Cranberry applesauce is the perfect way to enjoy these fall fruits together. It is colorful and perfect served alongside pork or chicken. It will be great on your Thanksgiving menu as well!
This applesauce has the magic of cranberries mixed right in. Not only do they lend their crimson color, but a great tart burst that is will keep your taste buds dancing. This is a great snack, would be perfect stirred into a bowl of oatmeal or served as a side dish.
Your Thanksgiving table is begging for this fabulous recipe instead of cranberry sauce from a can. You will find it pairs well with pork and chicken as well.
Cranberries and apples are such a wonderful combination. The sweet and tart can go together in so many ways, including cranberry apple crisp which is a fabulous fall dessert!
This wonderfully easy to make homemade applesauce with cranberries is a great example. Plus it is super versatile as it can be served as a stand alone snack, or as a side dish to so many entrees.
It would also be wonderful mixed into a little yogurt or oatmeal at breakfast time. The possibilities are really endless.
You can customize the final sauce to your liking. I love a good chunky applesauce, so I just mash the softened apples and cranberries with a potato masher.
If you want a smoother sauce, I find the easiest way to accomplish that is an immersion blender. They are handy because you can use them right in the pot, there’s no transferring of hot liquid or extra dirty dishes.
You can also put the cooked sauce into a food processor or blender to get it smooth. Just be careful because it is definitely hot!
I originally made this recipe back in 2016 to bring to our Thanksgiving dinner. I had never been a fan of the cranberry sauce in the can, so I was looking for ways to make getting cranberries on the plate more palatable.
This applesauce version of cranberry sauce is a great way to win over even cranberry skeptics. I know it won me over and I’ve been getting more and more into cranberries ever since.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy cranberries?
More Fun Recipes Featuring Cranberries:
If you love cranberries, check out my mini cranberry cheese balls. They are a mix of some of my favorite salad toppers in cute little appetizer form!
For dessert, try some cranberry and dark chocolate oatmeal cookies. They have a sophisticated flavor that will bring interest to your holiday cookie trays.
Or to take your sandwich game to the next level, make some of my friend Tisha’s turkey sliders. They have pesto and dried cranberries that add so much flavor!
3 ingredient orange cranberry relish is such an easy side dish. It is a great colorful make ahead addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas menu.
Can I Leave the Sugar Out of This Apple Cranberry Sauce Recipe?
Cranberries are super tart, so I wouldn’t advise it. Using the half cup of brown sugar in the recipe still leaves a bit of bite in the finished sauce.
You could try subbing in honey or maple syrup for a more natural source of sweetness if that is your preference. I would use a half cup of maple syrup, but you may be able to get away with a third of a cup of honey.
You can start with less sugar and adjust it to your tastes at the end. I don’t use sugar substitutes, but I am sure you could try your favorite as long as it is meant to be cooked.
It also depends somewhat on the apples you use. If you start with sweeter apples, you may need less sugar. If you are using tart apples and tart cranberries, you will need something to help balance that out.
What Apple Are Best for Making Applesauce?
Applesauce is pretty forgiving. You can get away with using most any apples, however softer apples will make the process go faster and easier.
Our local apple orchard always has pecks of seconds or B grade apples for cheaper than the really pretty apples. They are perfect for making applesauce or this cran-applesauce!
This is a great way to use up some gala or McIntosh apples. I also like using Jonathan or Jonagold apples for applesauce.
Of course you can use honeycrisp if you’d like, but those almost always get eaten out of hand at our house. Really just about any apple variety works.
How do I store my cranberry applesauce?
Just like regular applesauce, you want to store your cranberry applesauce in the refrigerator for up to a week to ten days. For longer storage, you can freeze it for several months.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card.
- 3-4 pounds cooking apples peeled and sliced
- 12 oz cranberries
- 2 Tablespoons orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- pinch of salt
- Place ingredients in a large heavy bottomed pot.
- Stir occasionally as it comes to a boil over medium heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer, covered for about 15 minutes or until the apples are soft enough to mash with a potato masher.
- Mash to your desired consistency or use an immersion blender for a smoother finished product.
- Taste and add a little more sugar or a few drops of honey if a sweeter sauce is desired.
- Serve warm or cold. Store in the refrigerator.