A Thanksgiving table isn't complete without cranberry sauce. This Cranberry Pineapple Sauce is the perfect tasty recipe especially for a lower sugar, lower calorie option (only 43 calories per serving). This easy recipe is a great change from traditional cranberry sauce and only takes 15 minutes cooking time! Can be made ahead too.
If you can't imagine your Thanksgiving turkey without fresh cranberry sauce but are on a lower calorie diet or just want less sugar, this is the perfect accompaniment!
This recipe is perfect for a holiday meal or topping a turkey burger and is made with a much smaller amount of sugar than most recipes. Natural sweetness from pineapple and pineapple juice as well as orange juice give it a fresh unique flavor and beautiful purple color.
Perfect served with our Instant Pot Turkey Breast Roast, some Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and Cornbread Stuffing Muffins. WW Personal Points included in the recipe card at the end of the post. Try our Cranberry Pear Sauce too!
What makes this skinny?
Regular homemade cranberry sauce usually contains about 1 cup of sugar for a bag of cranberries. Sure that's what makes it super sweet and helps it gel. But that also makes it a higher calorie side dish.
Combining naturally sweet pineapple and orange juice with only 2 tablespoons of sugar sweetens the pineapple cranberry sauce with a more natural flavor and far fewer calories. It's the perfect balance between sweet and tart flavors too.
Many people complain cranberry sauce is just too sweet; this is the solution for that too! And if you want it sweeter you can always add more sugar but in our experimentation we think this homemade cranberry sauce recipe has just enough!
Some people make this with no sugar but we found that to be aggressively tart for our taste.
CALORIE COMPARISON: Canned cranberry sauce is 105 calories for a ¼ cup. This Cranberry Pineapple Sauce is 43 calories for ¼ cup.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Cranberries. You'll use one 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries. Frozen thawed cranberries work too. Sort and discard any rotting or damaged berries and rinse before using.
Crushed Pineapple. One 20-ounce can of no sugar added crushed pineapple will be used. This adds a light pineapple flavor to the cranberry sauce and helps thicken the sauce too without tons of sugar. Do not drain the can of crushed pineapple before using.
Orange juice. Use fresh orange juice if possible for best flavor. You'll need ½ cup. This adds more flavor and sweetness and replaces water in cooking the cranberries.
Granulated sugar. Just 2 tablespoons is needed. This adds enough sweetness to tame the extreme tartness of the fresh cranberries without making the sauce overly sweet.
Orange zest (optional). Topping the cranberry sauce with some orange zest when serving gives it some color and extra orange flavor.
When to buy fresh cranberries
Fresh cranberries are harvested in the fall and available at the grocery store October through December. They are sold in 12-ounce bags and also freeze great! Buy some extra bags to keep in the freezer for cranberry recipes any time of year.
For recipes like this simple sauce won't matter how they look so frozen and thawed berries still make a delicious cranberry sauce.
How to make Cranberry Pineapple Sauce
Combine all the ingredients (cranberries, crushed pineapple, orange juice and sugar) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat (photo 1). Stir to combine (photo 2).
Allow the mixture to come to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer until the cranberries have all popped; about 15 minutes (photo 3).
Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before serving or storing. The cranberry pineapple sauce will thicken as it cools and more after being chilled. Top with some orange zest when serving.
How to store
Store leftover cranberry sauce in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 10-14 days.
After cooling. After cooling the cranberry sauce will thicken and the flavors will become stronger.
Adding more sugar (or other sweetener). This cranberry sauce has more of a natural sweetness than the strong sugary sweetness of regular cranberry sauce. If you want it to be sweeter wait until it has cooked, taste and add more. You can use sugar, sugar substitutes, maple syrup or honey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cranberry sauce is made with cooked cranberries and cranberry relish uses chopped cranberries that are not cooked.
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.