raw cranberry sauce

Raw Cranberry Sauce

Fresh raw cranberries with dates, orange and lemon.

From the recipe archive: Originally posted in 2008. This homemade cranberry sauce is a perfect side for your healthy Paleo Thanksgiving dinner.

This sweet yet tart raw cranberry sauce is one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, in fact, it’s one of my favorite naturally gluten free dishes of all time!

Tart, tangy and full of healing properties, just last week I ate an entire test batch.  I adore cranberries and stock up during this time of year while they are fresh, making fun cranberry dishes several times per week.

When they go out of season, I keep bags of frozen cranberries in the freezer as the boys enjoy my homemade cranberry sauce.

Print Recipe
Raw Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 orange, peeled, sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 lemon, peeled, sliced, seeds removed
  • 2 dates (remove pits) and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  1. Blend orange, lemon and dates in a food processor
  2. Add cranberries and process until coarsely chopped
  3. Serve

Beware, this raw, vegan sauce is quite tart.  If that is not your thing, just add a few more dates.  Personally, I’ll take mine super sour!

I would not recommend making this dish with frozen cranberries, though you can always give it a try to see how it turns out.  If you do, please leave a comment and share your results.

What is your favorite cranberry dish?  Which one will you be making for Thanksgiving this year?  Leave a comment and let us in on it!


  1. Chris says

    Love your recipes. I have made many of them and tell everyone about your website. My family has always made raw cranberry relish. Before food processors we used an old fashion hand crank meat grinder. I have also used frozen cranberries and works just fine. We quarter cut washed oranges and apples (leave peel on) and grind with the cranberries and then sweeten the amount desired, which isn’t to much, tart is best. It freezes just fine. Make it for Thanksgiving and freeze some for Christmas.

  2. Jean W. says

    Love the recipe! I used frozen cranberries! I used my Ninja bullit. I mixed a handful of frozen cranberries with a handful of a cut up orange & I used 6 dates, also cut up small & blended it in small batches. About 4 times. I also added a tablespoon of minced ginger & used pure lemon juice! then I put it back in freezer for Christmas! we tasted it & DIVINE!!!!

  3. Forester MacLean says

    Sometimes we must be innovative when we don’t the exact ingredients on hand for a recipe. So, here is my version:

    16oz raw cranberries
    1/2C Purple Power V8 Juice (a new product – highly recommended)
    1C chopped Rome apple

    When cranberries are slowly cooked down to mushy, I let cool, then refrigerate. I add it to my homemade muesli most every morning. It keeps kidneys, bladder and Urethra happy, healthy, and holy.

  4. Kathy Randall says

    I have made raw cranberry relish for years, with the addition of fresh apples and celery. This gives added sweetness and flavor.

  5. Keren Jackson says

    My husband doesn’t want me to put orange in his cranberry sauce. Does anyone have an alternative? Could I just add more dates, or would a pear substitution suffice for sweetness? It might not impart its flavor as readily.

  6. Ellen says

    Used frozen cranberries and added an apple which enriched the flavor of the cranberries, peeled and cut up the apple and added it to the processed fruit also added a tsp of honey tastes great!

  7. TLowe says

    My gma does one with a bag of cberries and the entire orange… Thin skinned. Sugar to taste. I like your idea of the dates tho for sweetness. Blend all up.

  8. thommy ji says

    I used frozen cranberries.
    Zested an orange, and stirred it in after following the recipe.
    It its fantastic! Not mushy as the author eluded to.
    Also good with a little fresh ginger root.

  9. Susanne says

    I made this recipe tonight (1 orange 1/2 lemon). Now it is waiting to be part of my Christmas dinner. Here in Norway we have the big celebration on the evening of the 24th and we’ll be enjoying your cranberry relish.

  10. says

    Hi Elana,

    I usually make raw cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, but couldn’t locate my recipe, so I looked on your wonderful, and sure enough, a raw cranberry recipe appeared! I did change it up a bit to make it a little sweeter and zestier.

    Recipe Changes/Substitutions:
    I used only half of one lemon. I added the zest of both the orange and half lemon. I also added a bit of the white parts of the citrus. I added a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt to bring out the flavors. I also added about twice the dates as well as one heaping Tablespoon of xylitol (a natural sugar derived from vegetables–just make sure it’s not made from corn, but any sugar would do). I processed all but the cranberries quite well, then added the cranberries and processed them to chunky. I let it sit out on the counter covered in a pretty handmade bowl for about an hour to let everything dissolve together before putting it in the fridge to chill.

    Everyone loved it. It was delicious. Thank you Elana for your wonderful recipes. I love being on your email list to see what yumminess you’re up to! Happy Happy Holidays to you and yours!


  11. laura says

    cranberries are why i love this holiday :)
    we made a similar “relish” with added sliced ginger, apples, and toasted pecans.

  12. Mudita says

    I love raw cranberry sauce. A couple things I also love in my cranberry sauce are fresh ginger, pear and a dash of cloves. I doubled this recipe, only added 1 lemon, and added the above ingredients. Deeeeeelish!!!!

  13. Melanie says

    Hey, I just found your site by googling almond flour pie crust. I wanted to say that I always make the variation of this raw sauce that includes sugar with frozen cranberries. I throw them and the orange slices into the processor and it processes just fine. I always let it thaw then.

    I’ll be trying it with dates now though, thanks for the suggestion! I have tried it with honey and it’s ok, but the honey and the cranberries don’t quite work. I think the dates will be an improvement.

  14. Nina says

    Shut up jay no one forces their kids to eat tart food people with kids can adjust the ingredients if my son doesn’t ready this thats fine he can have something else……your prob mad your mom feed you donuts:)

    I’m gonna try this with frozen cranberries, ill let u no

  15. Jill says

    I am eating some of this delicious recipe now. I added 6 more dates and some liquid Stevia to cut the tart edge to suit my tastes. It still remains tart and is a refreshing side dish. Thank you!

  16. Lauren says

    I would have never thought to make a RAW cranberry salad, that’s brilliant!! I love raw cranberries by themselves so I know I would love this!

  17. says

    I’ve been on the fence about getting a food processor – this recipe is quite the nudge towards the get yet one more kitchen appliance side.

    I love that this recipe is so full of vitamin C just as we enter the stresses of the holiday season – very health supporting!

  18. Ruth J Hirsch says

    Dear Elana ++,

    always a delight to hear from you.

    I do love this food…..
    I will switch from my usual: one batch unsweetened, one, honey sweetened and try is w dates/dried pear. Should be yet better. Also, depending on what’s around, I do find adding some walnuts gives nice crunch, texture. I tend to use one bag cranberries to one whole-organic- orange. First quarter the orange, remove any seeds. Then process in bursts, then add cranberries, and dates/dry fruit, and then a handful walnuts.
    What a great food!

    and I do use frozen cberries once the season has passed.

    many thanks, as always Ruth

  19. says

    This is my first year having a paleo Thanksgiving and this recipe will fit in nicely! I just love the use of dates for the sweetener. Great photograph as always.

  20. michelle says

    I make a raw cranberry sauce and I let it sit in the sunlight during the day, for a couple of days before Thanksgiving.

    2 cups fresh pineapple coarsely chopped
    2 cups fresh Brown-skinned pears coarsely chopped
    1 Packages of fresh cranberries coarsely chopped
    Add dates or raisins according to how sweet you want your cranberry sauce. You can also use less raisins or dates, and add stevia drops, or just use stevia alone – no dates or raisins. (Coarsely chop Dates or raisins.
    Add 1/4 cup of jalapenos or scotch bonnet pepper – deseeded. Use more if you like it very spicy (finely chopped the pepper)
    Add Sea Salt to your liking
    Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar,
    Add 1/4 of Fresh ginger finely chopped
    Add 6-8 cloves of finely chopped garlic
    Add 6-8 fresh mint leaves finely chopped
    Add 1 teaspoon of clove powder

    Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix them together. Put the sauce in a portable glass jar and let it sit in the sunlight on your window sill for a few days before Thanksgiving. Any leftovers can be refrigerated for later use.

  21. Sherri says

    A local Weather Anchor for CBS here in San Francisco shared this recipe on her Facebook page last year. I made it, and it’s wonderful! Here’s her recipe:

    Cranberry, Orange and Cilantro Salsa
    By Roberta Gonzales

    1 red bell pepper
    1 fresh poblano chili
    ½ c. sugar
    ¼ c. fresh-squeezed orange juice
    2 c. cranberries, coarsely chopped
    ¼ c. chopped toasted hazelnuts
    2 Tbsp. grated orange peel
    1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro

    Char red bell pepper and poblano chili in broiler under high heat until blackened on all sides. Remove from oven and transfer both to a paper bag; roll top down to enclose peppers and let stand for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, peel, seed and chop pepper and chili; set aside.

    While pepper and chili are in the oven, squeeze orange juice and coarsely chop cranberries. Mix sugar and orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and mix in chopped cranberries.

    Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Cool to room temperature.

    Mix roasted pepper and chili, chopped hazelnuts and grated orange peel into salsa. Cover and refrigerate.

    Mix cilantro into salsa once it has completely chilled. Season to taste with salt and pepper to your liking.

    Makes 2 ½ cups

  22. Debbie says

    Wonderful recipe, thanks!
    I make a similar one , only I keep the skin on the oranges and use organic sugar. I look forward to trying yours!

  23. Denise says

    My husband makes a similar raw cranberry sauce each year. He says he likes your idea of adding dates. He also makes one batch with rosewater (a few TBSP).

  24. Jay says

    As much as I love the majority of your recipes, and have & love your first book, I cannot agree with posting a recipe like this & touted it as being good.

    This recipe encourages parents who are obsessed with a raw food diet to make and feed this overly tart mixture to their small children. The majority of these parents will not give a second thought to the fact some young childrens digestive systems are not equipped to digest tart foods easily.

    My concern here, is not for the parents who think it’s normal to only eat raw food, they can mess up their systems all they want. My concern is that those parents will force the same eating regime on their children.

    The less encouragement of that, the better.

    • says

      Really? That’s a personal issue with parents. Elana’s not encouraging anything by posting a raw dish. She’s just sharing a great recipe that is useful to many and I LOVE the use of dates, since I can’t have any sugars including honey. If she were to take into consideration all the stupid things people do she would never post a recipe. Nix the ‘victim mentality’. People need to be responsible for themselves.

    • Katie says

      The vast majority of this website is cooked. Um…sometimes people don’t cook things. Salad, anyone? Or veggie sticks. We make a relish out of raw onions and habanero peppers. My two year old LOVES salsa and spicy foods, but his dad is Mexican so that is often what we make. I don’t really think your post makes a whole lot of sense. I might call this recipe a “relish” and not a “sauce” but all in all it is a condiment. I imagine if you ate a meal’s worth of any condiment you might have an upset stomach…

    • Anna says

      Wow. I never knew that eating foods as nature intended made me “obsessive”, indeed, almost a child abuser.

      It’s a lovely recipe, no different than serving your kids Walforf salad. I like it sweeter, so I add in more dates. Big whoop.

      It’s amazing to me how people who are intent on finding fault do so at the drop of a hat. Humans have THRIVED on raw foods for most of history.

      Don’t want your kids eating it? Don’t serve it to them. Problem solved.

  25. says

    This sounds so yummy and tangy! My favorite cranberry sauce is a very old recipe which includes gelatin and oranges. It forms in a mold perfectly. But I’m going to give your recipe a try this year and see what the fam says. Thanks!

  26. SarahLeigh says

    My favorite cranberry dish is this cranberry salsa we make :) it has a ton of sugar in it (we only use 1/4-1/2 of what was called for in the original recipe) so maybe next time I’ll try adding in a few dates

  27. says

    Wow, we must have been on the exact same frequency this week–I just posted my raw cranberry sauce and they are almost identical!! I didn’t use a whole lemon though, just some squeezed some lemon juice on top then mixed it in. Also, I used my date fluff that I keep on hand at all times! Yum!
    Your’s looks beautiful.
    Peace and Raw Health,

  28. Lisa torres says

    YUM…. I just made this…and called my mom and she is going to make it too…She lives in Ohio and I am in California!! Super YUM!!!! I ate all of it…only had a cup of cranberries…but still… what a piggy…I am on my way to the store to make some more!! perfect for my raw diet right now while I cleanse my body of corn and wheat/gluten
    Once again..
    Thank you so much!!!

  29. says

    christin -You are too kind!

    VeggieGirl -I really appreciate your comments!

    Kelly -Beautiful blog and that recipe looks delicious.

    Christina -You are welcome. I love the combonation of cranberries and oranges.

  30. Christina says

    Thanks again Elena for another wonderful dish! I made two batches, one I’ll figure out how to serve as an appetizer it’s so awesome!

    My favorite cranberry dish, is cranberry orange muffins.

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