Move over regular cranberry sauce! This homemade Cranberry Pear Sauce is delicious, easy to make and lower in calories! You don't have to forego one of your favorite Thanksgiving sides to watch calories anymore!
Sweet pears and tart cranberries are a perfect pair in this easy cranberry pear sauce recipe. It's a delicious balance of sweet and tart flavors perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.
There is a much lower amount of white sugar too thanks to the natural sweetness in the ripe pear and fresh orange juice. It tames the tartness of the cranberries without overwhelming with sweetness.
Try our Cranberry Pineapple Sauce too!
What make it skinny?
Regular homemade cranberry sauce usually contains about 1 cup of sugar for a bag of cranberries. That's what makes it super sweet and helps it gel. But that also makes it a higher calorie side dish.
Using fresh ripe pears and orange juice along with just 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar gives plenty of sweetness and more flavor without going overboard on the sweetness.
Many people complain cranberry sauce is just too sweet; this is the solution for that too!
CALORIE COMPARISON: Canned cranberry sauce is 105 calories for a ¼ cup. This Cranberry Pear Sauce is 58 calories for ¼ cup.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Printable recipe card at the end of the post.
Cranberries. Use a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: rinsed and sorted to discard any damaged or rotting cranberries. Frozen thawed cranberries can also be used.
Pear. One medium size fully ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into chunks. Use a Bartlett pear. They are very juicy and sweet when ripe. When they cook they won't completely disintegrate leaving small soft pieces of pear in the sauce. Bosc pears work though tend to be more firm and not as juicy when ripe.
Orange juice. This replaced water in the recipe. Use fresh orange juice if possible for best flavor. You'll need ½ cup if making the cranberry sauce in the slow cooker and ⅔ cup if making on the stove top. This adds more flavor and sweetness and replaces water in cooking the cranberries.
Granulated sugar. Only 3 tablespoons are used. This cuts the tartness from the cranberries and adds just the right amount of sweetness.
Fresh ginger. This enhances the flavor of the cranberry pear sauce without making it overly gingery. We use 1 teaspoon peeled and minced. It could also be grated. Feel free to add more for a stronger ginger flavor.
Lime zest or orange zest. The homemade cranberry sauce is delicious without this but adding some zest perks up the flavor even more. Lime zest will give it a bright, fresh flavor note while orange zest enhances the orange flavor from the orange juice. Use the zest of half a lime or a quarter of an orange.
How to make Cranberry Pear Sauce
We have two methods for making this sauce: slow cooker or stove top. The stove top is very fast, about 15 minutes. We included a slow cooker option in case you'd prefer to keep it off the stove top during busy Thanksgiving cooking. Both work well AND cranberry sauce is best if chilled before serving as this makes it thicken.
Slow Cooker method
Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker (photo 1). Stir to combine (photo 2).
Add lid and cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Check at 3 hours, stir. The cranberries will have partially popped and the sauce begun to thicken.
You can stop and chill the sauce now, continue to cook it to desired consistency or use an immersion blender to break down the berries further.
Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer or low boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries pop.
Chill to thicken.
Add some spices. The natural flavor and sweetness of this cranberry sauce is delicious but you can change it up by adding some cinnamon, allspice, or cardamom start with ⅛ teaspoon, taste and adjust up if needed). You could also add pumpkin pie spice. OR add a cinnamon stick when simmering for natural cinnamon flavor. Remove before chilling.
Add a splash of port wine. This gives a sophisticated flavor.
Reduce the sugar by 1 tablespoon. If you want to take out a few more calories you can just use 2 tablespoons of sugar (this removes 48 calories).
Frequently Asked Questions
We have not tested the recipe with sugar substitutes but you should be able to swap that in.
Yes! Allow it to fully cool. I would put it in the refrigerator overnight before packing it to be frozen. Then add it to a freezer-safe airtight container or bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator before using.
It can be served either way but will have more flavor if at room temperature. After cooking allow it to cool to room temperature or chill first so the sauce will fully thicken.
How to Store
Store leftover cranberry sauce in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 10-14 days.
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