Cranberry Sauce, 3 Ways | My family's traditional cranberry sauce with variations suited for everybody - traditional, paleo, and vegan. Omit the pecans for nut free too! |

Cranberry Sauce, 3 Ways

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 12 servings


  • 2 C fresh cranberries
  • 20 oz can of pineapple, juice reserved
  • 1/2 C pecans
  • 1 orange with zest*

For the traditional recipe, you’ll also need:

  • 1 C sugar**
  • 1 package cherry flavored gelatin
  • 1 package cranberry flavored gelatin***
  • 1 C hot water

For the vegan variation, you’ll also need:

For the paleo variation, you’ll also need:


  1. In a food processor (I prefer to process each ingredient individually, especially the orange), pulse the cranberries, pineapple (if not using already crushed pineapple), pecans, and orange. Don’t overprocess, chunky is good! However, feel free to pulverize the orange since the membrane is a little tough. Stir in the orange zest and set aside.
  2. If making traditional or vegan variations, combine the sugar and gelatin or JEL in a large bowl. Whisk in the hot water and continue whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Store in the pineapple juice and processed ingredients from step 1. You’ll need to work quickly if using JEL as it sets rapidly at room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and serve chilled.****
  3. If making the paleo variation, heat the cherry juice either on the stovetop in a small saucepan or in the microwave (I just use the beverage setting) in a microwave safe container. It should be hot but not boiling. Whisk in the gelatin until dissolved, then combine with the pineapple juice and processed ingredients from step 1. Transfer to the refrigerator and serve chilled.****


*The original recipe called for the peel but I prefer the zest since it’s not bitter.
**I’ve reduced this amount over the years because it’s very sweet but the original recipe calls for 1 cup.
***Or sub with another package of cherry if cranberry is too hard to find.
****Pineapple typically prevents gelatin and JEL from setting but somehow the paleo variation manages to gel up anyways. The other two variations will be thick and the gelatin/JEL is mostly used for flavor and color.

Any variation can be made nut free with the omission of the pecans but be sure to check particular brands for the remaining ingredients to verify that they are truly nut free, especially if you have a nut allergy or are preparing this for somebody who does.