Presenting my Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce, a healthy spin on a traditional cranberry sauce! It’s Part 3 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series! (Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you’ve just joined the cooking party!)

A bowl of paleo cran-cherry sauce.

Sweet and sour is one of my favorite flavor combinations. It perfectly describes my personality. And although I never tried cranberry sauce until I began attending the annual Thanksgiving potluck at my in-laws’, I fell hard for it right away. It didn’t matter if I got a dry piece of turkey breast; a dollop of tangy cranberry sauce would make it all better. But sadly, once I started eating Paleo, I had to skip the cranberry sauce altogether. After all, I knew that most recipes are sweetened with LOADS of white sugar.

A collage of cooking steps for paleo cran-cherry sauce.

But this year, I was determined to come up with a Paleo and Whole30-friendly version of cranberry sauce—one inspired by the cranberry-cherry-apple juice blends from my childhood. By themselves, cranberries can be unpalatably bitter and sour. But by adding an equal amount of cherries and simmering the fruit in apple juice, I was able to counter the mouth-puckering tartness of the cranberries with some natural sweetness. Prefer a sweeter sauce? Just a touch of honey will do the trick. And if you make this Cran-Cherry Sauce a day ahead and allow the flavors to meld further, it tastes even better. In fact, you can make this dish a week ahead and it’ll still be awesome!

A pot of cherries and cranberries on the stove.

Time to make paleo cran-cherry sauce!

Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces frozen cranberries
  • 6 ounces frozen sweet cherries
  • ¾ cup apple juice (I like Martinelli’s brand)
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey (optional)

Equipment:

Here’s how to make it:

Measure out the cranberries and cherries…

Measuring out the weight of the cherries and cranberries for paleo cran-cherry sauce.

…and place them in saucepan.

Cherries and cranberries piled in a pot.

(No kitchen scale? Just use half a 12-ounce bag of cranberries and measure out an equal amount of frozen cherries. Easy peasy.)

Pour in the apple juice…

Apple juice measured out in a glass measuring cup.

…minced ginger…

Someone grating ginger over a plate.

Cranberries and cherries in a pot with ginger for paleo cran-cherry sauce.

…and a pinch of salt.

Someone sprinkling salt into a pot filled with cranberries and cherries.

Bring the contents of the pan to a boil over high heat…

A pot of cranberries and cherries coming to boil.

Cranberries and cherries in a pot boiling.

…and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.

Cook the sauce for 8 to 10 minutes or until  it’s thickened and the fruit has broken down.

Cranberries and cherries in a pot cooling and thickening.

Taste for sweetness and add honey if needed.

Someone measuring out honey in a measuring spoon.

Pouring measured honey into the pot of cooled cranberries and cherries for paleo cran-cherry sauce.

If you prefer a smoother sauce, blitz it with an immersion blender!

Someone using an immersion blender to mix the ingredients for paleo cran-cherry sauce together.

Cool to room temperature and serve with your Turkey Day dinner—or better yet, make it up to 5 days in advance and keep it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.

Mixing the ingredients for paleo cran-cherry sauce in a pot with a rubber spatula.

paleo cran-cherry sauce in a bowl.


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).


 PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce

4.93 from 14 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
This Paleo and Whole30-friendly version of cranberry sauce—inspired by the cranberry-cherry-apple juice blends from my childhood—is perfect for your Thanksgiving feast. By themselves, cranberries can be unpalatably bitter and sour. But by adding an equal amount of cherries and simmering the fruit in apple juice, I was able to counter the mouth-puckering tartness of the cranberries with some natural sweetness. Prefer a sweeter sauce? Just a touch of honey will do the trick. And if you make this Cran-Cherry Sauce a day ahead and allow the flavors to meld further, it tastes even better. In fact, you can make this dish a week ahead and it’ll still be awesome!

Ingredients 
 

  • 6 ounces frozen cranberries
  • 6 ounces frozen sweet cherries
  • ¾ cup apple juice I like Martinelli’s brand
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey optional

Instructions 

  • Measure out the cranberries and cherries and place them in saucepan. (No kitchen scale? Just use half a 12-ounce bag of cranberries and measure out an equal amount of frozen cherries. Easy peasy.)
  • Pour in the apple juice, minced ginger, and a pinch of salt.
  • Bring the contents of the pan to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook the sauce for 8 to 10 minutes or until  it’s thickened and the fruit has broken down.
  • Taste for sweetness and add honey if needed. Cool to room temperature and serve with your Turkey Day dinner—or better yet, make it up to 5 days in advance and keep it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.

Notes

Serving size is calculated as 1/4 cup (approximately 1/8 the recipe).

Nutrition

Calories: 42kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.1g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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14 Comments

      1. Wooohooo! Thanks for the clarification. I’ve got frozen, locally picked lowbush (wild) cranberries I picked this fall, but they are SOOO tart. Buying commercially grown cranberries means I won’t have to add so much sweetener.

  1. Creative and healthy alt to canned cranberry. Thank you! I’m following your thanksgiving timeline — and making this today!

  2. This sounds perfect, only I cannot find frozen cranberries anywhere, only frozen cherries. Can I cook this with fresh cranberries and frozen cherries—if so how?

  3. 5 stars
    Michelle, I’ve looked at this recipe over and over, and I just couldn’t imagine it being better than the orange-and-cranberry-relish recipe (with about 1/2 the sugar called for), so even this year, as I decided I’d try it because every one of your recipes are amazing, I also made the relish first, and put it in the refrigerator. I was so wrong! From now on I’m using your recipe. It’s so much better than any other, and now, as I’m writing this, I have another pot of it on the stove so I can freeze it in 1 cup ball jars for other times. Thank you so much!😊

  4. 5 stars
    Amazing Cran-Cherry sauce, I have been making it for more than 7 years. My husband loves it so much that asked me to double up on the recipe. Thanks for such a great healthy version of cranberry sauce.

  5. 5 stars
    I still love the old cranberry orange uncooked relish but no one else does. They all prefer the store bought jelled sauce. But EVERYONE loved this cherry-cranberry sauce version!! I did use a bit more honey, maybe 3T. This will be a standard part of all our future holiday meals.

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve made this for the past 2 Thanksgivings. It’s so good! I love that it’s tart. I don’t add honey but like that you include it as an option.