A new cranberry sauce

A new (to me) cranberry sauce that is low on sugar, uniquely spiced, and super yummy.

This may be untimely since Thanksgiving is over, but I found a super yummy cranberry sauce this year that I want to share. Perhaps you will have another turkey later this holiday season and can try it out, or save it for next year. Most sauces are filled with sugar and I just cannot bear to make them anymore. We have a cranberry sauce that has been in the family for a long time and I feel a bit wrong ending the tradition, but it has a bunch of refined white sugar and a jar of jam. But cranberry sauce is something I really enjoy, and my body and mind will feel much better if I avoid all that sugar. 

So here it goes, recipe found on the Splendid Table. I made it with the following changes: I used less than half the honey, I added ground cardamom because I did not have pods, I did not include the candied ginger and think I prefer it without, and I used a few shakes of dried orange peel because I did not have an orange. In addition to enjoying the lack of sugar, it also has a wonderfully yummy flavor with the spices. Unique, and may not please everyone – but the best things never do. 


  • 12-ounce bag of cranberries, bruised ones discarded, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2- to 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Zest from 1 orange, about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, optional


Bring the cranberries, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, nutmeg, cloves, and 3/4 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cover the mixture and allow it to simmer on medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cranberries are just beginning to burst and you notice the mixture thickening.

Add the orange zest, chopped candied ginger, and Grand Marnier and stir to combine. Simmer uncovered for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. The trick is to not allow the mixture to simmer so long that all of the cranberries are bursting or softening. You don’t want your sauce to be too mushy — I always pull it from the heat once a few cranberries begin to pop and the liquid is mostly absorbed (it will continue thickening off of the heat source as well).

Using a small kitchen spoon, scoop out the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. The cardamom pods should have lightened in color significantly and should be easy to find. Transfer the sauce to a shallow bowl and let it cool completely.

It may be made several days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. Best served at room temperature.