Easy and delicious vegan cranberry sauce! Just 3 ingredients and great for so much more than Thanksgiving dinner. No refined-sugar and only 15 minutes of prep/cook time. And be sure to try the flavor variations - ginger, spiced, and boozy cranberry sauce!
This recipe was originally published in November 2018, and has been updated with new photos and instructions.
Why You'll Love It
Did you know it's ridiculously easy to make amazing vegan cranberry sauce from scratch? It really is! No need for that jiggly, bland store-bought stuff. Homemade is lightyears better!
Your family will be SO impressed with this healthy cranberry sauce. It's sweetened entirely with maple syrup which balances the tartness of the cranberries so nicely and really gives it even more cozy, holiday flavor.
A lot of cranberry sauce recipes call for water, but I prefer not to water it down. Instead, the only liquid added to this recipe is freshly squeezed orange juice.
And since we're not adding regular sugar, we're relying on the natural pectin in the cranberries to thicken the sauce. Adding water would make the sauce thinner.
Another reason to love this cranberry sauce? The slice of orange peel simmering away in the pot smells heavenly!
And if you're in the mood for a little fun, this 3-ingredient easy cranberry sauce recipe easily transforms into other flavor variations:
- Boozy - with bourbon, rum, and/or Grand Marnier.
- Spiced - add cinnamon and a pinch of cloves for fragrant, spiced cranberry sauce.
- Ginger - add fresh ginger to the pot for irresistible warm aroma and flavor.
- Extra Sweet - if your family prefers sweeter cranberry sauce it's easily adjusted. Simply add cane sugar or increase the maple syrup.
Here's what you'll need to make a batch of the basic cranberry sauce:
- Cranberries - either fresh or frozen. Fresh are easy to find during the holiday season, while frozen cranberries are available year-round.
- Pure Maple Syrup - any variety/grade is fine.
- Orange - you'll need 1 orange for its juice and peel.
See recipe card below for amounts.
If you've never made cranberry sauce before you might be surprised how simple it is. Start to finish, it only takes about 15 minutes. Then refrigerate the sauce for several hours or overnight.
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer. One by one, the cranberries will begin to burst and release juice.
- As the cranberries continue to cook, use a large spoon to mash some of them, helping them along in the thickening process.
- Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat, and remove the orange peel. Let cool then transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Boozy - while the cranberry sauce simmers, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of your favorite vegan bourbon, whisky, or dark rum. And for even more orange flavor add a splash of Grand Marnier orange liqueur.
Holiday Spice - add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, scant ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, and scant ⅛ teaspoon cloves.
Ginger - peel a small, thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, and slice it into coins. (Keep track of how many coins you drop into the pot.) Add the ginger to the pot along with the other ingredients. Remove the ginger when the sauce is done.
Extra Sweet - for sweeter cranberry sauce, add 2 to 4 tablespoons of organic cane sugar to the pot, or drizzle in more maple syrup until it's as sweet as you like. With the addition of sugar, if the sauce gets too thick, simply whisk in a splash of water or more juice.
This recipe makes just a little over 1 ½ cups of cranberry sauce, so it's great for small households or every day use.
If you're cooking for a crowd during the holidays you'll definitely want to double or triple the recipe.
Ways to Use Cranberry Sauce
For vegan Thanksgiving dinner, pair this cranberry sauce with homemade Vegan Turkey, Classic Seitan Roast, Beyond Meat Meatloaf, or Wild Rice & Chickpea Loaf.
And it's delightful tucked inside these low-fat cranberry cornbread muffins!
But don't stop at the holiday table....
Cranberry sauce can even be incorporated into desserts, like this Cranberry Cream Pie, and used as garnish for ice cream, muffins, and pancakes.
Still have cranberry sauce leftover? Use it as a:
- spread for sandwiches, wraps, and burgers
- topping for oatmeal and yogurt
- topping for vegan cheese on a snack board - try it with this Almond Feta or Queso Fresco
- a salad dressing, thinned with water or orange juice
- and stirred into BBQ sauce for a tart twist!
Technically there is no right or wrong way to enjoy cranberry sauce. So I like to consider the way it's being served. Alongside hot dishes, like Thanksgiving dinner, room temperature or slightly warm tastes great. But there may be other times you prefer cranberry sauce chilled, like spread on a cold sandwich or when paired with cheeses.
Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator cranberry sauce is good for 5 to 6 days.
Absolutely. Once it has cooled completely, transfer cranberry sauce to an airtight, freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months, and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
More Vegan Cranberry Recipes
You might also like this apple cranberry compote. It's lightly spiced, sweet, tart, and just as easy and versatile as classic cranberry sauce!
Vegan Cranberry Sauce (No Refined Sugar)
- 1 large orange
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and sorted - discard soft or bruised ones
- ⅓ cup maple syrup - see Notes for sweetener options depending on end use.
- Slice a 2-inch piece of peel from the orange. Place in a small sauce pan along with the juice from the orange. Turn the stove eye to medium-high heat. Add the cranberries and maple syrup, and bring to a low boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook until cranberries burst and the liquid thickens, about 10 to 12 minutes (takes a little longer if using frozen cranberries).
- Let the cranberry sauce cool, remove the orange peel, and refrigerate until chilled, 4 hours to overnight.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
Delicious and you're right, so easy. We included the orange and a pinch of cinnamon. Trying with bourbon next. Thanks for the recipe!