Did you know? Cranberries are a rich source of fiber and contain several vitamins and minerals. This holiday season, there’s no need to serve that gelatinous, store-bought, canned stuff when cranberry sauce can easily be made from scratch in about 10 minutes.

Cranberry sauce is often an afterthought at holiday meals, but cranberries are chock-full of disease-fighting antioxidants. Canned or packaged cranberry sauce is typically loaded with refined sugar, but here’s a flavorful alternative recipe you can try this season that doesn’t compromise on taste.

Naturally-Sweetened Homemade Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup honey (or maple syrup to make it vegan)
  • ½ cup water
  • Zest of 1 medium orange (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Optional add-ins: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and/or ¼ cup fresh orange juice


  1. Rinse the cranberries well and drain the excess water. Pick through them and discard any squishy ones.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, honey and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened to your liking, about five to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the orange zest. If you’d like to add cinnamon or orange juice, do so now. Taste and, if the mixture is too tart (keeping in mind that cranberry sauce is supposed to be a little tart), add more orange juice, honey or maple syrup to taste.

Nutritional Info (per 1/4 cup):

  • 67 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g protein
  • 19 g carbohydrates
  • 18 g sugars

If you have leftovers, this sauce is quite versatile:

  • Swirl it into some oatmeal or yogurt and granola.
  • Use it atop baked brie for an easy appetizer.
  • Add it to a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Make crostini by starting with crusty, whole-grain bread, spreading goat or cream cheese, and topping it with this delectable sauce.

Adapted from Cookie and Kate