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.
More recipes you'll love!
Cranberry Pineapple Sauce
- 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries rinsed and sorted to remove any blemished berries. Frozen and thawed cranberries can be used too.
- 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple (no sugar added) do not drain
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and lower heat to until simmering.1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple (no sugar added), ½ cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Simmer over lowered heat, stirring periodically, until the cranberries have burst and a sauce has formed; 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken. Best made ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator for maximum thickness.
- Sort and discard any blemished or rotting cranberries before starting the recipe. Rinse the berries too.
- Choose no sugar added crushed pineapple. It should just be pineapple and pineapple juice.
I love this pineapple twist in the cranberry sauce! Great recipe!
My family appreciated a different kind of cranberry sauce. Especially one that is so easy to make and has a fantastic flavor combination.
Linda French says
Delicious! I love this skinny change up and that the sauce isn't overly sweet. Great flavors.
I made this to try with chicken this week and it was perfect. Will make it again for Thanksgiving!
Oh yum! The pineapple in this is so unexpected! 🙂 Going to have to make this one again for Thanksgiving dinner this year.
Karen H says
Thank you so much for this recipe. It really was so easy to make and I love that it's lightened up!
Love how easy this recipe is. It’s perfect for our family!
I love that you used pineapple to sweeten this version! So good
Such an amazing version of a classic favorite!!
Lovely reduced sugar cranberry sauce. I will be using this for thanksgiving
I am loving this cranberry pineapple combination. It sounds absolutely fabulous. Will definitely be surprising my family with this side dish over the Holidays.
Gina Abernathy says
This was so delicious! I made it over the weekend to try out for Thanksgiving. I'll enjoy having another version of cranberry sauce for the table. The pineapple and orange juice added just the right amount of sweetness.
Such a fun and delicious addition to the holiday table! The flavors sound so good with the crushed pineapple.
In a family with a diabetic and keto eaters which can be everybody, there is no need to use regular sugar or orange juice, just a little rind on top is plenty. The dish tastes wonderful without them with many fewer carbs and using a keto sweetener like erythritol, allulose or stevia instead.
Toni Dash says
Hi S! Your comment is a great example of tailoring a recipe for your family's needs! I personally do not use sugar replacements in any of my recipes for multiple reasons but encourage others to modify as they prefer or need to make the recipes work for them! Our recipes are developed to be low calorie, not keto or low carb though some may be coincidentally. I know some people make the recipe without any sugar (or sugar replacements) however in our tests we found it too tart to enjoy. Thanks for your comment.