Sweet, tart, and zingy!  Everything you want in a cranberry experience.  -PLUS- this recipe is full of so many health benefits, you’ll never go back to the canned jelly junk.

Cranberries are packed full of antioxidants. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, prevent certain types of cancers, help with UTIs, lower blood pressure, and offer improved immune function.  Then, when you add in the extra boost of vitamin C from oranges, more antioxidant properties and fiber from apples, and the myriad of benefits of cinnamon, you could call this delish side dish a healthy dessert option filled with vitamin Y(um).

Through the years I’ve blended several recipes, and this is the final version.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I make some tweaks here and there, depending on my mood when I’m making it.  Read on for the general recipe and ways to modify it.


24 ounces fresh cranberries (usually 2 bags)

1 large diced apple (you can peel it or leave the skin on, your choice)

1 ½ cups orange juice

½ cup water

⅔ cup brown sugar 

½ cup maple sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 oranges, diced (save the peels and chop them into small pieces)

1-inch section of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into small pieces


*Wash and strain the cranberries, picking off any stems and removing any yucky berries.

*In a large saucepan, over medium heat add orange juice, water, and brown sugar.  Stir to help the brown sugar dissolve for just a minute or two.

*Add the cranberries to the pot and bring to a low and slow boil, stirring every now and then.  

*The cranberries will begin to pop open, which is a good thing.  After most of them have popped, add in the apples, oranges, orange peel, ginger, maple syrup, and cinnamon.  Stir to blend all that goodness.

*Cook on medium-ish heat for five minutes or so, until the sauce thickens.  Taste the sauce to see how sweet it is for your liking, and add in more of either the syrup or brown sugar if needed.  Just be sure you’re not too heavy-handed.

*Remove from heat and let cool.  

*Once the sauce has cooled down, transfer it to a big bowl and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.  

This can definitely be prepared a few days before you’re ready to eat it, so feel free to let the flavors meld together in your fridge before the holiday.

Ways to modify:

*I’ve added in fresh pomegranate seeds to this in the past and it was so good!

*You can omit the ginger if you’re not a fan, same thing with the oranges or orange zest (peel).

*Swapping out Clementines for oranges works as well, as does using one orange and two Clementines.  

*For a lower glycemic index, swap out the brown sugar for coconut sugar.  I’m not sure of the ratio on that versus the brown sugar, so start on the lower side of the measurement and then add more coconut sugar, a teaspoon at a time, until you’ve reached your desired sweetness.

*To be fancy, buy extra oranges.  Cut the oranges in half, carefully remove the inner fruit bit while leaving the peel intact, and then use that peel half circle as the bowl for each guest.  Bonus points if you also add a tiny bit of orange zest to the top of each serving.  #swanky

While this is traditionally used as a holiday side dish, I’m pretty sure it would be bombtastic served on top of a bit of vanilla ice cream as well. 😉

Serves 10