This healthy keto cranberry sauce recipe is a delicious sugar-free alternative to the traditional condiment. All you need is three ingredients for the base of the sauce to create a thickened texture. Serve with your favorite holiday dishes!
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Homemade cranberry sauce is a must to serve side dish on the holiday table. This is a sugar-free version that doesn’t sacrifice the taste or texture. Simmering fresh cranberries with a non-nutritive sweetener, and some water, will deliver a flavorful sauce that you may not even realize doesn’t have added sugar! I added some orange zest and vanilla extract to add a citrusy note for a more interesting taste.
It only takes under 30 minutes to prepare the sugar-free cranberry sauce. Nowadays, you’ll find many options at the grocery store to swap out sucrose-based sweeteners. I’ll provide options for varieties and how to use them in the recipe. No one should have to miss out on the tangy topping. This is a healthier version that everyone can enjoy!
Fresh cranberries are my top pick to make the sauce. Frozen ones will work well too. You can add them in frozen, it will just take a few extra minutes to cook to melt the ice crystals. For this recipe, I use a 12-ounce bag, which, when cooked down, yields about 1 ½ cups of low-carb cranberry sauce.
Sweeteners used on a keto diet include stevia, monk fruit, allulose, and erythritol. These are all-natural sweeteners. They range in their sweetness level. High-intensity sweeteners like stevia (about 300 times sweeter than sugar) and monk fruit (about 200 times sweeter) need a very small amount to add sweetness. Using too much will taste bitter and have a lingering aftertaste.
Allulose and erythritol are lower in sweetness, about 70% as sweet. They are not digested by the body the same as sugar, making them a low-carb sweetener. Many products in the store are sold as blends to use in recipes like baking, to have bulk and similar sweetness to granulated sugar (sucrose).
I use a powdered sugar-free sweetener because it dissolves quickly into the sauce. It’s a blend of erythritol and monk fruit. However, granulated is also okay to use, but levels need to be adjusted for density. Brands like Lakanto, Swerve, and Truvia sell these low-carb sweetener blends.
Avoid ingredients like cornstarch and maltodextrin on the label, added to keep the sweetener from sticking together. Taste and adjust the sweetener level to your liking. Make sure that the sweetener dissolves!
Simmer the sauce
Add the cranberries, water, sugar-free sweetener, vanilla extract, orange zest, and cinnamon stick to a medium pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. The cranberries will start to pop, releasing the pectin into the water to thicken the sauce. Stir occasionally to distribute the fruit and dissolve the sweetener.
I like to add the zest for a hint of citrus taste from the oils in the orange. The cinnamon stick and vanilla sweet-smelling spices to the sauce. You can omit any seasonings, but they add depth in flavor. Minced ginger or hot peppers are a nice addition to change up the flavor. The process takes about 15 minutes.
This delicious low-carb and keto cranberry sauce can be made 1 week in advance. Cool the sauce, and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for up to three months, then defrosted before you. Now you can use it whenever you like throughout the year!
Serve this with
- Roast turkey
- Slow cooker turkey breast or roast turkey breast
- Green beans with bacon
- Green beans almondine
- Roasted cauliflower steaks
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Even though they are fruit, cranberries are very healthy and keto-friendly. They are low in carbohydrates and fiber. When prepared with a calorie-free sweetener, it makes for a delicious and healthy cranberry sauce.
You can still achieve a thickened cranberry sauce when using a calorie-free sweetener. Pectin is released when the cranberries burst during cooking. This helps to create a gel-like consistency, which becomes thicker as it cools.
It depends on what type of sweetener is used. Sucrose-based sweeteners like granulated or brown sugar, maple syrup, and honey will increase carbs. A calorie-free sweetener like stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, or allulose will add sweetness without the high net carb count.
Why you should use powdered sweetener
For the quickest and easiest dissolving granules, use a powdered sugar-free sweetener instead of a granulated sweetener. This also helps reduce recrystallizing of erythritol in the recipe once the sauce is chilled. If using granulated sweetener, it will be much denser. Instead of using 1 cup, add 2/3 cup. Add more sweetener to taste.
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Keto Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces cranberries, washed
- 1 cup powdered sugar-free sweetener, Lakanto, recommended
- ¾ cup water
- 1 teaspoon orange zest, optional
- 1 cinnamon stick, optional
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
- Add Ingredients – In a medium pan add cranberries, sweetener, water, orange zest, and cinnamon stick.
- Simmer Sauce – Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens to a jam consistency, about 13 to 15 minutes.
- To Serve – Taste the sauce and add more sweetener if desired. Discard the cinnamon stick. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool the sauce before serving.
- Recipe Yield: About 1 ½ cups
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
- Storing: Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Freeze for up to 3 months; defrost before use.
- Sweetener Options: If using granulated sugar-free sweetener, add 2/3 cups. Adjust the level to desired sweetness. Stevia, monk fruit, allulose, and erythritol are acceptable keto-friendly options.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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