The Best Healthy Orange Cranberry Sauce (AIP, Paleo)

The best healthy orange cranberry sauce! Naturally sweetened with maple syrup and hints of warm cinnamon and vanilla, it’s bursting with fresh cranberries it’s the perfect combination of tangy and sweet. It’s also AIP, Paleo and the perfect addition to every Thanksgiving table!

best healthy paleo orange cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce was always my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner growing up. It was sweet and so fun to eat. You know, the kind that’s shaped like the can it came in, and sliced into discs. Everyone in my family loved it. So much, that there were always a few cans in the pantry for turkey dinners all year round. It never occurred to me that like most things, cranberry sauce is even better homemade. 

Once I started eating Paleo though, I realized that canned cranberry sauce is mostly corn syrup, and I had no choice but to try making cranberry sauce myself. But let me tell you, I was hooked! Homemade sauce is perfectly tart, with tints of orange and spices, and just the right amount of sweetness. 

I can’t believe so many Thanksgiving dinners missed out on it! 

Now, I did have to try a couple of different recipes before convincing my cranberry sauce loving family to ditch the store bought version, but this recipe was instantly a huge crowd pleaser! 

This super easy Paleo orange cranberry sauce is made with 6 simple ingredients, and comes together in just 10 minutes. Bursting with fresh cranberries, it’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart, with hints of warm cinnamon and orange. It’s also AIP, Paleo and refined sugar free, and the perfect addition to your turkey dinner!

best healthy cranberry sauce paleo

What’s in the best healthy orange cranberry sauce?

Whole cranberries– Fresh, tart cranberries are what makes this sauce so good! 

Orange Juice and zest- A classic cranberry sauce flavor.

Maple syrup– Naturally sweetens the sauce to balance out the tart cranberries. Honey would also work well. 

Thyme– Fresh thyme pairs wonderfully with the flavors of this sauce. If you don’t have fresh thyme, substitute ¼ tsp of dried. 

Vanilla– The secret ingredient that really brings everything together! Use alcohol free vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder for AIP. 

Cinnamon– This recipe calls for 1 cinnamon stick, but you could substitute ¼ tsp ground cinnamon. 

best homemade healthy cranberry sauce

How to make homemade orange cranberry sauce.

You won’t believe how easy it is to make homemade cranberry sauce! Once you try it, you’ll never go back to buying the canned stuff. All you need is one pot and about 10 minutes. 

To begin, add the cranberries, maple syrup, orange juice and zest, thyme and cinnamon stick to a small pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. 

Once the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn. 

Once most of the cranberries have burst and begin to cook down, mash with the back of a wooden spoon and stir in the vanilla extract. 

Finally, allow the sauce to simmer for 2-3 more minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before serving. Enjoy! 

homemade cranberry sauce

Can cranberry sauce be made ahead of time?

It sure can! This cranberry sauce can be prepared up to 4 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, just bring the sauce to room temperature, or reheat on the stove until warm. 

Can you freeze cranberry sauce?

Yes! Cranberry sauce freezes perfectly, and will last several months stored in an airtight container. Simply defrost overnight in the refrigerator before serving. You can even prepare your cranberry sauce a few weeks before Thanksgiving, and store in the freezer until ready to eat! 

paleo orange cranberry sauce

Tips for serving cranberry sauce. 

Cranberry sauce is a classic holiday side dish, but it’s not just for Thanksgiving!

Enjoy this cranberry sauce…

Spooned on top of meatloaf

In yogurt

Spread on toast as jam

On turkey burgers with sweet potato fries

Dolloped on mashed potatoes

More Holiday Recipes:

Green Bean Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole With Marshmallow Topping

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad With Delicata Squash and Maple Vinaigrette


The Best Healthy Orange Cranberry Sauce (AIP, Paleo)

This delicious orange cranberry sauce is naturally sweetened with maple syrup and has hints of warm cinnamon and vanilla. Bursting with fresh cranberries it’s the perfect combination of tangy and sweet. It’s also AIP, Paleo and the perfect addition to every Thanksgiving table!

  • Author: Molly Leavitt


12 oz fresh cranberries

½ c orange juice

⅓ c maple syrup

1 Tbs orange zest

3 sprigs fresh thyme or ¼ tsp dried

1 cinnamon stick

½ tsp vanilla extract



  1. In a small pot add the cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, maple syrup, thyme and cinnamon and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Once the cranberries are boiling and begin to burst, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally to break up the cranberries
  3. Cook until the sauce is thickened and the cranberries have cooked down.
  4. Remove the thyme and cinnamon stick. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy! 

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