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Home » My Favorite Chunky Cranberry Sauce – The Best Gluten Free Thanksgiving Side Dish

My Favorite Chunky Cranberry Sauce – The Best Gluten Free Thanksgiving Side Dish

gluten free cranberry sauce side dish for Thanksgiving

Have you ever wondered what to do with those beautiful fresh cranberries available in the store during the holidays?

Are you ready for a chunky, sweet and tart fruit side dish for Thanksgiving that will blow canned Thanksgiving sauce out of the water?

Your friends and family will be so impressed when you show up with the best cranberry sauce ever.

This is truly the most delicious cranberry sauce I’ve ever had – and it is SO easy to make that starting when he was just 5 year olds, my oldest started making this easy cranberry sauce recipe mostly on his own  (he did need some help with peeling and cutting). 

Once you’ve had this slightly chunky cranberry sauce made from scratch, it’s hard to go back to the blob in a can!

Not only is this an awesome Thanksgiving side dish to serve with your meal, but you can do so much with it afterward! 

Try serving it over Belgian waffles. Or warm it back up and spoon it over ice cream.

One year I made after-dinner cocktails by adding about 1 Tablespoon of this sauce to the bottom of a champagne flute and topping it off with Prosecco.

Frequently Asked Questions about Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Are you a “just give me the recipe!” kind of person? That’s cool! Scroll straight to the bottom of the page to get to the plain text, printable recipe without pictures or commentary!

Is Cranberry Sauce Gluten Free?

The answer to this question really depends on where you got your cranberry sauce.

Is this cranberry sauce recipe gluten free?

Yes! This recipe is naturally gluten-free!

Keep in mind that how gluten-free or celiac-safe food is, is subject to you choosing gluten free ingredients and following gluten-free and celiac safe practices (not cross contaminating your cooking surface, etc).

Are most homemade cranberry sauces gluten-free?

Most homemade cranberry sauce is gluten free. But when in doubt, be sure to ask the person who made it for a list of ingredients to make sure it does not contain wheat, barley, or rye based ingredients.

What store-bought cranberry sauce is gluten free?

These store-bought brands are self-labeled as gluten-free (as of November 2023):

Store-bought brands of cranberry sauce that do not list any gluten-containing ingredients on their labels (in November 2023) but do not appear to make any specific “gluten free” claims include:

Is Cranberry Sauce Vegan?

Creative Green Living’s cranberry sauce recipe is naturally vegan.

In fact, most cranberry sauce recipes will be naturally vegan.

How far in advance can you make cranberry sauce?

This cranberry sauce recipe will keep in an airtight covered container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.

Can Chickens Eat Cranberry Sauce?

Normally oranges are on the no-go list for chickens. But in this case, you aren’t feeding them huge pieces of orange. 

Cranberries and apples are good, chicken-safe foods. I don’t normally feed my chickens a lot of high sugar foods. But just like human children, small amounts of high sugar foods aren’t going to hurt them.

Would I feed my chickens a regular, steady diet of only or mostly cranberry sauce? No.

Is it ok to feed them leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving? Absolutely!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 bag (16 oz) fresh cranberries
  • Zest, juice and pulp of 1 orange
  • 1 organic apple

Fresh Cranberry Sauce Step-by-Step Directions:

Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe Step 1: Dissolve Sugar in Orange Juice

Add your orange juice and sugar to a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and stir until sugar dissolves.

how to make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries and orange juice

Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe Step 2: Rinse and Sort the Cranberries

Pour your cranberries into a colander. Rinse and pick out any smooshed or ugly berries. 

Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe Step 3: Zest and Juice the Orange
While berries are cooking, zest the orange. 

Add the nice berries to the pan and stir to coat in OJ.

Cut the orange in half and squeeze the halves by stabbing the center with a fork and pressing orange halves around it. 

Scrape out some of the orange pulp and add it to the pan. Add zest, juice and pulp from the orange half to pan and stir together with the cranberries.

what to do with fresh cranberries - make fresh cranberry sauce with apples and oranges

Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe Step 4: Add apple

While berries continue to simmer, peel, core and chop an apple into small pieces (I like Granny Smith – but use what you have!). 

Once most of the berries have burst, add apple pieces to pan and stir.

Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe Step 5: Finish cooking

Cook for 5 more minutes then remove from heat. Most of the berries should be popped And the apples will be pink or red instead of white.

what to do with cranberries - vegan and gluten free cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries

Fresh Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe Step 6: Serve

Serve warm over waffles or ice cream. 

If using for a condiment on Thanksgiving to go with turkey, allow to stand for about 15 minutes, then pour mixture into a bowl or ramekins and refrigerate until ready to serve.

how to make fancy homemade cranberry sauce
Carissa Bonham

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