This easy Vegan Cranberry Sauce is so easy to make in only 15 minutes! Made with fresh or frozen cranberries and sweetened with orange and maple syrup, it’s a perfect accompaniment to any holiday menu!
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You may be wondering, “Isn’t all cranberry sauce vegan?” Well, yes and no. Store bought cranberry sauce is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. It’s vegan, but far from healthy.
And many recipes for homemade cranberry sauce call for a whole cup of sugar. Many brands of white sugar are not vegan because they’re are bleached using bone char.
This recipe uses neither of those. It’s a healthier version sweetened with maple syrup. It’s not as sweet as most cranberry sauces, letting the flavor of the tart fresh cranberries come through.
If you like a sweeter cranberry sauce, add more maple syrup, or even a bit of organic sugar.
Why are cranberries served at Thanksgiving?
Cranberries are one of the only commercially grown fruits native to the United States. The Native Americans were known to eat a lot of them, as well as use them for natural dye for their clothing.
We don’t really know what was served at the first Thanksgiving, but given that cranberries were so important to the Native Americans, we can assume that they were likely served at that meal.
Cranberry sauce made with sugar dates back to the 17th century, and cranberry sauce was served with turkey by the 18th century.
- Cranberries – this sauce can be made with fresh or frozen cranberries.
- Orange – I use the juice as well as zest from the orange to add more festive flavor. You can use store bought orange juice if you don’t have fresh.
- Maple Syrup – use pure maple syrup and not pancake syrup. Alternatively, you can use agave syrup or date paste, or coconut sugar. Adjust the amount to your desired level of sweetness.
How to make homemade vegan cranberry sauce
Making your own cranberry sauce couldn’t be easier!
First rinse and sort through the cranberries. Remove any that are shriveled or soft.
Place all of the ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat it to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the temperature to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes.
As the cranberries begin to heat up, they will pop. Don’t be alarmed by the popping sound.The berries contain their own pectin, and the sauce will thicken as it cooks and the berries break down.
Cook until the sauce is the consistency you like. Some like to leave some whole berries in their sauce. If you like it saucier, continue cooking until all of the berries are broken down.
Be sure to stir frequently so the sauce doesn’t scald on the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in some chopped nuts.
- Add a pinch of cinnamon.
- Use lemon zest instead of orange zest.
- Add some slices of ginger and remove them after cooking.
- Serve with a vegan turkey roast or lentil loaf.
- Add leftover cranberry sauce to vegan yogurt.
- Spoon a bit of the sauce over vegan vanilla ice cream.
- Spread it on toast or inside a vegan corn muffin.
- Stir some into a bowl of steaming oatmeal.
- Blend some cranberry sauce into a smoothie.
- Add a spoonful to a glass of club soda.
Frequently asked questions
This sauce will last for about a week in a covered container in the refrigerator. It’s a great recipe to make a few days before the holiday dinner.
This sauce freezes well. Place it in an air tight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Cook it a bit longer for a thicker sauce. Remember that the sauce will thicken as it cools.
Add a bit of water to thin it out.
That’s entirely up to you! If you’re serving it with a holiday meal, I would serve it warm or room temperature. If you’re serving it with a dessert, I would chill it.
More holiday recipes!
- Vegan Lentil Loaf
- Vegan Glazed Ham
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Vegan Gravy
- Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
- Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Onions
- Instant Pot Glazed Carrots
- Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Vegan Corn Muffins
- Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
- Christmas Recipes
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Vegan Cranberry Sauce with Orange
- 12 ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
- ⅓ to ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 1 orange juiced
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Rinse the cranberries and remove any shriveled or soft ones.
- Add all the ingredients to a sauce pan and heat over medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the berries pop and begin to break down. Be sure to stir frequently so the sauce doesn't burn. For thicker sauce, continue cooking until all the berries have broken down and the sauce thickens. You can press some of the berries with the back of a spoon to mash them if you desire.
- Taste and add more sweetener if desired.