This is the ultimate homemade AIP-friendly, low-carb, and paleo cranberry sauce! Made with apple, this gluten-free and low-sugar recipe takes a twist on the classic version as it uses no orange. It is the perfect sauce for you to serve on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other special occasion dinner!!
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what makes this recipe so good
- Delicious and easy to make - it tastes amazing, is absolutely quick and easy to make plus, it is homemade which makes it way healthier than most storebought sauces (read, no preservatives)! The cloves and cinnamon give this AIP cranberry sauce a delightful flavor and aroma, you will love how good your house smells afterward!
- Low in sugar - compared to conventional cranberry sauce recipes, this recipe is without added sugars and instead relies on the natural sweetness of the apple, clementine, and apple sauce.
- Can be served with a variety of dishes - while I normally make this AIP and paleo cranberry sauce to serve with turkey, we like to sometimes serve ours with chicken, beef, and pork. It also tastes amazing paired up with some baked potatoes so win-win!
- Special-diet suitable - uses all-natural ingredients and is gluten-free, low carb, paleo-compliant, and AIP-friendly. It is, however, not keto because of the fruit used.
aip cranberry sauce ingredients
This is a summary of the ingredients you will need to make aip-friendly cranberry sauce, along with possible substitutions. Detailed measurements have been provided in the recipe card below.
- Cranberries - use fresh or frozen cranberries.
- A cup of peeled and diced apple - any sweet variety such as sweet delicious or gala works well.
- Applesauce - to keep it low carb, I recommend using a no sugar added applesauce.
- Some cinnamon sticks and cloves.
- A clementine and a few clementine peels or rinds for the aroma, but the peels are optional. Feel free to use any type of mandarin in place of the clementine.
- Powdered sugar-free sweetener - this is optional, use it if you prefer to have your sauce sweeter. I like to use monk fruit and allulose.
Tip: While this recipe uses no orange, or orange juice, it still retains the citrusy goodness that we all love from the clementines.
how to make AIP cranberry sauce
The segment below is a summary of how to make this aip-friendly apple sauce. You will the detailed instructions and useful tips in the recipe card provide below.
- Heat a pan or small pot under medium heat. Stir in the cranberries, diced apple, clementine, clementine peels (rinds), applesauce, sweetener (optional), cinnamon sticks and cloves then use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine.
- On low heat, let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries and apples soften.
- Finally, remove the peels and cloves and set them aside then allow the sauce to cool completely before serving. This AIP cranberry sauce pairs up well with roasted turkey, grilled meats, or fish, just to mention a few so just go ahead and pair it up with your favorite mains!
Related recipes: For other flavorful holiday dishes, try our air fryer baked potatoes next!
Here are a few suggestions on how to serve the cranberry sauce!
- with some protein - spoon the sauce over roasted aip turkey or grilled poultry for a festive touch. It also pairs extremely well with pork, such as our air fryer pork chops.
- make stuffing - create or buy AIP-compliant stuffing made with ingredients like cauliflower rice, herbs, and AIP-friendly vegetables. The cranberry sauce will add a tart contrast to the savory stuffing.
- Add it to your breakfast bowls.
- desserts: use it as a topping for desserts like coconut cream or healthy mug cakes.
- AIP Salad Dressing: Mix the cranberry sauce with some olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and herbs to create a tangy AIP dressing.
Take things in your hand and spice up your paleo cranberry sauce! This is the beauty of homemade sauces so by all means, go ahead and experiment with different flavor combinations!
- Sweetener - use an approved low-carb or paleo sweetener, if you prefer your sauce sweeter. Coconut sugar and monk fruit are wonderful AIP and paleo sweeteners that you can also use. Just bear in mind that coconut sugar is not low-carb.
- Rum - stir in about a third of a cup of rum and allow it to simmer with the rest of the ingredients. The alcohol evaporates during the cooking process because of the higher temperatures, so no worries about it messing up your keto diet. And if you are really worried about being kicked out of ketosis then just go ahead and use some rum aroma!
- Flavor variations - use different flavor variations such as vanilla and a slight pinch of nutmeg. A favorite of ours is bourbon.
- Fruit substitutions - Use a cup of chopped pineapples instead of the apples and allow to simmer with the rest of the ingredients (in this case, you may want to keep an eye on the carb count, for low carb as pineapples have a high sugar content).
refregeration and freezing
- Refrigeration- store this AIP cranberry sauce in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 10 days, but make sure to check whether it is still consumable after the first week by looking out for mould or an odd smell.
- Freezing - to freeze, simply transfer the cooled cranberry sauce to a suitable airtight container and keep it in the freezer for up to a year.
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I originally wrote this recipe in 2020. It was updated in November 2021 to a more reader-friendly version.
Low Carb and Paleo Cranberry Sauce with Apple | AIP-friendly
- 20 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen, about 600 grams)
- 1 cup diced and peeled apple (any sweet variety such as sweet delicious or gala)
- ⅓ cup applesauce
- 2 cinnamon sticks (or ½ teaspoon cinnamon)
- 2-4 cloves
- 1 clementine
- ¾ cup monk fruit sweetener - optional, see notes below (or a suitable paleo, low carb or AIP-friendly sweetener)
- clementine peels (optional - for the aroma)
- Heat a skillet or small pot under medium heat. Stir in the cranberries, diced apple, clementine, clementine peels (rinds), applesauce, sweetener (optional), cinnamon sticks and cloves then use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine.20 ounces cranberries, 1 cup diced and peeled apple, ⅓ cup applesauce, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 clementine, ¾ cup monk fruit sweetener - optional, see notes below, clementine peels, 2-4 cloves
- Reduce the heat to a low setting and allow the cranberry sauce to simmer, stirring from time to time. Allow it to cook for about 25 minutes (or until the cranberries and apples are soft and break easily when pressed with the back of a fork).
- Finally, remove the peels and cloves and set them aside then allow the sauce to cool completely before serving. This AIP cranberry sauce pairs up well with roasted turkey, grilled meats, or fish, just to mention a few examples.
- Thicken up the sauce by cooking it longer at low heat. This will give the liquid more time to evaporate and the sauce enough time to thicken up. I also like to thicken my homemade paleo cranberry sauce by making a slurry comprising one tablespoon of arrowroot or tapioca flour with two tablespoons of water. Use xanthan gum or keto-approved gelatine for low-carb.
- To make your sauce chunky, scoop out about a serving spoonful of the cranberry sauce from the pot and set it aside in a small bowl (this is because the ingredients get softer and mushier the longer they cook). Allow the remaining sauce to simmer and spoon in the previously set aside sauce back to the pot, once most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Make the cranberry sauce less thick by simply adding in some liquid (water, apple juice, or orange juice). I would advise you to add the liquid one tablespoon at a time, so it does not get too watery. You can also stir in some more apple sauce.
- The monk fruit sweetener is optional so feel free to omit it or use other sweeteners such as honey if you prefer. You can also use more of it if you like your cranberry sauce sweet.