Orange Cranberry Sauce {keto, paleo, Whole30, AIP, vegan}

orange cranberry sauce in white bowl
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For an easy orange cranberry sauce to make, use this recipe which only has 4 ingredients!

This recipe is perfect for all of your holiday and family get togethers!

I love simple side dishes that are quick to make and pack lots of flavor.

Not only does this recipe have wonderful flavor, but it also has great nutrition (more on that in a minute)!

Orange cranberry sauce also adds a beautiful, bright color to any plate!

And best of all in my book, this side can be made well in advance of a get together and doesn’t require reheating!

Now that’s a big help for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas!!

orange cranberry sauce in white bowl with orange slice on side of bowl

Is Cranberry Sauce Healthy?

It depends!

Are you using cranberry sauce from a can that has been loaded with sugar – then NO!

Did you know that there are 22 grams of ADDED sugar in Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce?

And the sugar they are adding – high fructose corn syrup.


Even if you choose the 365 organic, whole berry cranberry sauce from Whole Foods, it still has 20 grams of added sugar!!

So if you are eating the canned cranberry sauce, I’m going to give it a resounding NO as a health food.

Sugar causes so much damage and inflammation in the body that it’s best to avoid it as much as possible, especially in high doses like what is found in canned cranberry sauce.

BUT there is still hope for a healthy cranberry sauce!

That’s why I have created this sugar-free orange cranberry sauce recipe which uses only whole food ingredients.

It’s basically a health food at that point!

Cranberries are a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C, E, and K1, as well as manganese and copper.

And let’s not forget that cranberries are loaded with antioxidants!

But did you know that the antioxidants are most concentrated in the skin of the fruit?

So if you are only consuming cranberry juice (which hopefully is sugar-free), then you are still missing out on a lot of great antioxidants!

I know, I know – raw cranberries are TART!

But that’s where whole berry cranberry sauce is a great addition to your diet.

You can sweeten the sauce to taste with sugar-free sweeteners and enjoy the full range of benefits cranberries offer!

orange cranberry sauce in white bowl

What Can I Sweeten Orange Cranberry Sauce With?

As I just mentioned, cranberries are pretty tart.

Most people will find that they need to add some sort of sweetener in order to be able to enjoy this recipe.

For anyone eating a whole foods diet or if you eat paleo, Whole30, AIP, or vegan, a great sweetener choice is applesauce!

And for paleo and AIP diets, you could also choose to use honey.

For anyone following the keto diet, almost any low-carb sweetener will do.

I have made this with both granular and powdered versions of Swerve and Lakanto sugar and it came out fine every time.

Some sources say that erythritol based sweeteners will recrystallize once cooled, but I have never had a problem with that.

Other low-carb options include stevia and allulose.

hand holding spoon to get orange cranberry sauce from white bowl

How to Make Easy, Sugar-Free Orange Cranberry Sauce

This recipe really is quite simple!

It’s basically a dump and cook recipe that takes literally 10 minutes to cook.

Start by adding the cranberries, liquid, and orange zest into a small saucepan.

saucepan with cranberries and orange zest

Some people have you add the sweetener at this point, but I have better success adding the sweetener after the sauce has been removed from the heat.

But if you want to add everything to the pan now, go for it!

Bring the liquid to a boil.

Then reduce the heat to medium-low to keep the cranberries simmering.

Simmer the cranberries for about 7-10 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have burst.

Something to note is that cranberries release their pectin as they cook.

So if you cook the cranberries on the shorter end, it will be runnier with more “whole cranberries.”

Alternatively, if you cook the cranberries until all of the cranberries have popped, it will be a thicker cranberry sauce.

You can OVERCOOK cranberries to the point where the pectin will NOT thicken, so don’t run off too long and leave it unattended!

I find it best to set a timer for 7 minutes and then check and stir the sauce, keeping an eye on it until I pull it off when the cranberries have popped to my liking.

Once removed from the heat, stir in your sweetener of choice (suggestions for each diet above).

saucepan with cooked cranberry sauce and applesauce

Let the orange cranberry sauce cool on the counter until it’s close to room temperature.

Then store the cranberry sauce in an airtight glass container in the fridge.

I like to store it at least overnight so that it is chilled.

However, if you like a warm cranberry sauce, feel free to serve right away!

hand holding spoon full of orange cranberry sauce

What Can Orange Cranberry Sauce Be Served With?

Orange cranberry sauce is a wonderful side for almost any meat!

Can I serve orange cranberry sauce with turkey? Um yep, that’s a classic!

How about serving orange cranberry sauce with chicken? Sure thing!

Can I serve orange cranberry sauce with pork tenderloin? That sounds delicious!

Could this orange cranberry sauce be used for ham? Done it and loved it, so YES!

Now what about serving cranberry sauce with duck? If your family eats duck (mine doesn’t lol), then go for it!!

About the only meat I don’t USUALLY serve cranberry sauce with is beef.

But hey, if you want to try it, go for it!

I don’t see why you couldn’t use this orange cranberry sauce with a beef roast.

Besides just plain meats, orange cranberry sauce can be served as a sandwich spread or as a dip for meatballs!

I love cranberry sauce, so the more excuses to serve it, the better!

hand holding spoon full or orange cranberry sauce

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Orange Cranberry Sauce {keto, paleo, Whole30, AIP, vegan}

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  • Author: Monster Cookie
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


For an easy orange cranberry sauce, use this recipe which only has 4 ingredients! Perfect for all of your holiday get togethers!


  • 1, 12 ounce bag or 3 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup liquid (can be juice from the orange or use water for keto)
  • 1/4 cup sweetener (can be applesauce, honey, or a low-carb sweetener for keto)


  1. Add the cranberries, liquid, and orange zest to a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the cranberries have popped. This should take about 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in your sweetener of choice. Try a small bite to see if the cranberry sauce is sweet enough for your taste. I like mine tart so you may need to add more sweetener.
  4. Let cool to room temperature before storing in a glass container in the fridge. Best served chilled.


Storage: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It will taste best within the first week though, so try to consume it within 7 days if possible.

Freezing: For longer term storage, you can store orange cranberry sauce in the freezer. It may be a little watery once thawed, but the flavor will still be just fine! Store in an airtight container (I recommend a small glass jar). Use within 3 months for best freshness, but it will be safe to eat indefinitely!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 23
  • Sugar: 1.6g
  • Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Protein: 0

orange cranberry sauce pin graphic

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