Super Easy Vegan Cranberry Sauce

This beautiful jewel-toned vegan cranberry sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy flavors. It's also incredibly easy to make, ready in 15 minutes, with just 3 simple ingredients!
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A bowl of vegan cranberry sauce topped with a spiraled orange peel.
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Can you imagine vegan Thanksgiving dinner without a generous scoop of wiggly-jiggly cranberry sauce? We can’t (and won’t)! If you’re as crazy about cranberries as we are, you’ll jump for joy after tasting this simple 3-ingredient homemade vegan cranberry sauce.

Even though our recipe isn’t shaped like a ribbed, round cylinder, we think you’ll like it berry much! Half the fun of this cranberry sauce recipe is actually making it. You literally just throw a few ingredients into a saucepan and gently simmer until it does its ‘pop and squish’ dance. A few more stirs and it’s ready to go. 

Won’t you join us in making this bright and cheery holiday side? Eat, drink, and cranberry!

Orange Cranberry Sauce World of Vegan

Why This Cranberry Recipe Is So Awesome

There isn’t enough time in the day to tell you all of the reasons why you should make this vegan cranberry sauce recipe. We guarantee that, once you make it, you’ll be wondering why you ever bought it canned. It’s become one of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions to make our own sauce. Your family members will have to take turns every year because they’ll all want to give it a try. 

  • Super fun to make
  • Only takes 15 minutes
  • Deliciously tangy and sweet
  • Customizable and inexpensive
  • Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and nut-free

Star Ingredient – The Charming Cranberry 

It was amazing to discover that cranberries are 90% water. When you think of a high water content fruit, watermelon usually comes to mind, not cranberries. What else is wonderful about this bright red berry?

  • High nutrient and antioxidant content
  • Good source of vitamin C and B vitamins
  • Rich in fiber and vitamin E
  • Consuming cranberries may also help with oral health. The PACs in cranberries prevent bacteria from binding to the surface of teeth. (This only works if they are not sweetened.)
Key ingredients for vegan cranberry sauce with labels.

More Fun Facts About Cranberries

Did you know that cranberries are originally from North America? Now, they grow on over 58,000 acres of farmland across the United States, Canada, and Chile. Isn’t that amazing?

  • Cranberries bounce—who knew?!
  • They don’t grow in “bogs”, but are grown in fields that are flooded with 18 inches of water the night before they are harvested.
  • They were originally called “ibimi” which means bitter berry.
  • 95% of cranberries are sold in cans, as in pre-made cranberry sauce. Only 5% are sold fresh.

Gina’s Tip: Read Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende & Harry Devlin before or on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a fun and charming story for all ages with themes of generosity of spirit and forgiveness. (Just imagine that the dinner features a Tofurky, not a real turkey.)

Vegan Cranberry Sauce Served in a White Bowl for Thanksgiving

Tips for Serving Up Your Homemade Cranberry Sauce

You might be thinking that there’s not much you can do to create a more scintillating cranberry sauce. Lucky for us, you’d be berry wrong. We have a few top notch suggestions for sweetening the deal on this traditionally tangy side.

  • Choose Chunky – If you like your cranberry sauce with a little bit of texture, try in adding some of these tasty tidbits: chopped dates or raisins, sweet dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, fruit preserves (like strawberry, cherry, blueberry, or apricot), or diced mandarin oranges.
  • Spice Suggestions – Spices that work well with this cranberry sauce include cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg or cloves, dried orange or lemon peel, cardamom, and even vanilla powder.
  • Fabulous Fruit Options – You can make more flavors of this cranberry sauce by adding in ½ cup of fresh or dried fruit as you cook the cranberries. A few options are blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and apricots. All are delicious in this sweet and sour sauce.
  • Thanksgiving Sandwich Topping – Put together the best post-Thanksgiving meal by spreading one side of your bread (or this delicious cranberry walnut bread) with this cranberry sauce.. You won’t believe the difference in makes in the flavor. For some reason, adding fruit to a savory sandwich is scrumptious! Definitely give it a try!
Vegan Cranberry Sauce With Oranges Naturally Sweetened With Maple Syrup.

How To Make This Vegan Cranberry Sauce Recipe

When you finally make this recipe, you’ll be high-fiving anyone who comes into the kitchen. Or even calling them in to see how magical the transformation is from a bumbling bowl of cranberries to a luscious, vibrant cranberry sauce. If you love ASMR, the sound of the cranberries popping is like working through a sheet of bubble wrap—so satisfying!

  1. Wash the fruit.
  2. Place the cranberries, maple syrup, orange juice, and zest into the saucepan.
  3. Stir well and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Turn to low and let simmer until the the cranberries pop and the texture becomes thick and glossy, about 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently.
  5. Take the cranberry sauce off of the stove and let cool. Serve immediately or place into a pint sized mason jar and cover. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Enjoy!

Equipment You’ll Need

Very little equipment and even fewer ingredients are essential for a super easy recipe like this one. You could even get away with less if you’re pretty good at eyeballing the maple syrup amount. Consider grabbing a pretty pint mason jar for storing your finished gluten-free cranberry sauce if you won’t be eating it right away. 

Easy Vegan Homemade Cranberry Sauce With Orange Juice and Agave

How To Store Leftover Vegan Cranberry Sauce

Like most vegan cranberry recipes, any leftovers will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3-5 days. Make sure to cover it well so that it doesn’t form that weird, rubbery skin on top. Our guess, though, is that it won’t even last that long and you’ll wish that you’d made more! (Note this for next time! lol)  

Frequently Asked Questions About This Vegan Cranberry Relish

Can you freeze cranberry sauce? 

You might be surprised by this, but yes, you can! Make sure that you use a sealed, freezer-safe container and use up within two months after storing. It can easily be defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. 

How can I make a healthier cranberry sauce?

If you’re sensitive to sweetener or would like a vegan cranberry sauce with no sugar, feel free to leave it out. But, keep in mind that your cranberry sauce will be extremely tart, even with the orange juice added. Consider adding ½ cup of applesauce to the cranberry sauce as it cooks to balance out the tart taste.

Is cranberry sauce vegan?

Generally, most canned cranberry sauce is vegan. The only ingredient you usually have to worry about is gelatin, which is a protein made from boiling animal skin, tendons, or bones in water. 

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipe Cranberry Sauce

More Vegan Berry Recipes To Try

If you try this vegan cranberry sauce recipe, let us know what you think by leaving a comment and rating below! Be sure to follow along on PinterestInstagram and Facebook for even more vegan recipe inspiration.

Super-Easy Vegan Cranberry Sauce

Author: Gina House | World of Vegan
5 from 9 votes
This super-easy vegan cranberry sauce is so much fun to make! In just 15 minutes, you’ll have a gorgeous, jewel-toned side dish with that distinctive sweet and sour flavor. Hearing the pops and crackles as you create your own homemade sauce is such a delicious delight!
A bowl of vegan cranberry sauce topped with a spiraled orange peel.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 cups


  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen whole cranberries
  • Juice and zest of one large orange
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or agave, or fruit-juice sweetened orange marmalade


  • Gently wash and rinse the cranberries and orange. Add the cranberries and maple syrup to the saucepan. Mix well.
  • Zest, cut, and then juice the orange. Add both the zest and the juice to the cranberry mixture. Stir well.
  • Turn heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer. Stir frequently.
  • You’ll hear the cranberries start to pop as the cranberry sauce gets closer to being done. Keep stirring and cooking until the cranberries are completely broken down and the sauce is thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Take off of the heat and bring to room temperature. Taste and add more sweetener, if desired. Enjoy!


  • Sugar-Free Version – If you’re sensitive to sweeteners, feel free to leave them out. But, keep in mind that your cranberry sauce will be extremely tart, even with the orange juice added. Consider adding ½ cup of applesauce to the cranberry sauce as it cooks to balance out the tart taste.
  • Spice Suggestions – Spices that work well with this cranberry sauce include cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg or cloves, dried orange or lemon peel, cardamom, and even vanilla powder.
  • Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and nut-free


Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 0.02g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 0.3IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 0.04mg
Course Side
Cuisine American
Keyword cranberry recipe, cranberry sauce, vegan holiday side dish, vegan thanksgiving side dish recipe

This healthy cranberry sauce recipe and article was written by Gina House. Vegan food photography by JJ Steele. Special thanks to Lisa Light-Abrego.

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    This cranberry sauce is delicious!

  2. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    I need to try this ASAP!

  3. 5 stars
    I wasn’t much of a cranberry sauce person growing up, but this has definitely inspired me and is turning me into a true cranberry sauce lover! It’s now a must-have at my vegan Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving gatherings.

  4. 5 stars
    So happy to share my recipe for cranberry sauce! I never knew how easy and how much fun it was to make cranberry sauce. Now, my husband and I argue over whose turn it is to make it. lol. Much healthier and far more delicious than canned cranberry sauce. Hope you’ll love it!

  5. 5 stars
    This so simple to make and is delicious!! I often add coarse chopped walnuts for added texture. Great recipe! Its going to be right there next to our garlic mashed potatoes. Thanks for this great recipe! xox

  6. Andrea White says:

    5 stars
    Love it! Nothing like cranberry sauce for thanksgiving!

  7. 5 stars
    Such an easy and wonderful recipe for the holidays!

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