Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce

Thanksgiving isn’t the same without this Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce recipe! It is so easy to prepare with fresh cranberries and apples and it only takes 10-15 minutes to cook.


For years I served cranberry sauce from a can and although I didn’t care for it I didn’t realize that the fresh sauce tasted so much better. I figured that I only will have to serve it once a year so I would just make it through the meal and I won’t have to put up with it until next year.

It wasn’t until I made it with fresh cranberries that I started to enjoy it and actually look forward to serving it throughout the holiday season and beyond. I even freeze extra bags to make the sauce when cranberries are out of season.

When I lived in New Jersey, it was one of the most beautiful sights to drive past cranberry bogs in the fall. I would have loved to go on a tour of one of the farms there!

Fresh cranberry sauce tastes so much better than the jellied cranberry mass in the can. If you haven’t tried it yet, you are in for a treat. You get to sweeten the sauce to your preference, so add more or less of the sweetener. You can substitute coconut sugar for your favorite sweetener also.

In this Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce recipe, tart cranberries are balanced with sweet pectin-rich apple, which adds extra fiber and nourishment.

Coconut palm sugar is the sweetener of choice, it is less processed than refined sugar and it adds a deep, bold flavor to the sauce that I didn’t even add any extra spice. It tasted so delicious!

As always, I suggest you read the complete article for useful information included in the blurb. However, you can find the detailed recipe with exact ingredients and step-by-step instructions below.

Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce

Why You Should Try This Cranberry Apple Sauce?

  • An easy and delicious twist on the traditional Thanksgiving side.
  • Cranberry apple sauce is naturally low in calories and fat
  • It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
  • Tasty without being too crazy!
  • You can prepare it in advance, allowing you to focus on making lunch without worrying about it.
  • It is highly healthy.
  • Cranberry applesauce can be enjoyed as a healthy dessert or as a snack, but it also works well to bring a large jar to Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners.
  • Cranberry applesauce is especially great for toddlers!
  • Cranberry apple sauce is excellent in baked goods and offers healthy cranberry muffins with a sweet and tart flavor.
  • Put some in a sterilized jar for a lovely homemade Christmas present that is sure to impress.

How Is This Cranberry Apple Sauce Healthy?

I deliberately titled this cranberry apple sauce “Healthy Cranberry Apple sauce”. This isn’t just an ordinary thanksgiving sauce recipe, it’s one of the richest fruit-based recipes you’ll ever try.

This is a gorgeous, rich, ruby red and slightly tart cranberry apple sauce prepared with fresh organic gala apples, coconut sugar (for a nice sweet flavor), organic cranberries (fresh or frozen), orange zest, freshly grated ginger, organic lemons for some brightness.

All these ingredients are extremely healthy, especially cranberries and apples which both are star ingredients of this sauce. Below I’m going to break down in detail the nutritional value and potential health benefits of these two fruits.


Cranberries are considered a superfood owing to their high nutritional and antioxidant content. Cranberry contains numerous essential nutrients, including fiber, copper, manganese, and vitamins C, E, and K1. Several of these have been demonstrated to be beneficial in treating various diseases and making us healthy.

  • Cranberries are rich in Vitamin C and fiber, it is believed to prevent and treat urinary tract infections by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
  • Additionally, vitamin C is an incredibly effective natural antioxidant and can help in the treatment of a range of diseases.
    • Boosts the immune system
    • Reduce the oxidative stress induced by free radicals
    • Increase plant-based iron uptake
    • Encourage collagen production to aid in wound healing
  • Higher fiber consumption can also lower a person’s risk of acquiring stroke, coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, stomach problems, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that aids the immune system. It may aid in the prevention or treatment of chronic illnesses linked to free – radicals, such as:
    • Illness of the heart
    • Cancer
    • Cataracts
    • Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia
    • Arthritis
  • Cranberries are also high in antioxidants, associated with improved immune function, decreased blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, and even cancer prevention.
  • According to a study published in the American Family Physician, cranberry can increase the acidity of the urine, which may assist prevent the formation of stones.

Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce


The 2nd base ingredient of this sauce is apples, which are nutrient powerhouses. Vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and other minerals abound in apples. Because of their diverse nutrient profile, they may aid in the prevention of a number of health problems.

  • They also have a lot of antioxidants in them. Free radicals can be stopped by these chemicals. Free radicals are reactive molecules that are produced by natural processes and environmental stimuli. Excessive free radical levels in the body could cause oxidation, which can lead to cell damage. This harm can result in several diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.
  • Eating apples may help prevent type 2 diabetes.
  • Epicatechin, a flavonoid, is one of these polyphenols that may help to decrease blood pressure.
  • Apples include a variety of naturally occurring compounds that may help fight cancer. They’ve been associated with a lower incidence of cancer and cancer-related death in observational studies.
  • Apples may help prevent diseases of the heart. Apples contain soluble fiber, which can aid in the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. Polyphenols, which act as antioxidants, are also present in them. The peel contains a high concentration of these.
  • Apples include antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals that may benefit bone health. Additionally, fruit consumption may aid in bone mass preservation as you age.

Ingredients Used

  • Fresh cranberries: Buy a lot of fresh cranberries when you see them because they freeze extremely well. No need to thaw cranberries if they are already frozen. Simply cook them directly from the freezer. Dried cranberries can be used inplace of fresh cranberries.
  • Gala apple: The Gala apple is the finest choice for making this sauce because of its sweet, fruity flavor. You can also use Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fuji, or Crispin apples if you don’t have Gala apples. I peeled and diced them.
  • Apple juice: Use fresh if possible.
  • Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar can be replaced with any liquid sweetener, like maple syrup or agave syrup.
  • Orange zest: The same amount of lemon zest can be used instead.
  • Ginger: It is used for adding extra zing and is good for digestion.

How To Make Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce?

  • Place cranberries, apples, apple juice, coconut sugar, orange zest, and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cranberries pop and the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

Serving Options!

I also love to serve Cranberry Applesauce as:

  • A topping for ice cream
  • A spread in sandwiches with peanut butter/almond/or cashew butter
  • Added to smoothies
  • Dollop it into your oatmeal.
  • It is delicious spread on toast.
  • Swirl the sauce over the yogurt.
  • Can be used as a wonderful surprise cupcake filling.
  • Add a spoonful of it even to your favorite fruit salad.

Storage Instructions

Refrigerator: Keep the cranberry apple sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Freezer: You may store it in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Just make sure:

  • Cool it completely before storing it.
  • Put it in an air-tight container.
  • While sealing and freezing, leave at least 1/4 inch of headspace in the jar because this cranberry apple sauce expands as it freezes.

Recipe Notes

  • To balance the cranberries’ tartness, use sweeter apples, but if you like tart, use green apples.
  • I peeled my apples, but leaving the skin on is more helpful because it adds fiber.
  • If your cranberry apple sauce becomes too thick, thin it out with 1-2 teaspoons of water over medium heat.
  • You can also skip the sugar if you want to make it sugar-free.
  • You can also add vanilla extract and cinnamon to this cranberry apple sauce, they complement the flavor of the berries and apple nicely.
  • The sauce will further thicken as it cools.
  • Using a potato masher or the back of a slotted spoon, mash the cranberries and apple until desired consistency is achieved. Alternatively, after the applesauce has somewhat cooled, use an immersion blender, food processor, or high-speed blender to puree it into a smooth consistency.
  • Keep the sauce refrigerated.
  • You can also make this sauce in an instant pot.

More Cranberry Sauce Recipes To Try:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Orange Zest The Same As Orange Peel?

Orange peel, commonly referred to as orange skin or orange rind, is distinct from orange zest. Orange zest is merely the outermost layer of the orange peel, whereas orange peel includes both the pith and the zest, or the bitter-tasting white section beneath the outer layer.

Can Cranberry Applesauce Be Frozen?

Yes! Your home-made cranberry applesauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container, or it can be frozen for up to a month in a freezer-safe jar or container with at least ½ inch of headspace at the top because frozen applesauce expands.

What To Serve With Cranberry Applesauce?

Cranberry applesauce can absolutely be served on its own as a nutritious dessert after supper. This is how my family prefers to eat it. Only on the weekend do we delight in a sugary dessert; the rest of the time, we stick to fuel food sweets, which are primarily fruit.

Cranberry applesauce pairs well with nuts or vegan cheese for a protein boost. You can even put it into vegan yogurt!

Cranberry applesauce is a good side dish for the holidays.  For a vegan Christmas dinner, I also believe it would be fantastic with these, Lentil Loaf, Tofu Turkey,  Vegan Pumpkin Stuffed Shells, and Whole Roasted Cauliflower.

A Final Thought…

A good sauce never goes without notice and can at times save even the most poorly cooked meal. Cranberry Apple sauce is a science of cooking that can be made in different combinations based on seasonal produce on hand. Everyone’s version will not only taste unique but it will also have different benefits to their body.

It helps adhere to a healthier diet as well as show love for one another.

So if you take the time to combine these wholesome ingredients (Cranberry and apples), you can make a holiday side dish that is gluten-free and tastes great. This cranberry apple sauce is a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table if you have guests with dietary restrictions. It’s an easy way to enjoy cranberries year-round. My family doesn’t even mind eating it as a breakfast treat once or twice a week.

Make it in bulk and freeze it! I hope that you and your family enjoy this recipe on Thanksgiving Day!

Tell us what you think in the comments!

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Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce in a white bowl

Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce

Thanksgiving isn’t the same without this Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce recipe! It is so easy to prepare with fresh cranberries and apples and it only takes 10-15 minutes to cook.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Healthy Cranberry Apple Sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 148kcal


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 Gala apple peeled and diced
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger


  • Place cranberries, apples, apple juice, coconut sugar, orange zest and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cranberries pop and the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  • The sauce will further thicken as it cools.
  • Keep refrigerated.


Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 52IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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  1. 5 stars
    what a nice holiday flavor this sauce has. I didn’t know I could make cranberry sauce like this & it was delicious! I will be making more for the rest of the holiday.

    1. Rachel, it should last until Thanksgiving since we are a week away, make sure to store in an airtight container, you could even freeze it and thaw the day before in the refrigerator.

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