Cranberry Applesauce

Every fall we await the arrival of fresh cranberries in the grocery aisles. “Have you seen them yet?” “Are they in?” We compare notes for cranberry sightings at the local stores. When the cranberries do finally come in, we load up, so we have plenty of frozen cranberries to last us the year. Then we start cooking with them. Cranberry relish, cranberry sorbet, even cranberry salsa. We even have three different recipes for apple cranberry pie. One of my father’s favorite things to make is applesauce with cranberries added in for tartness, flavor, and color. We’ll eat it for breakfast, as a side for pork, or with ice cream for dessert.

Cranberry Applesauce Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 1 1/2 to 2 quarts.


  • 3 to 4 pounds of peeled, cored, roughly chopped Granny Smith apples (or other good cooking apple such as Golden Delicious, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein)
  • 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


1 Place all of the ingredients in a large (5-quart) pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 20-30 minutes, or until the apples can easily be mashed.

cranberry-applesauce-1.jpg cranberry-applesauce-2.jpg

2 Remove from heat. Mash the apples and cranberries with a potato masher to the consistency you want.

Serve hot as a side to pork or turkey. Or serve hot or cold as a dessert with some vanilla ice cream.

Store in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Or freeze for up to a year.

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Pineapple guava applesauce from Amber at Awake at the Whisk


  1. Susan

    This is so pretty! I’ve never made applesauce with cranberries in it. I will now! I never thought to freeze cranberries either..I need to do that this year since I’d like them available year’round.

    I used to make applesauce frequently for dinner when the kids were young, but I never canned it since apples are always available. I just peeled one apple per person, cored and chopped it up, threw it in a sauce pan and turned on the heat! I used my potato masher to smoosh it when it was done and served it warm with the cinnamon/sugar shaker at the table.

  2. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Even though I live in cranberry land (southern New England) and drive past several bogs on a regular basis, I still have to wait for cranberries to hit the markets in late October. I start stockpiling them in the freezer, where they’ll keep for six months or more. One thing about cooking with cranberries, though: you almost always need to balance with sugar. My traditional applesauce is sugar-free, so I’ll try this with some sugar substitute.

  3. Lisa

    Lovely and simple! This time of year, I am all about anything involving c-berries and/or pumpkin! You don’t by any chance have a recipe that incorporates both, do you? I would be in harvest heaven!! Thanks as always for the yummies!

    You might want to check out the butternut squash apple cranberry bake. You can sub sugar pumpkin for the butternut squash. ~Elise

  4. The Purple Foodie

    WOW this is a lovely addition to regular applesauce. And makes it nice and pink too. But you know Elise, I don’t get fresh cranberries here. you think it would be okay with just cranberry juice? How much of it should I add? I have some granny smiths that I’ve bought just for that and a pink rosy colour would be just lovely. or maybe I will use some strawberries since they’re just coming into season!

    Hi Shaheen, I would just add some dried cranberries if you can get those, maybe 1/2 a cup. ~Elise

  5. Anelle

    I just made this, and it is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  6. Anita

    I have been making a similar cranberry applesauce for years, I put mine through a food mill so it’s very smooth, no cranberry skins!

  7. Claudia

    This is the most delicious apple sauce! It is so easy to put a pre-packaged tub of apple sauce in my kids lunch, but then I have homemade and can’t believe we eat the other stuff. This recipe was easy enough that we won’t go back. I made it last night and sent it to school with my kids today. Mixing it with yogurt was a hit. I am always looking for new lunch ideas, especially when one kid has a wheat allergy- Thanks!

  8. Roger VerMulm

    I started doing this several years ago when I found a bag of whole frozen cranberries in the freezer left over from the holidays. My wife was sceptical at first but now can’t get enough. Glad to see someone else gave it a try. Now at the holidays I usually grab a couple of extra bags of whole berries at the store and toss them in the freezer for use all year long.

  9. Marcia

    I made applesauce last week; stove top for 1 hour, then Crock Pot for 3 hours. I used a cinnamon stick broke into pieces and part of a whole nutmeg in a tea ball. Then added 4 gratings of fresh ginger (frozen). Six Ginger Gold and equal number of Applecrisp were used because that is what I had. I used Splenda Brown Sugar to sweeten it. Pretty color and delicious taste.

    I will add cranberries to the next batch. I did not peel the apples and think the extra fiber is a plus for me–no children will be eating it.

  10. Cynthia

    One of our family favorites is cranberry sauce made with real maple syrup instead of sugar. It takes a whole cup of syrup when it’s just made with cranberries, but I bet you could cut it back to 1/2 or 2/3 C and the apples would balance it.

  11. Eric

    Just made this cranberry apple sauce. I was worried that the sugar content would be too much. On the contrary it was a perfect balance to the bitterness of the cranberries. Never was too much of a fan of cranberries until I tried this.

    5 Stars, and thanks so much for your website.

  12. B. Swetnam

    I may never make another applesauce. This is the best. Have made two batches in 2 days, very quick and easy. However, the ultimate is to make the Applesauce Spice Cake using this applesauce instead of plain. You will have to hide the cake to have some left for dinner.

    Thanks so much Elise.

  13. Laura

    I have a slug of blueberries, wonder how that would taste in place of cranberries?

    If you try it, let us know in the comments how it turns out! ~Elise

  14. Vic

    Holy Cow! Im so glad this one popped up on my google apps! I made it last night at 11:30 (bored) and was the best! Cant wait to serve warm next to my turkey! It will be a hit! TY!

  15. E. Peevie

    This was a hit last week at our house, both hot with ice cream and cold with dinner. I’m putting it on the menu for Thanksgiving AND Christmas this year.

    I hate regular cranberry sauce, but this recipe puts the requisite seasonal cranberries on the table, and it’s yummy, too!

  16. Kristin

    I finally made this last night and served it warm with a pork roast. Absolutely delicious! The fragrance that filled our home as it cooked was a terrific bonus. My kids each had several helpings and want to try it for breakfast with their oatmeal. I’m making it again tomorrow! ~K

  17. Sally

    I’ve made Ina Garten’s Roasted Pear and Apple Sauce twice in the last week. I think the cranberries would be a good addition to that. That recipe uses orange juice (and zest) instead of water — something I’d stumbled across a couple of years ago. It truly adds a flavor boost.

  18. Katy

    I just wanted to let you know that I have made this applesauce twice now and it is truly the best applesauce ever. I packed some in my son’s lunch and just the smell of it had his daycare teachers asking for the recipe. I’m making more for Thanksgiving, and I’m sure I will have passed the recipe out to a few more people before the day is over. Thank you very much for sharing it, and all your recipes. Every time I’ve tried any of them out the results have been fantastic.

  19. Lindsay

    Made this tonight for dinner tomorrow. I added 1/8 tsp of cardamom. Since you are the cardamom queen, I thought you would appreciate that! It was delightful.

    Ooh, sounds delightful! ~Elise

  20. Renai

    YUM! I am making my own version as I type this… I used half apples, half pears (trying to use up my CSA bounty), white wine, and leftover cranberry sauce that I made earlier this past week. I found your recipe looking for additional ideas. Lovely!

  21. Ursula

    Thanks, I just made this cranberry applesauce! I put more cranberries in, and used maple syrup for the sweetener. My family is going to love it, so delicious!

  22. Christina

    Thank you for this simple, delicious recipie! My first time making applesauce & my first time cooking with cranberries! It came out wonderful!!! The cranberry tang added an amazing touch!

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