Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Maple

Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Maple - naturally sweetened and paleo!

Last week, my mom and I were sitting in a Sri Lankan restaurant planning Thanksgiving dinner, and I was being a bit of a pill.  She’s nodding her head right now, like “yes, yes you were.”

While I was mowing through some peanut sauce-drenched spring rolls and suggesting we go to Sri Lankan food for Thanksgiving instead of cooking, she was all, “let’s make homemade cranberry sauce.” And I was all, “no, that’s stupid.” It’s a good thing my mother has unconditional love for me.

Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Maple - naturally sweetened and paleo!

But then I got to thinking. I freaking love cranberry sauce. I could eat it by itself, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with having leftovers for adding to my oatmeal. Tell me we’re making homemade cranberry sauce, and I’ll tell you what I’m eating on my oatmeal. It’s cranberry sauce.

Me, being the refined sugar-averse person that I am, decided to try my hand at a naturally sweetened cranberry sauce. So I decided upon using pure maple syrup instead of sugar. And doing more thinking, I was all, “ginger and cardamom would be %^&$-ing awesome (said in an Australian accent) in cranberry sauce, so I’m going to go ahead and do that too.”

Do you see where this is going? It’s going in the direction of Holy Flip Me Upside Down and Sauce Me cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Maple - naturally sweetened and paleo!

All I did was put all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook them. Nothing complicated. If you’re worried about this sauce taking up too much of your time, don’t. Set a timer and go to the grocery store while it’s cooking. That’s what I did.

Do note that the sauce will thicken after it sits in the refrigerator (and become more flavorful!), so I suggest this as a make-ahead Thanksgiving item. Hence the reason for giving this recipe to you on Monday instead of Thursday. Make it. Ahead of time.


We already know I have a deep-seeded hatred for 7-Up salad, which we are not making this year (thank the law). So what are we having for Thanksgiving besides this cranberry sauce?

We are making Maple Orange Mashed Potatoes from Alexis (who I apparently have a monster lady crush on, because I seem to be making a lot of her recipes lately), balsamic roasted root vegetables, some form of biscuit-y type thing, stuffing – which my mom pointed out needs to be “bread” stuffing, at which point I smirked, “as opposed to quinoa stuffing?” and she nodded and kept talking about the bread stuffing. And later, like a real champ, I pinterested “quinoa stuffing” to see if it’s a thing, and it totally is. Tail between legs. Love you, mom – and a kick ass turkey, of course.

I don’t even want to think about dessert. But if I did want to think about dessert, I’d be making Stephie’s Streusel-Topped Sweet Potato Pie. Love me that streusel!


That’s what we’re doing. How about you? You have your cranberry sauce base covered, what else are you going to make?  Hopefully you’ve thought this through over Sri Lankan food.

Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Maple - naturally sweetened and paleo!

Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Maple

Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Julia


  • 2 10- ounce bags frozen cranberries
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 lime juiced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups pure maple syrup
  • 1-1/4 cups water


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to a full boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil and allow the sauce to cook, uncovered until thickened, about 30 minutes.
  3. Allow sauce to cool before transferring it to large jars or a Tupperware container.
  4. Store in the refrigerator, or freeze for later use.
  5. Eat it on your turkey for Thanksgiving or put it in your oatmeal!

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  1. Julie

    At first (since it’s early in the morning and I’m not completely awake), I was thinking you were on vacation with your mom and in a restaurant in Sri Lanka. Then it kicked in that you were here in the old US of A and eating out. Sigh. Then and again, the middle of the cornfield thinks we’re all global because we have a Chinese restaurant. I’m not even kidding. Hope you have a wonderful turkey day–we’re heading to Indiana and feasting on my sister-in-law’s food with some sweet potato biscuits and brown sugar fudge thrown in by Stephie and pecan raisin pies, courtesy of me, because if don’t bring those pies, my brother won’t let me in the house. I was all about wanting to make that sweet potato pie (which is DELICIOUS, by the way), but he insisted on two of the same pie. Sigh. Brothers. Meanwhile, we celebrate a certain girl’s 25th birthday on Thursday. Happy birthday pie, anyone? Enjoy your week. xoxo

    1. Julia Post author

      It’s probably more the fact that I was unclear where exactly on the planet we were, as opposed to you not being awake…when I re-read my first paragraph, I was like, “I’m in Sri Lanka? COOL!”

      Your Thanksgiving sounds delicious. Can we do one of those things where I go to my Thanksgiving for a while and then I hop over to yours? Your brother was smart with the 2 pecan pie thing, cause I could down one all to myself 😉 I feel a serious food coma coming! YAAAAAY for Stephie turning a quarter century old!!!!

      1. Julie

        Ooo! Yeah. Let’s do the turkey day hop, as long as we can hop together. We’ll discuss our food while we gobble it down. 😉 You can have Alex’s piece of pie, since he doesn’t eat dessert. (What???? Crazy stuff).

        1. Stephie @ EYHO

          Seriously. Come par-tay with us! We are already going to have my 94-year-old grandfather (daddy’s dad) kicking it with us, so one more person can’t hurt! And really, SOMEone needs to come appreciate the piece of pie that Alex will ignore.

  2. Reba- Not So Perfect Life

    I bought a pound of fresh cranberry’s this morning and was looking for a low sugar recipe. Thanks. I hope my boyfriend loves this as much as his momm’a recipe. Maybe I will not tell him that I didn’t follow her recipe…..


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