Skip to Content

Cranberry Applesauce

Please share

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!     

wooden spoon filled with red cranberry applesauce held over pot of sauce.

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. 

hand sprinkling cranberries into pan with diced apples.

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. 

Cranberry applesauce ingredients in saucepan ready to cook

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I originally made this recipe back in 2016 to bring to our Thanksgiving dinner.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?

small bowl of cranapplesauce in front of saucepan of freshly made sauce.

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.

spoonful of crimson cranapple sauce

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.

jar of cranberry apple sauce next to serving in bowl.

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.

For more fun fruity sauces, check out my recipe for strawberry rhubarb applesauce or rosy applesauce with red hots. They are both tasty twists on classic applesauce.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card.

wooden spoon filled with red cranberry applesauce held over pot of sauce.

Cranberry Applesauce

Servings: 24 Servings (about 1/2 gallon)
Author: Carlee
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 jar. You will find it pairs well with pork and chicken as well.
5 from 14 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 3-4 pounds cooking apples peeled and sliced
  • 12 oz cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Place ingredients in a large heavy bottomed pot.
    3-4 pounds cooking apples, 12 oz cranberries, 2 Tablespoons orange juice, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ cup light brown sugar, 1 cup water, 1 pinch salt
  • 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.



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 61kcalCarbohydrates: 16gSodium: 8mgFiber: 2gSugar: 12g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Loved this recipe?Pin this recipe for later & follow @cookingwcarlee for more

Please share

Recipe Rating

Andrea Nine

Monday 12th of October 2020

I’m here for it! Yum! I’m going to show my Mom this recipe as she was just talking about making applesauce.And she loves cranberries.


Tuesday 20th of October 2020

Perfect timing then! I hope she gives it a go!


Sunday 4th of December 2016

I love a slightly sweet, slightly tart cranberry sauce with turkey on Thanksgiving, it adds a great depth to the flavor combination. I never thought about adding apples to reduce the amount of sugar, this is brilliant! I am definitely pinning this for next Thanksgiving, or even sooner, love fresh cranberry sauce! Thanks.


Monday 5th of December 2016

I hope you give it a try and love it! It's nice to have a fresh side on the plate mixed in with all of the rich ones ;-)

Frugal Hausfrau

Sunday 27th of November 2016

I saw this on twitter and was wowed! I love the idea of apple in this - I like a good tart bit of cranberry sauce, but let's face it = there's always so much and so much leftover I don't think I'd have that problem with this dish!


Sunday 27th of November 2016

Thank you! It does make quite a bit. We love to freeze our apple sauce and I can't see why that wouldn't work for this. Though I am thinking of making some baked oatmeal with my leftovers instead!


Saturday 26th of November 2016

That was perfection.


Saturday 26th of November 2016

Thank you!


Saturday 26th of November 2016

So delicious! Now this is a cranberry sauce I'd want to eat!


Saturday 26th of November 2016

Me too, thanks!