Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and many of us are planning to do more “gathering” than we did last year. Which brings a whole new set of challenges.
The bigger the group, the more likely someone has some dietary restrictions. I have one family member who is diabetic, and another who follows a keto diet. Figuring out how to make a sugar free/keto cranberry sauce seemed like the best solution.
This recipe makes a delicious sauce that is tart, sweet and the perfect side for your slices of turkey. Everyone will enjoy this sauce, whether they are trying to be low carb or not!
Why I love this recipe
Cranberry sauce is easy to make, and this sugar free version is no different. The best thing is, I can make this a day or two before Thanksgiving and have it ready to go. I can even make a traditional sugar version if I want to offer both, depending upon the size of the group.
Please note that I include an orange for zest as an optional ingredient. I really love orange in my cranberry sauce, and can't imagine it without.
When I use orange marmalade, I do not add any orange zest. I only add it when I use a substitute jam, such as peach or apricot. As always, use this as a guideline to find your own perfect balance of flavor.
How to make this sugar free cranberry sauce
This sauce is made very much like a conventional cranberry sauce: fresh cranberries are boiled until they burst, add sweeteners and orange zest for flavor. As the mixture cools it will thicken.
The difference, of course, is in the sweeteners.
On the surface, it seems like you could just substitute a sugar-free sweetener for the sugar, right? Well, not exactly.
I tried this with erythritol and the taste was great, but as the sauce cooled the sweetener crystallized, giving the sauce a grainy and almost crunchy texture. Not what I was hoping for.
I tried again with monk fruit, which is really a blend with erythritol. Again, great taste but the texture was off.
I decided to try a combination of sweeteners and achieved that from multiple sources:
Sugar free cranberry juice - this provides additional cranberry taste that is already sweetened with sucralose.
Sugar free jam - a complementary fruit flavor, also sweetened with sucralose.
Monkfruit sweetener(erythritol blend) - by adding the above 2 ingredients, I was able to reduce the amount of this sweetener from a full cup to ¼ cup. Big difference - any crystallization that is happening in the sauce is much more subtle/virtually undetectable. Success!
Look for a sugar-free jam, in a flavor you think will be complementary to cranberry. I used sugar free orange marmalade since I always want some orange taste in my sauce. Other possible flavors are peach, apricot or blueberry, but feel free to experiment as you wish!
Yes! I make cranberry sauce from Craisins with great success. I will try making a sugar free version if I can ever get my hands on unsweetened dried cranberries, but I’m confident it will be great. Let me know if you try it first!
If you prefer your cranberry sauce to be tart, start without any sweetener beyond what is in the juice and jam. At the end of the cooking time, give it a little taste. It will be tart, and for me, a little more sweet is called for. But the beauty of making it yourself is that you can decide!
More cranberry recipes to enjoy:
- Cranberry sauce from dried cranberries
- Cranberry-apricot sauce
- Eggnog cranberry bread
- Cranberry sauce cocktail
- Cranberry grapefruit kiss cocktail
Keto Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces cranberries fresh or frozen
- ¾ cup sugar free cranberry juice
- 12 ounces sugar free orange marmalade *
- ¼ cup Monkfruit sweetener 1:1 sugar substitute *
- Pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat to boiling, then lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.
- When cranberries have burst and sauce starts to thicken, turn off the heat and allow the sauce to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in refrigerator if not serving the same day.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.