The best Vegan Cranberry Sauce! Packed with sweet, tart flavours it makes the perfect accompaniment to your holiday feast. Make it in only 15 minutes using either fresh or frozen cranberries. (Includes stovetop and Instant Pot instructions).
If you have never made your own cranberry sauce before, this is your time! It is so easy and tastes way better than the canned kind.
My vegan cranberry sauce is packed with flavour thanks to the addition of orange juice, orange zest, rosemary, cinnamon and a splash of festive booze (which can be switched for orange juice if alcohol isn't your thing)!
This is a vegan Thanksgiving recipe or vegan Christmas recipe that no holiday dinner table should be without!
To make vegan cranberry sauce you will need:
- cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- sugar (or sugar and maple syrup in the instant pot)
- orange zest
- orange juice
- fresh rosemary
- and a little red wine or port to take it up a notch - It is the holidays! Don't worry though. If you don't cook with alcohol you can use orange juice instead.
Success Tip - Choose plump, firm cranberries with a deep red colour.
How To Make Vegan Cranberry Sauce
Making your own cranberry sauce is really easy and you can cook it in a pan on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. Here's how it's done in 2 easy steps:
- Everything goes in, except for 1 cup of cranberries which you'll reserve until the end. Cook until the cranberries start breaking down.
- Add the reserved cranberries (hello pretty!) and give it all a good stir. At this stage it might look a little runny but don't worry because as it cools it will thicken up and become "jammy" and the residual heat will cook the newly added cranberries to perfection before it cools down.
The method is much the same whether you are making Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce or stovetop cranberry sauce. See the recipe card below for full and detailed directions.
Storing Cranberry Sauce
Once decanted into jars, this Vegan Cranberry Sauce will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge and can be frozen for up to 4 months.
How To Use Vegan Cranberry Sauce
There is no shortage of ways to use cranberry sauce, the most popular being with holiday dinners at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Here are some more ideas:
- with vegan roast or chick'n
- alongside vegan sweet potato casserole or vegan mashed sweet potato
- with vegan meatloaf or mushroom lentil loaf
- in vegan gravy or barbecue sauce to add extra flavour. Just a couple of tablespoons is all you need.
- in sandwiches, burgers & paninis
- swirl through vegan yogurt
- as a glaze for seitan, tofu, or tempeh
- in smoothies
- with vegan cheese. it works really well with my vegan feta cheese
The wine or port adds a lovely richness to the cranberry sauce, but if you don't consume alcohol, simply replace the wine with more orange juice or water.
You can easily double the recipe but be aware that if you are using an Instant Pot you should not fill it more than halfway. The cranberries create a lot of foam and if you fill the Instant Pot too much that foam will start escaping through the vent as it cooks.
Most canned cranberry sauce doesn't contain obvious animal ingredients, but of course, it has sugar in it and some brands of sugar are not vegan, so it's always worth checking with the manufacturer. I've also heard (although never seen myself) that some of the jellied kinds can contain gelatin which would make them non-vegan.
Worth a mention too is that some of the higher-end jars of cranberry sauce can sometimes contain honey or alcohol. Honey makes them automatically not vegan, and the alcohol again depends on what was used. Some wines, ports and sherries are vegan and some aren't.
So basically there is no straight answer, but making your own takes any doubt out of the equation though. And the added bonus is it tastes a million times better, and you avoid having to slide that unpleasant jiggly cylinder of sauce out of the can!
Once the sauce has cooked and is still hot, you can very carefully taste the cranberry sauce to check how tart it is. Remember when tasting it that it should be quite tart and not sweet. The tartness is what balances the meal and cuts through the richness of the holiday food. If you think it is too tart for you though, while it's still hot, add some more sugar to taste. This should be done while it is hot because the sugar will dissolve easily
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If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
The Best Vegan Cranberry SauceAuthor:
- 24 oz (680 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup (200 g) white or cane sugar , if using an Instant Pot use ½ cup (100g) sugar & ½ cup (120 mls) maple syrup (the liquid is necessary for it to come to pressure)
- ⅓ cup (80 mls) vegan red wine or port , or orange juice for an alcohol free alternative
- 1 large orange , zest and juice of
- 1 medium cinnamon stick
- 1 approx 3 inch piece of fresh rosemary
To make on the stovetop
- Wash the cranberries and pick out any soft ones. Reserve 1 cup of them and add the rest along with everything else to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sauce is thickening and becoming jammy and the cranberries are breaking down. Usually about 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and discard the rosemary and cinnamon stick. Have a quick taste but be very careful as it will be super hot. Now is the time to add more sugar if you want to because it will dissolve in the heat. Remember though that it is supposed to be tart. It's job is to cut through the richness of your holiday food.
- Add the reserved cranberries and stir them in. The residual heat will cook them enough before it cools down and give the sauce good texture.
- Allow to cool completely before decanting into jars or freezer-safe containers.
To make in an Instant Pot
- Wash the cranberries and pick out any soft ones. Scoop out about 1 cup and reserve until the end. Put the rest in the Instant Pot.
- Add the sugar, maple syrup, red wine, orange juice and zest and give it a stir. Put the cinnamon stick and rosemary on top.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and seal the vent. Cook for 3 minutes on high pressure and leave the pressure to release naturally. Once the pin has dropped, open the lid. It will look foamy and unappetizing but don't panic. Discard the cinnamon stick and rosemary, and add the reserved cranberries. The residual heat is enough to cook them. Stir well. Now it looks good. Have a quick taste. Be careful as it will be very hot. If you find it too sour, now is the time to add a little more sugar because it will dissolve in the heat. Keep in mind though that a little tartness is good as it works really well with your rich festive foods.
- Allow to cool completely. The lid can be on or off at this point but it will cool more quickly with the lid off. Once cool, decant into jars or freezer safe containers.
This recipe was originally published on December 3rd 2019. I've changed the name, added stovetop directions instead of just Instant Pot, and now I am republishing it for you. The actual recipe remains the same. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for following A Virtual Vegan!
Hi, haven't made this cranberry sauce yet but can I use 'White Port'? If not I'll just use Orange juice.
Melanie McDonald says
I have actually never tried white port. I'm thinking it's probably not as thick, rich and sweet as red port though. Without having tried it I wouldn't like to say how it would turn out but my gut feeling is that it would be ok but not quite as good as when made with red. Personally I'd rather some alcohol than none though so if it were me I'd give it a go. You could always scale the recipe right down to make a smaller amount and see what you think before making another batch. Hope that helps!
Patricia G. says
Made it - it was great, and enough left over for sandwiches this week - all gone now. Cooked it on the stove a few days early - seems too much of a hassle to haul out the Instant pot for a relatively short time saving - imho.
Heard of someone who uses Grand Marnier in theirs, which sounds interesting as orange is a very good complement to cranberries....
This is divine! Made it with ground cinnamon as didn't have a cinnamon stick. It was so yummy the first batch got eaten all and making some more now for Xmas dinner.