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CRANBERRY APPLESAUCE (INSTANT POT + STOVETOP)

This Cranberry Applesauce recipe features fresh cranberries, naturally sweet apples, cinnamon, a little citrus and is completely healthy, low-fat and sugar-free. It’s a perfect balance of sweet & tart, with a gorgeous jewel berry hue, and I know you’re going to love it!

a bowl filled with cranberry applesauce

For the holiday table, you may even consider serving this in place of the usual cranberry sauce, it would be great along side a field roast, or served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. For breakfast, serve warm swirled in with cinnamon oatmeal, pecans, apple slices and pure maple syrup for sweetener.

Adapted from my classic Instant Pot Applesauce, which is also sugar free, both of these recipes are kid friendly, they’ll love it and you’ll love they are getting more healthy fruits in their diet. You can even use applesauce in place of oil when baking, substituting the oil for applesauce in a 1 to 1 ratio. It’s a win, win all around!

Once you’ve made your applesauce, use it in this Cinnamon Applesauce Pancakes recipe, these scrumptious 4 ingredient Chunky Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, or add even more flavor to this Cranberry Orange Bread and super easy, oil-free Applesauce Bread.

apples and cranberries in and instant pot with a cinnamon stick

Cranberry Applesauce

This recipe is super easy to put together and I’ve also included instructions for the crockpot in the recipe card. Both the Instant Pot and stovetop method will be done in about 30 minutes from start to finish.

Tips and variations:

  • For the apples, I would stick with using sweeter apples to balance out the tartness of the cranberries, but if you love tart go for green apples. I peeled my apples here, but free to leave the skin on, it is more beneficial, adding extra fiber.
  • Add-ins: There’s a few optional tasty add-ins, like ginger for extra zing or apple cider vinegar for a little tang. You can also add orange zest or orange juice for variation. You’ll find plenty of ways to vary it up, keeping it fresh and workable!

How to make Instant Pot Cranberry Applesauce

  1. Start by placing the quartered apples, than cranberries, lemon juice, apple/orange juice or water, and cinnamon stick in the insert of a 6 qt. Instant pot (shown above).
  2. Attach lid, and make sure vent is in the SEALED position (I can’t tell how many times I’ve forgotten this step). Push the PRESSURE COOKER button, and manually set the time for 5 minutes.
  3. When done, let the steam vent on it’s own, takes about 6 minutes. Move the vent to open, careful not to burn yourself as there may still be steam left. Remove lid and let cool a bit (shown below, left).
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick and mash with a potato masher or back of a slotted spoon, until desired consistency (shown below, right). Alternately, for a smooth applesauce, once cooled a bit, use an immersion blender or transfer to a high-speed blender or food processor.

cranberry applesauce just finished cooking in the instant pot, and after being blended

How to make stovetop Cranberry Applesauce

  1. In a large pot, add the chopped apples, cranberries, lemon juice, apple/orange juice or water, and cinnamon stick, cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the apples are very soft and/or berries pop.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and mash with a potato masher or back of a slotted spoon, until desired consistency. Alternately, for a smooth applesauce, once cooled a bit, use an immersion blender/high-speed blender or food processor. (you can also use an immersion blender.

And that’s it, no matter what method you use to make your applesauce, it’s easy, health and delicious!

top down view of a bowl of cranberry applesauce with white spoon

Can applesauce be frozen?

Yes! Store your homemade applesauce in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 1 week (shown below), or freeze for up to 2 months stored in a freezer safe container and leave at least 1/2 inch headspace at the top, as applesauce will expand when frozen.

More Instant Pot Recipes

If you love using your Instant Pot, try these other pressure cooker recipes. The wonders of pressure cooking are vary and these easy Instant Pot recipes are ready to be bookmarked!

healthy cranberry applesauce in mason jars

If you try this easy cranberry applesauce recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

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CRANBERRY APPLESAUCE (INSTANT POT + STOVETOP)

Made with fresh cranberries, naturally sweet apples, cinnamon, a little citrus, it’s completely healthy, low fat and sugar free. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and tart, with a gorgeous jewel berry hue!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 - 4 1/2 cups, serving size 1/2 cup 1x
  • Category: Sides, Snacks
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 34 lbs apples (pref. a sweet variety, fuji, honey crisp, macintosh, gala, delicious), about 6 – 8 large, peeled, cored, and chopped (see notes)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water or apple/orange juice (or any combo)
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 large cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Optional tasty add-ins:

  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger or ginger powder
  • use apple cider vinegar in place of, or in combo with the water/juice

Instructions

INSTANT POT:

  1. Place the quartered apples, than cranberries, lemon juice, apple/orange juice or water, and cinnamon stick in the insert of a 6 qt. Instant pot.
  2. Attach lid, and make sure vent is in the SEALED position. Push the PRESSURE COOKER button, and manually set the time for 5 minutes.
  3. When done, let the steam vent on it’s own, takes about 6 minutes. Move the vent to open, careful not to burn yourself as there may still be steam left. Remove lid and let cool a bit.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick and mash with a potato masher or back of a slotted spoon, until desired consistency. Alternately, for a smooth applesauce, once cooled a bit, use an immersion blender or transfer to a high-speed blender or food processor.

STOVETOP:

  1. In a large pot, add the chopped apples, cranberries, lemon juice, apple/orange juice or water, and cinnamon stick, cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the apples are very soft and/or berries pop.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and mash with a potato masher or back of a slotted spoon, until desired consistency. Alternately, for a smooth applesauce, once cooled a bit, use an immersion blender/high-speed blender or food processor.

SLOW COOKER:

  1. Add the diced apples to the bottom of the crockpot, add the cranberries, lemon juice, apple/orange juice or water and cinnamon stick.
  2. Set the slow cooker on high for 4 hours, stirring once or twice.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and mash with a potato masher or back of a slotted spoon, until desired consistency. Alternately, for a smooth applesauce, once cooled a bit, use an immersion blender/high-speed blender or food processor.

Serve warm or chilled.

Store your applesauce in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months.

Makes 4 – 4 1/2 cups.

NOTES:

If applesauce is not sweet enough after cooking, add 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup at a time, until desired sweetness.

Cut the apples accordingly:

Instant Pot: Quartered is fine, you don’t really need to worry about the size since the pressure cooker will cook them well, no matter what size they are.

Stovetop: Best to chop or dice, the smaller the cubes, the quicker they cook.

Crock pot: Chop or quartered will do fine, since they will be cooking for up to 4 hours.

Keywords: cranberry applesauce recipe, instant pot cranberry applesauce, healthy cranberry applesauce, sugar free cranberry applesauce

5 Comments

  1. Can this sauce be made with pears?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, sure can!

  2. I would like to can this recipe doubled. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Hi Diane, I would say you can easily double this recipe and cook for the same amount of time. I’m not familiar with canning so I’m assuming you have that part covered. Please let us know how it goes with your double batch. It’ll be super helpful to us and others!

  3. I made this, using my slow cooker (Crock Pot). Beautiful AND delicious, it earned raves and two requests for the recipe. It’s a new staple, and not just for holidays.

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