OOhhh I must try this Field Roast you speak of! And LOVE that this cranberry sauce isn’t loaded with sugar like so many I see. Can’t wait to try! 🙂

  12. I LOVE making my own cranberry sauce so that I can control the sugar content 🙂 Love how you used orange juice to do it, I’ve used that in other recipes of mine too!


  13. Vanessa

    I would love to try this but I do not have agave…is honey a good alternative? or maple syrup? Also… no orange juice…but I do have oranges… wonder how many I’d need!!


  14. I LOVE field roast thanksgiving loaf! It’s the best! I have no shame in my game and buy a few each holiday season. Leftovers are awesome thinly sliced and stacked like a sandwich! Of course, you know my feelings about cranberry sauce. I top everything with the stuff! YUM!

  15. This looks so good! Cranberry sauce so delicious but is usually soooo full of sugar! I have a cranberry salsa recipe that I love! I’ll have to play around with it to make a delicious low-sugar salsa instead 😉

  16. OK, YUM! Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite things on the Thanksgiving table…and homemade is SO much better than the weirdly gelatinous stuff out of the can. Even better when it doesn’t call for LOTS of white sugar! Totally making this…and not just for Thanksgiving 🙂

  17. I love cranberry sauce and a few years ago I made a similar version with orange juice, but mine still had a good amount of sugar (3/4 cup to 12 oz cranberries to be exact). Love the addition of applesauce here! Did you use an unsweetened variety?

  18. YUM! I’m going to make a point to bring some new favorite healthy dishes to our Thanksgiving this year so I can’t wait to see what you are up to in your kitchen… while I love my mom’s traditional sides, and I definitely don’t over eat (I’ve never understood why binging is the thing to do for Thanksgiving?), I don’t always feel the best because the food is heavy. I’d love to introduce a cranberry sauce like this and maybe a big green fall salad!

  19. Andrew Playford

    As much as I love the idea of making my own cranberry sauce its probably not going to happen. I have to be real with myself:) However, if there are any awesome artisanal guys making something you recommend I’ll be all over that like a cheap suit at a mafia convention! 🙂

    • It’s much easier than you think, Andrew! It only took me 1-2 mins prep and 10-15 minutes to cook on the stovetop. You just throw all the ingredients in a pot and let it simmer! I’ll definitely keep my eyes open though for some cool artisan purveyors of cranberry sauce and let you know if I spot any!

  20. I just recently started liking cranberry sauce. I love that you call Thanksgiving game day 🙂 I don’t think I’m ready just yet haha

  21. Shawn Z.

    Woohoo! I’m making this for Thanksgiving! Can’t wait to try it 😀

  22. YUM! I am so excited to host Thanksgiving at my house this year and can’t wait to make this sauce!

  23. The one time I made cranberry sauce…it was a fail. WAY to sour, haha! I need to try it again though! Homemade is the only way to go!