Need an easy gluten-free cranberry sauce recipe for the holidays? This homemade cranberry sauce is made from simple ingredients in just a few minutes!
Navigating the holiday season can be tricky for people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance! You don’t want to miss out, but also don’t want to be an inconvenience. It’s a tricky balance to navigate as a gluten-free guest or as a host hoping to accommodate your guests different dietary needs for your holiday meal.
Thankfully, this gluten-free cranberry sauce recipe is easy, delicious, and free of all top 8 allergens. It’s vegan & vegetarian-friendly, and can even be made without refined sugar. So this is a recipe EVERYONE can enjoy as part of Thanksgiving or holiday dinner, whether you serve it as a perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey or dollop it on dinner rolls.
If this is your first time making your own cranberry sauce instead of using the canned cranberry sauce, you’re going to be so pleasantly surprised by how EASY it is to make and how delicious fresh cranberry sauce is! This recipe is loved by my husband’s whole extended family (none of whom are gluten-free!)
Here’s what you need to make our homemade gluten-free cranberry sauce recipe…
Our Easy Gluten-Free Cranberry Sauce Recipe, At A Glance:
Simple Ingredients For Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Most cranberry sauce is naturally gluten-free, since the main ingredients are free from wheat and gluten. Let’s take a look at what goes into this homemade cranberry sauce recipe:
- Fresh Cranberries (Or Frozen Cranberries!). First up is a bag of fresh cranberries. They’ll add beautiful color and delicious flavor to the sauce, but to temper the flavor of the tart cranberries, you’ll need…
- Sugar. Yep, I’m using it. Regular granulated sugar (white sugar) is my go-to for classic cranberry sauce, but you can use light brown sugar, if you prefer. Want a lower-sugar option? Check out the next section below!
- Orange Zest. Adding some of the orange peel adds a lovely citrus flavor that feels balanced and fresh. Aim for JUST the orange peel and not the bitter white pith underneath!
- Orange Juice. Since you’ll already need an orange for the zest, I recommend fresh orange juice here.
- A Tiny Pinch of Salt & Cinnamon. These two little additions add nuance and balance to the flavors. I never skip them!
Want To Cut Down On The Sugar?
I get it! Keep in mind that cranberries are very tart and have a tendency to run bitter. You can absolutely use less sugar if you like, though your sauce may taste more tart or bitter. Here are some options for reducing the sugar:
- Feel free to start with less and add more, if needed!
- Try a naturally sweetened option, like our paleo cranberry sauce sweetened with honey or pure maple syrup!
- Try low-carb sugar substitutes like Swerve. Do NOT substitute coconut sugar or date sugar into this recipe, as neither will work well here.
How To MAke Gluten-Free Cranberry Sauce, Step By Step:
- Rinse & Sort. Start by preparing the cranberries. Rinse the cranberries in a colander, discarding any visibly shriveled, bruised, or damaged cranberries. Drain any extra liquid.
- Combine. Add cranberries to a large or medium saucepan. Add sugar, water, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon, and salt.
- Simmer. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then when it starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low. The cranberries will start to swell and burst as they cook. Cook and stir regularly about 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened somewhat and most of the berries have burst. (The sauce will thicken even more as it cools). Taste and add more sugar, orange juice, or seasoning, as desired.
- Serve and Store. Enjoy right away or chill for later. Store leftover cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Gluten-Free Cranberry Sauce:
Avoid Cross Contamination! If you don’t keep a gluten-free kitchen and are hosting a gluten-free guest, you need to take precautions to keep your guests safe from getting sick. Do not use open bags of ingredients (like sugar) that may have come in contact with flour at some point. (i.e. if you’ve ever used a measuring cup you’ve also used on flour to scoop sugar out of the bag/container, it is not considered Celiac safe anymore!) Use very clean (ideally separate!) tools, containers, and utensils.
Can You Use Frozen Cranberries For Cranberry Sauce? Yes! If you can’t find fresh cranberries at the grocery store, or have a bag of frozen cranberries on hand you can absolutely use them. There is no need to thaw frozen cranberries before making cranberry sauce.
How Do You Thicken Homemade Cranberry Sauce? You just need to cook it down. Simmering over medium-low heat will help the extra liquid evaporate. Keep in mind that cranberry sauce thickens even more as it cools!
Can I Make Cranberry Sauce In Advance?
YES! It’s a great way to get ahead for a big meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas. You have two options:
- Cranberry sauce can be prepared 1-2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Remember it will only last about 5 days total. You can gently warm it in the microwave or on the stove, if desired, before serving.
- Cranberry sauce can also be frozen in advance or stored for later. Freeze in an freezer-safe container or freezer bag up to 2 months. Thaw frozen cranberry sauce in the refrigerator, then warm if desired.
⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star rating and comment below when you make our Gluten-Free Cranberry Sauce recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!Print