Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

This Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce is the most delicious and easiest homemade cranberry sauce you’ll ever make. It’s simple, with just four ingredients and one pot needed. Oh, and there’s no refined sugar!

a ceramic bowl of apple cider cranberry sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce adds such a special element to a holiday spread, and it doesn’t get easier (or tastier!) than this Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce.

You only need four simple ingredients – fresh cranberries, apple cider, applesauce, and maple syrup. And because we’re using maple syrup instead of cane sugar, it’s refined sugar-free.

The recipe itself also cannot get simpler – literally throw everything into a pot, boil, then simmer until thickened.

Oh, and if that’s not enough? Cranberry sauce is the perfect make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish. You can literally make it the weekend before Thanksgiving and it’ll be great on Thanksgiving Day!

Need more Thanksgiving sides? Try these miso veggies, asiago mashed potatoes, and prosciutto green beans.

Why This Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce Recipe is SO Good!

  • Only 4 ingredients
  • Refined sugar-free
  • Throw everything into a pot
  • 15 minutes on the stove
  • Great to make ahead
  • Sweet, tart, and totally delicious!

Ingredients Needed

For a full ingredient list with quantities, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

ingredients to make apple cider cranberry sauce
  • Fresh Cranberries are a must in homemade cranberry sauce!
  • Apple Cider adds flavor and sweetness and is the liquid that everything simmers in.
  • Apple Sauce, even unsweetened, adds more sweetness, enriches the apple flavor, and helps thicken the cranberry sauce even more.
  • Maple Syrup is the sweetener of choice, adding a delicious maple flavor without any refined sugar.

Step-by-Step Directions

For complete instructions, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

ingredients in a saucepan to make apple cider cranberry sauce
  1. Place all ingredients in the pot, boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Cool and enjoy!

Substitutions & Variations

  • Swap the liquid – apple juice can be used instead of apple cider, or you can totally change it up and opt for something like orange juice, instead.
  • Change the sweetener – the maple really adds a beautiful flavor here, but you can use honey, if that’s your preference.
  • Add sweet flavor by adding vanilla or cinnamon.
  • Give it some zing by adding grated ginger.
  • Add citrus flavor with orange or lemon zest.
overhead picture of apple cider cranberry sauce

Make Ahead

Cranberry sauce is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish to make ahead – and this apple cider cranberry sauce is no exception.

You can make it as early as the weekend before Thanksgiving, and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Alternatively, if you’re really pressed for time, you can freeze it, too!

Storage, Freezing, & Reheating

  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
  • Freezing: Once completely cooled, transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
  • Reheating: While cranberry sauce can be enjoyed chilled, you can reheat it in a saucepan over medium-high heat until warmed through. If it’s too thick, add an extra tablespoon or two of apple cider, apple juice, or water.

Supplies You’ll Need

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More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love

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a ceramic bowl of apple cider cranberry sauce

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

This Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce has four ingredients and no refined sugar! It's the best, easiest homemade cranberry sauce you'll ever make!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment, Dip, Sauce, Side Dish, Spread
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 94kcal
Author: Lindsey Janeiro, RDN



  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup apple cider


  • Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil
    12 ounces fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 cup apple cider
  • Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the berries have popped and mixture has thickened, the sauce is down.
  • Turn the heat off and let cool 10-15 minutes (the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).
  • Serve warm or chilled – your preference! Enjoy!


Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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