This apple cranberry sauce is great as a substitute for plain cranberry sauce, served on top of oatmeal, or just to eat plain. The added apples make for a great sugar-free cranberry sauce, sweetened with a bit of optional maple syrup, as an alternative to pre-made or the standard white sugar version.
Serve this with any roast at your holiday table or Sunday dinner, or try it with a roasted vegetable pie or hot water crust pie – both are delicious vegetarian mains for a special meal. You can also use it as a traditional lingonberry sauce substitute and serve with meatballs, Swedish or otherwise!
This is ready in just a few minutes, keeps well for several days, and can be frozen. It’s well worth making yourself and takes hardly any time at all.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Apples: a good cooking apple, like boskoop, is excellent here. You want a fairly sweet apple to avoid the need for adding too much other sweetener in order to balance out the tart cranberries.
- Cranberries: use either fresh or frozen, with no changes to the quantity or timing. Dried cranberries can’t be substituted.
- Maple syrup: or honey, if preferred, or another liquid sweetener. Maple syrup adds a nice flavour combination. Date syrup, for example, is a bit too strong here.
- Coconut oil: older cranberry sauce recipes always add a knob of butter at the end to add richness, and this is following the same concept. Use refined coconut oil to avoid any added coconut taste, or use vegan or dairy butter.
Peeling the apples is an optional step, but it does improve the texture of the sauce. If you prefer to hold onto the higher nutritional benefits of unpeeled apples, leave them as is.
While it is possible to can this recipe using a pressure canner, I can’t provide safe instruction on that and don’t recommend it unless you’re a canning expert. It does not contain enough sugar or acid for regular water bath canning.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Since it doesn’t contain much added sugar, the sauce doesn’t last as long.
Freezing: transfer cooled sauce into an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
- Add extra spices: for something more reminiscent of a chutney, add a pinch of hot pepper and other spices you like – think cardamom, cloves, or black pepper.
- Cook to your preference: if you want the apple to dissolve into the sauce, cook for double the time, until the apples break down fully and are no longer noticeable. This makes for a more traditional looking cranberry sauce.
More Easy Sides
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Apple Cranberry Sauce
- 3 large apples
- 2 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
- 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup optional
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Peel, core and chop the apples. Add the apples, cranberries, maple syrup, lemon juice, and cinnamon to a medium sauce pot.3 large apples, 2 cups cranberries, 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Cook over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency, or even longer if you want the apples to break down completely. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut oil.1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Serve warm or cool fully before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was first published in December 2014. It has been updated most recently as of January 2023.