Healthy Cranberry Sauce

Gluten FreeVegetarian

Cranberry sauce

Homemade healthy cranberry sauce is surprisingly easy to make. The recipe below will show you how to make instant pot cranberry sauce or stovetop cranberry sauce. 

With all natural ingredients and naturally sweetened this cranberry sauce is the perfect mixture of sweet and tart. Using fresh cranberries is affordable and gives a light fresh taste to this side dish. 

Since this cranberry sauce is a freezer meal it can easily be made ahead of time in minutes so that your holiday dinner is that much easier to make. 

This healthy fresh cranberry recipe is frozen raw and cooked for the first time the day you need it. 

My toddler LOVES this recipe. He asked for seconds and I have trouble with feeding him enough food, he tends to be really picky. 

Homemade cranberry sauce is a great healthy fresh side to top off yout turkey, oatmeal or just on its own. The freshness orange juice offers in the dish makes it one of the best cranberry sauces I have ever made. 

Skip the canned cranberry “sauce” and make this easy fresh instant pot cranberry sauce. 

Why you will love this instant pot cranberry sauce recipe. 

  • 5 Minutes to Prep
  • Super Easy
  • Extremely Tasty
  • Healthy (Soy Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Preservative Free)
  • Family Friendly
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Is cranberry sauce healthy for you?

So long as its not that jelly sugar canned cranberry sauce then yes. Homemade cranberry sauce is very easy to make. This cranberry sauce recipe also sweetens with all natural ingredients making it very clean. You can modify to fit in your specific dietary needs if desired. 

Ingredients you will need for this healthy cranberry sauce recipe. 

  • cranberries
  • orange juice (fresh squeezed or pre-made)
  • raw honey
  • vanilla extract
  • apple cider vinegar

What is raw honey? Is it different from regular honey?

Raw honey comes straight from the honey comb. It is cleaned of any bits of comb but does not undergo a pasteurization process which leaves it a bit cloudy because this is honey in its pure natural form. 
Regular honey undergoes a pasteurization process making it pure and very consistent in it coloring. It also does not solidify. 
The pasteurization process may decrease the health benefits that raw honey has to offer by lowering the number of antioxidants and nutrients in the honey. You may use raw or regular honey but because of the health benefits I always recommend using raw honey. 

How to make this basic cranberry sauce recipe?

SUPER EASY! To freeze just throw everything into a gallon freezer bag and done. Takes 5 minutes to do the prep for this make ahead cranberry sauce. 
Whether fresh or frozen you can dump this make ahead cranberry sauce into the instant pot or large stovetop saute pan and let it simmer till finished. 
No mess no fuss and a super healthy delicious freeze ahead cranberry sauce. 

How to make this fresh cranberry sauce recipe in the instant pot?

Just throw everything into a instant pot and let it cook for you. This instant pot cranberry sauce is so easy healthy and family friendly. 


Can you freeze homemade cranberry sauce?

Yes. Fresh or frozen homemade cranberry sauce can be frozen. It is best practice for a fresh cranberry sauce to freeze the cranberry sauce before cooking so that it is freshly cooked the day you make it.
Food cooked and then frozen after cooking can change in texture and lose flavor and freshness. 

What to serve with this freeze ahead cranberry sauce recipe?

Its the perfect side for a Thanksgiving feast with all your favorite sides. This recipe is a make ahead and freeze ahead recipe and only takes 20 minutes day of. If you decide to use it as an instant pot cranberry sauce recipe then it could take as little as 10 minutes hands free.

How to store this healthy freeze ahead cranberry sauce recipe?

After cooking store in fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

Is cranberry sauce warm or cold?

Traditionally cranberry sauce is served cold. But you can serve it anyway in your household and it will still taste delicious. The reason to serve cold is because cranberry sauce will slightly thicken after cooking in the fridge as it cools. 

Can I use an instant pot?

Of course! If you are tight on time or a last minute cook then throw everything in the instant post and adjust cook time. Instant pot cranberry sauce is a great addition to any holiday feast.
For slow cooker to instant pot conversion times click here to get a simple instant pot cheat sheet. You will never have to guess or research an instant pot cook time again!

*See FAQ’s and specific tips following recipe below. (so you don’t have to scroll for a million years to find the food 😉 ).

How do you make this Healthy Cranberry Sauce Recipe? 👇 

Cranberry Sauce

Easy healthy make ahead cranberry sauce. Thisfresh sauce is frozen and then cooked for the first time the day of yourholiday dinner. Low in sugar and sweet so everyone can enjoy.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cranberry Sauce, Homemade Cranberry Sauce, Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
Servings: 12
Calories: 128kcal


  • 1 1/2 lb fresh cranberries or frozen
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Supplies for Freezing:

  • 1 gallon freezer bag


Freezer Directions:

  • Label Freezer bag with Recipe name, cooking from freezer directions and expiration date (todays date plus three months).
  • Add all ingredients to labeled freezer bag.
  • Seal bag, removing as much air as possible and freeze for up to three months.

Cooking from Frozen Directions:

  • Dump contents of gallon freezer bag into a large deep saute pan on the stovetop and set heat to medium high. (If frozen cranberries will thaw quickly)
  • Bring cranberries to a boil.
  • Cover and let simmer 20-25 minutes. (Cranberries will start to pop open and mix together into a sauce when finished)
  • Once sauce comes togther remove from heat and serve (If you like it warm). Or store in serving container and set into fridge to cool, serve when ready. (Sauce will thicken in fridge)

Instant Pot Directions:

  • Dump contents of gallon freezer bag into instant pot.
  • Cover with lid, be sure vent is in sealed position, and set to high pressure for 2 minutes.
  • Natural Pressure Release (NPR) for 5-10 minutes, then Quick Release (QR).
  • Stir (Adding in extra honey for added sweetness if desired) then store in fridge to cool if desired. (Sauce will thicken in fridge)


  • Make it pretty by topping off the cranberries sauce with orange zest. 

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How freezer meals will change your life.

Makes homecooking Easy

Only spend one hour in the kitchen for a whole week of dinners. Day of, throw your freezer meal in the slow cooker or instant pot and enjoy dinner!

feel confident

Knowing you have a fool proof systen for something that is easy and works gives you confidence in the kitchen. So wether you're a seasoned chef or occational home cook the method of freezer cooking will work for you!

Eat Healthier

Because you're prepping the freezer meals with fresh foods you're eating healthier. Anytime you cook at home instead of eating out you get the benefits of healthier food.

Enjoy less stress

Have you ever felt the pressure of forgetting about dinner, or having to cook at the end of a long day?! No more, just grab something out of the freezer and you're good to go.

Frequently asked questions

No problem! This healthy cranberry recipe is designed to be taken right out of the freezer and cooked in the instant pot or on the stovetop. Either way this make ahead tart cranberry sauce is easy and delicious. 

Homemade cranberry sauce will stay good in the fridge, after cooking, for 3-5 days. Be sure the homemade cranberry sauce is sealed in an airtight container so that it is properly stored. 

Store-bought cranberry sauce is very high in sugar, preservatives and low in cranberries. But homemade cranberry sauce can be sugar free, containing only natural sweeteners, and abide by your dietary restrictions. 


If you are looking for a low sugar easy homemade cranberry sauce then try this healthy cranberry sauce recipe. 

A serving size assumes 1/3 cup of cranberry sauce mix at 128 kcal per serving. 

Absolutely. Instant pot cranberry sauce is the best! You may have to play around with cook times. If you’re interested in an instant pot cheat sheet for cook times click here!

Yes, you can reheat cranberry sauce. Although traditionally cranberry sauce is served cold because it thickens when cooled. 

Thicken cranberry sauce by cooling in the fridge after cooking. If your cranberry sauce has still not reached the thickness you would prefer then reduce back down on the stovetop for 5-10 minutes. 

Adding in raw honey, a natural sweetener, will combat the tartness of a fresh cranberry. If your cranberry sauce has finished cooking and still comes out to tart then add in 1 tbsp of honey at a time until desired flavor has been reached. 

Cranberry sauce is a sweet and tart sauce that can be enjoyed on its own or as a dressing for turkey. If you are not a fan or cranberry sauce then try making a bacon jam, Chimichurri sauce or even some chunky homemade applesauce instead. 

There are many healthy cranberry recipes that are diabetic friendly. Cranberries are relatively low in carbohydrates and sugars making then a great fruit for the diabetic diet. This sauce uses only natural sugars, raw honey, to sweeten this diabetic cranberry sauce. Be sure to portion out appropriately for your diet and use as little sugar as desired. If you use no honey in this recipe you may come out with a very tart cranberry sauce. 

Health benefits of cranberry juice for diabetics.

Don't forget to pin this recipe and save it for later! 👇

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