Naturally Sweetened Honey Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry sauce in glass bowl
skhoward/Getty Images
Total Time: 15 min
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Servings: 8 servings

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

82 calories
0g fat
22g carbs
0g protein
Show Nutrition Label Hide Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 servings
Amount per serving  
Calories 82
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 74mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 19g  
Includes 17g Added Sugars 34%
Protein 0g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 43mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Cranberry sauce is a beloved Thanksgiving mainstay that lends bright, fruity color and flavor to the holiday table, especially when it's made with fresh cranberries. Although many cranberry sauce recipes are loaded with sugar, they don't have to be. In fact, our cranberry sauce recipe is naturally sweetened—but still super delicious and easy to make.

As a bonus, our version is one of the simplest homemade cranberry sauce recipes out there. It can be made in a mere 15 minutes. The trick is replacing the sugar with honey, a natural sweetener. The end result has the thickness of pudding and tastes like a cranberry dream.

This honey cranberry sauce is for the purist. There are no spices, no orange peel, no juice, essentially nothing extra—just a bright celebration of cranberry flavor.

This recipe requires just four simple ingredients—whole cranberries, honey, water, and salt. Even better, our recipe provides the perfect base. So, if you prefer a hint of citrus (add a little lemon or orange zest and/or squeeze in the juice of a tangerine) or the warmth of spices (throw in a cinnamon stick or two), simply make some additions. 

If you want something even more jazzed up, try a cranberry chutney by adding in half of the cranberries (roughly chopped) in the last five minutes of simmering to end up with a chunkier mixture—the variations are endless. Plus, while this naturally sweetened cranberry sauce is perfect with turkey, it's also a hit over yogurt or ricotta cheese for breakfast, spread on bread or a muffin for a snack, or to accompany cheeses and nuts as a dessert.


  • 1 (12-ounce bag) cranberries (fresh or frozen, no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Rinse and pick through cranberries to remove stems and any soft or browned berries. Then, put cranberries in a pot on the stove.

  2. Add honey, water, and salt. Stir, and bring to a boil over medium heat.

  3. Stir frequently. The cranberries will pop and release their "gel"—then, the sauce comes together like magic. Cook down until the sauce is the consistency you want, usually about 5 to 10 minutes more. The longer you go, the thicker it will become.

Variations and Substitutions

If you don't have honey on hand or prefer not to use it, you can use maple syrup as the natural sweetener. Alternatively, you can eliminate the water and use one half cup of apple cider or orange juice instead. Another option is to add in raisins, dried cherries, chopped nuts, hunks of peeled apple slices, and/or diced orange sections (remove the membrane around each segment, if desired).

More Cranberry Recipes

If you want to enjoy more cranberry dishes this holiday season, try these healthy options:

  • AB&C Oat Cookies: These almond, banana, and cranberry cookies pack fiber, antioxidants, and cinnamon into a tasty treat.
  • Kale and Cranberry Salad: A punchy mustard vinaigrette and hearty walnuts elevate this iron-rich, cranberry-studded salad.

Rate this Recipe

You've already rated this recipe. Thanks for your rating!
Was this page helpful?