Cranberry apple sauce is the perfect combination of tart fresh cranberries, juicy apples, bright oranges, and sweet honey. If you like sweet and tart flavors, this is the best cranberry sauce variation for you. This homemade cranberry sauce recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It has a splash of orange juice and you control the flavors with more or less honey added. You will love this cranberry apple sauce that it will be something you crave all year round.
I will admit I am not a huge cranberry sauce fan and that is why I decided I needed to learn how to make this homemade. I know that Ocean Spray canned jelly or whole cranberry sauce may be what your family buys but try this homemade recipe for something a whole lot better. The beauty of this combination is that it is not as tart as traditional cranberry sauces - thank you, apples - thank you, honey! With just a few ingredients, the perfect homemade cranberry apple sauce is ready in less than 30 minutes.
There is no long boil method when you use an Instant Pot or any pressure cooker. I am a big fan of my Instant Pot and was not sure I would be at first when I got it. But it is recipes like this that really save me a lot of time that make it a constant winner in my household. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can still make this cranberry apple sauce - but I highly recommend purchasing one and keeping your eyes out for deals that may happen around the holidays.
Why Make Homemade Cranberry Apple Sauce
Why settle for canned cranberry sauce or jelly when you can have homemade that is so easy and economical? Here are all the reasons you should make this homemade versus buying the can:
- You control the ingredients - buy organic or local ingredients if available
- You control the sweetness - add less or more honey to get it to your liking
- It is so easy
- A great recipe to get your kids involved helping out with
- You can make large or small batches
- Pride in something homemade
- It makes the house smell amazing
- It doesn't come out in the shape of a can - though my brother and I still think it is funny to serve canned solid food standing upright - "Tada, presenting the tower of cranberry jelly!"
What is Cranberry Sauce Used For?
There are so many uses for cranberry or cranberry apple sauce. It is not just for Thanksgiving dinner and leftover turkey sandwiches anymore. It is found in all sorts of recipes and served any time of day and with any meal. Here are some great ideas on how to use your cranberry apple sauce.
- Thanksgiving dinner - obviously
- Condiment for many types of meat such as chicken, turkey, pork tenderloin, venison, etc
- Use in desserts, like cranberry cream cheese bars
- As an appetizer, smothered over baked brie and crackers
- For breakfast, bake into muffins or spread on scones
- For lunch, blend with oil and vinegar to make a salad dressing
- Snack time, combine with cream cheese for a dip or spread https://theshortordercook.com/holiday-cranberry-cheese-spread/
- Any time, top fresh or frozen greek yogurt
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Apple Sauce
This recipe needs only 4 ingredients:
- fresh cranberries
- an orange
- honey, by taste
Place the fresh cranberries in a colander and rinse. Pick through them to ensure they are all good. Core the apples and dice into large chunks. I leave the skins on as there are a lot of vitamins in the skins and we like our cranberry sauce a bit chunky. If you like yours smooth you can still leave the skins on as the final step in this is using an immersion blender to blend; therefore, you can make this as smooth or chunky as you like.
Juice the orange and put it into a measuring cup. Top off the orange juice with water to fill the measuring cup to equal ¾ cup of total liquid. Do not worry that you need a full 1 cup for this - the apples and cranberries will begin to release their own juices so this is enough liquid to keep the pot from burning.
In the insert of your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, add the cranberries, apple chunks, and the orange juice liquid. Just look at those bright colors. You know something good is going to come from these fresh and wholesome ingredients.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot and ensure it is set to seal. Lock in place and select MANUAL and set the timer to 8 minutes. It should take less than 10 minutes to come to pressure. After the 8 minutes cook time has completed, let the Instant Pot naturally release for 10 minutes. Then push the lid valve to release the remaining pressure if there is any - be careful the steam will be hot. Once the lid releases, open and you should see a very chunky fruit mixture and your house will smell amazing!
To blend, I remove about ½ cup of the cranberries as is - nice and chunky. I then use my immersion blender inside the insert to blend the remaining of the cranberry apple mixture until smooth. I just love my immersion blender for soups and apple sauce. If you do not have one, I highly recommend one since it is small, inexpensive, and really saves time and clean up from using a regular blender. Once at my desired thickness, I add the chunky cranberries back in and stir.
Next measure ½ C of honey, add to the cranberry apple sauce and stir. Taste to see if it is your desired tart or sweetness. Add ¼ C more at a time until your desired taste. The sweetness of the apples you use and how tart the cranberries are will determine how much or how little honey you need. I ended up needing ¾ C since our homegrown apples are pretty tart. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 30 days.
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Instant Pot (pressure cooker) Cranberry Apple Sauce
- pressure cooker
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 2 medium apples cored & chopped
- 1 orange juiced
- ½ - 1 C honey
- Rinse cranberries in a colander and pick through them to ensure they are all good. (they should be firm and red)
- Core and cut the apples into large chunks.
- Juice the orange and pour it into a measuring cup. Top the juice off with water to make for ¾ cup of total liquid.
- Into the insert of the Instant Pot, add the cranberries, apples, and the orange liquid.
- Ensure the seal is in place and lock the lid on the Instant Pot. Make sure the valve is set to seal and select Manual. Set the timer to 8 minutes.
- It should take less than 10 minutes to come to pressure. When the 8 cooking minutes have completed, let the pressure cooker come down naturally for 10 minutes.
- Then release any remaining pressure by moving the lid valve to open – be careful as the steam will be hot. Once all the pressure is released, open the lid. CAUTION STEAM WILL BE HOT!
- If you want the sauce to be a bit chunky, remove some cranberries from the insert and reserve to the side. Using an immersion blender, blend the cranberry apple mixture until it is your desired smoothness. Add any cranberry chunks back in if you reserved some to the side.
- Next, add ½ C honey to the mixture and taste test. Add more honey if too tart to your liking.
- Store in airtight containers and keep in the refrigerator for up to 30 days.
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