Bright and festive, this Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce is spiced with star anise, cloves, and cinnamon as well as orange zest. Completely Sugar Free and full of flavor and healthy nutrients, it’s a holiday dish that you feel extra good about diving into.
This Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise and Cinnamon is seriously one of my favorite foods ever. I only make it around Thanksgiving and Christmas when cranberries appear in the market. As soon as I see cranberries, I grab a couple of bags and store them in the freezer until I’m ready to use them.
There are so many good things about this recipe, but the best part is, hands-down, that it is Completely Sugar Free. It’s sweetened only with stevia. I have always loved cranberry sauce ever since I was a kid and our Thanksgiving table featured the cranberry sauce from the can – the one with the ridges which showed you exactly where to slice it. Never mind that some slices were bigger than others.
But this Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce is the real deal. There’s just enough sweetness from the stevia to make it palatable, but the tartness of the cranberries shines through. The warming spices of star anise, cloves, and cinnamon round out the flavors (and make your kitchen smell amazing!), and the orange zest brightens the fruitiness of the cranberries. The cranberries are cooked until soft but not totally mushy, so there’s a nice mouth feel to the sauce with a bit of bite and pop and smooth spiced juice. I could write poetry about it! I love it.
I hope you will love it, too. It’s definitely a make-ahead dish, not because it takes a long time but because it’s SO EASY. You could cook it at least one day ahead or even two. Hooray for a dish that makes your life simpler and gives you more time to actually relax on a holiday! Please let me know how your loved ones enjoy it in the comments. Enjoy!
Why You’ll LOVE this Recipe:
- So easy!!!
- Make ahead recipe
- Sugar Free
- Low Carb
- Low FODMAP
Ingredients for Easy Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise and Cinnamon:
- orange zest
- liquid stevia
- cinnamon stick
- whole star anise
- whole cloves
- gelatin powder
Notes on Ingredients:
Cranberries – Use fresh or frozen, it doesn’t matter. I usually stock up on cranberries when I start to see them in the supermarket, and I just keep 2-3 bags in the freezer ready for the holidays.
Gelatin powder – Use this Grass-Fed Gelatin Powder from Great Lakes. It’s terrific and has zero flavor. I love that the gelatin powder not only helps to firm up the cranberry sauce but also provides an extra punch of protein. * If you want to make this recipe Vegan, use 1 tsp. agar-agar instead of gelatin.
How to Make Easy Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise and Cinnamon From Scratch
First, make a spice pouch. I usually use cheesecloth to do this, but I ran out, and in a pinch, I used a large coffee filter. The coffee filter was perfect for this small amount of spices and super tidy. Put the whole star anise and whole cloves into the pouch and tie it up with string. The reason why we’re doing this is because we want the amazing flavor and fragrance of the star anise and cloves, but we don’t want to have to fish out tiny cloves after cooking, and nobody wants to bite into a clove or star anise in the middle of enjoying your delicious cranberry sauce.
I use the really long cinnamon sticks, so it’s easy to pull those out after the cranberry sauce has cooked and cooled, but if you use the small cinnamon sticks, you could put those in the spice pouch too to make life even easier (and who doesn’t need that?).
Now you’re ready to cook. Just put everything (except the gelatin powder) in a medium pot. It doesn’t matter if the cranberries are frozen or not. Put the cranberries, water, orange zest, spice pouch, liquid stevia, and cinnamon stick in the pot, and turn the heat to medium high. I like to wait to add the gelatin powder, because if you add it when the water is cold, it gets clumpy.
Once the mixture starts to boil, stir in the gelatin powder.
Then, let the cranberry sauce cook for 10-15 minutes. You want the cranberries to be soft.
Put a cover on the pot, and place the pot in the refrigerator to chill. It will take at least 2 hours for the sauce to cool down and start to gel together. If you’re making this for a holiday dinner, just cook it the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. And then check that item off your to-do list. Happy cooking!
Easy Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise and Cinnamon
- 12 oz cranberries, frozen or fresh
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 orange, zested
- ½ teaspoon liquid stevia
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 4 whole star anise
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon gelatin powder
- Make a spice pouch. Using either cheesecloth or a coffee filter,make a pouch with the whole star anise and the whole cloves inside, and tie the pouch closed with string.
- Put cranberries, water, orange zest, cinnamon stick, liquid stevia, and spice pouch into a medium pot over medium high heat.
- Once the cranberry mixture begins to boil, stir in the gelatin powder. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Cover the pot and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Remove the spice pouch and cinnamon stick before serving.
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