Homemade Sugar Free Cranberry Jelly

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This homemade sugar free cranberry jelly is the easiest dish you’ll make for your Thanksgiving table! With just 3 ingredients, you can make a keto cranberry jelly that rivals all of the ones on the store shelves. 

Homemade sugar free cranberry jelly made with just 3 ingredients. Keto friendly, dairy free, and paleo cranberry jelly. Just 3 net carbs per serving.

There is a hot Thanksgiving debate when it comes to a certain gelatinous side dish. Wait, is it really a side dish or more of a condiment?

Either way, folks are either very much for or against cranberry jelly accompanying their turkey and dressing. 

Once that debate is settled comes the next great cranberry debate: jelly or sauce?

I understand the debate. Cranberry sauce is vastly different from jelly out of a can.

Cranberry jelly is like grown-up kid food. But cranberry sauce is elegant and beautiful in a crystal serving bowl. Aesthetically, I think cranberry sauce wins but really, I’m indifferent.

Personally, this is one area that I have zero opinion. I don’t actually like cranberry jelly or sauce.

Click here for more keto holiday recipes

People either love or hate one or the other. There doesn’t seem to be much tolerance for “the other kind”. One could say it is the political holiday condiment. Haha! 

One thing I noticed lately is that there seems to be a plethora of recipes for sugar free cranberry sauce but virtually none for sugar free cranberry jelly. 

I was really surprised by that since so many people buy the canned kind year after year! 

This recipe for sugar free cranberry jelly was developed out of love for the men in my family who love this controversial condiment and for you!

If you must have a bite of tart cranberry jelly with your turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes, then I present you with this delicious and easy sugar free cranberry jelly recipe!

 

 

This Sugar Free Cranberry Jelly Is Better Than Store Bought, I Promise

And here’s why:

  • Only 4 ingredients required (and one of those is water which doesn’t really count)
  • The easiest recipe you’ll make for any Thanksgiving table
  • No corn syrup or weird preservatives
  • Make this the week before Thanksgiving to check one thing off your list early
  • You can even can it, if you’re into that kind of thing

 

 

Making Your Own Keto Cranberry Jelly

Preparing your own keto cranberry jelly is easier than pie. (see what I did there?)

Honestly, all you need is fresh cranberries, water, sweetener, and unflavored gelatin. 

It only takes about 25 minutes to prepare the jelly. The hardest part is letting it set up in the refrigerator. If you’re like me, you’ll poke it with your finger every hour to see how jiggly it is. 😉

 

 

As always, I used my favorite zero carb monkfruit sweetener to balance the tartness of the cranberries. 

You’ll start by bringing the berries to a boil in water. After a few minutes, you’ll hear some popping sounds. That is the cranberries opening up! 

After a few more minutes, everything will cook down and you’ll notice a sauce forming and sticking to the back of your spoon.

Add in your sweetener, your gelatin, and let it all become one. 

A note about gelatin: be sure to purchase unflavored gelatin. Personally, I like to use Further Food Gelatin because it is grass-fed and pasture raised (aka: really high quality). Each tablespoon of gelatin has 10g of collagen too. It’s great for hair, skin, nails, guts, and bones. Of course, if you want to buy the regular stuff off the shelf at the grocery, by all means, do. I just recommend Further Food whenever I get the chance!

 

 

Once the berries have reduced enough, you’ll strain, strain, straiiiiiiin, strain a fool…sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Run it through a fine mesh sieve (here’s a good one that every cook needs in her kitchen), cool, and refrigerate. 

You can store your jelly in tin cans (like a vegetable can rinsed out- this is what I did), wide mouth mason jars (pint sized), or a fancy jello mold. You should get about 2 full cans or jars out of this recipe.

I’m telling you, this recipe is easier than pie to make. AND you can totally make it up to a week ahead of time. Just keep it in the fridge till you’re ready to serve.

 

Why Should You Make Your Own Cranberry Jelly?

For starters, I’ve never seen a sugar free cranberry jelly at the grocery. In fact, I just checked my local Kroger and there wasn’t a single option. So, there’s that. 

But also, one thing I’ve always noticed about the store bought cranberry jelly is that it is so sweet and purple, not cranberry red.

High fructose corn syrup is usually the first ingredient listed. Bleh! 

Making a homemade cranberry jelly from fresh cranberries not only makes a prettier jelly, it captures the true flavors of the cranberry. 

It’s tart but in all the good ways. When you pair it with your turkey, stuffing, or whatever else you folks mush together, (by the way I am 100% on the food-shouldn’t-touch squad), it’ll taste simply divine! 

Tips For a Successful Jelly:

  • Follow the directions as written. Be sure not to overcook the cranberry and sweetener mixture as this can lead to a separation that you can not recover. Dissolving the sweetener in the reduced cranberries should only take a few seconds. 
  • Make sure the cranberries are removed from the heat when you add the gelatin (which already needs to be dissolved in water).
  • If you’re using a different brand of gelatin than is recommended, read the package directions to make sure you dissolve it accordingly (but don’t boil it WITH the cranberry mixture). 
  • Feel free to adjust the sweetener to your desired taste. Since fresh cranberries are naturally very tart, more sweetener helps to mimic the flavor most people are used to. If you’re using a sweetener such as Swerve or Pyure, you may want to reduce the amount because those sweeteners do not measure 1:1 like monkfruit blends. It is important you know the sweetener you are working with!
  •  

Homemade Sugar Free Cranberry Jelly

Homemade Sugar Free Cranberry Jelly

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Chill Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes

Homemade sugar free cranberry jelly made with just 3 ingredients. Keto friendly, dairy free, and paleo cranberry jelly. Just 3 net carbs per serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries (not frozen)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2.5 cups granulated sweetener I use this brand
  • 1.25 tablespoons unflavored gelatin + 2 ounces water I use this brand
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract (optional)

Instructions

  1. Rinse the cranberries and pick out any that need to be discarded.
  2. Add the cranberries to a sauce pan with the water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Let the berries come to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let them boil, stirring often.
  4. The berries will pop open and begin to foam up. Let them boil for about 15 minutes. You want the liquid to thicken, reduce by about 1/4, and coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the cranberry mixture into the strainer and strain until all juice and jelly has come through. Mash the berries in the strainer to extract as much jelly as possible. To make this easier, I used a mix and chop tool. Check under the strainer for jelly that needs to be scraped off.
  6. Return the strained jelly to the sauce pan. Bring back to a low boil and add the sweetener. Stir until dissolved, about 30 seconds. Do not continue to boil this mixture. Remove from heat.
  7. Add the orange extract, if using.
  8. In a small measuring cup, mix the gelatin and water. Add the the jelly and whisk until dissolved.
  9. Transfer the jelly to empty tin cans (2 should work) or wide mouth mason jars.
  10. Let cool on the counter to room temperature and then refrigerate at least 6 hours, up to over night.
  11. When ready to serve, slide a small rubber spatula or butter knife around the rim of the cans/jars to loosen the jelly. Flip onto a serving platter and slice as desired.
  12. Store in the refigerator until ready to serve. Leftovers should keep up to 1 additional week.

Notes

Read the section “tips for a successful jelly” for troubleshooting tips.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 25Total Fat: 0.1gCarbohydrates: 5.2gNet Carbohydrates: 3.2gFiber: 2gProtein: 1.6g
Homemade sugar free cranberry jelly made with just 3 ingredients. Keto friendly, dairy free, and paleo cranberry jelly. Just 3 net carbs per serving.


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21 thoughts on “Homemade Sugar Free Cranberry Jelly”

  • Hi: Your jelly looks delicious and I’m adding it to my recipe book. I’ve been making homemade sugar-free cranberry jelly for years now and it always gets rave reviews. I’m sure that I’ll love your recipe for jelly, but I really like having the whole berries in my sauce, considering all the extra fiber that remains there without the straining. I will make your version and bring both types of cranberry sauces to our Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll let you know the reviews I get from my family, which I am sure will be wonderful. Thanks for your great recipe!

    • I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a complete fail! I followed instructions to a T and the sweetener ended up crystallizing. It all went in the trash, big disappointment! I almost used the powdered sweetener since this has happened with other recipes. Next time I will either run it through my coffee grinder or use powdered Monkfruit.

      • I’m sorry you had problems with it crystallizing. That would have happened because it wasn’t fully dissolved during step 6. Powdered low carb sweeteners will also crystallize when chilled (if not dissolved) so that would actually not make a difference.

  • A turkey meal isn’t that, without cranberry jelly (or sauce as we know it in the UK). Mhm, I am almost drooling now thinking of a turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwich! Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving for tomorrow! Sim x

    • I don’t think I’d freeze it. I doubt the consistency would be maintained upon thawing. If you’re someone who knows how to can things, I am pretty sure you could do that to preserve it!

  • Would you be able to leave the cranberries in rather than straining it for a more rustic cranberry sauce? Would this affect the nutrition information?

  • Hi! I just made the cranberry sauce and I used the same sweetener you recommend, but today I tasted the chilled sauce and it is really “granulated”. What did I do wrong? Any way to remedy this? thanks.

    • Hi, I’m sorry that happened. I haven’t experienced that in recipe testing and making it post development. It seems to me that the sugar wasn’t fully dissolved before being chilled. Low carb sweeteners crystallize when they’re cold, like it does in cheesecake, but dissolving it completely prevents that from happening here.

  • I have no idea why but when I made this it ended up being quite grainy or like the sweetener or something crystallized. I am a fully competent cook and know what I’m doing. I followed the recipe to a T. It tasted so good before it was put in the fridge, not to say that it doesn’t stil taste good because it does, but the texture is nothing like other cranberry sauces that I’ve ever had whether it was canned or made from scratch. Don’t know what happened here but kind of disappointed.

    • Hi, I’m sorry that happened to yours. I haven’t experienced that when I’ve made it as well as recipe testing but it seems to me that maybe the sweetener wasn’t fully dissolved before the jelly was chilled. Low carb sweeteners will crystallize when cold (think cheesecake) but here, the sweetener is fully dissolved so that wouldnt happen (like it wouldn’t in a sugar free caramel sauce that’s chilled).

  • This was pretty good! My family loved the canned cranberry sauce. This comes close but it a little light in texture. Next time instead of straining the cranberries, I may just throw them in the blender to liquify. Thanks for a great sugar free recipe!

  • I made this and its delicious! A little labor intensive to strain but it turned out perfectly! For those that have grainy issues, if you have access to Allulose, use it! It works PERFECTLY, the most like sugar and is never grainy. It IS only about 70 percent as sweet as sugar, so adjust accordingly to taste!

  • Just wanted to let you know, you cannot water bath can this recipe, if you want your sauce to gel. I made a double batch, canning all of it, except one half pint jar, as an experiment. The only change I made to the recipe was to reduce the sweetener to preference, and grind my sweetener into a powder, so that it would be less likely to recrystallize. The jar that I did not can, I allowed to cool, and then placed in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I was able to run a knife around the edge of the jar, and slip the cranberry sauce right out. It was nice and firm , and I was able to slice it neatly. The taste and texture were perfect. The jars I canned remained in a syrupy state at room temperature. The next day I put them in the refrigerator, to see if they would firm up. They did for him up into a soft jelly type consistency. I could slice them, but they were really too soft to serve that way. We ended up just serving them from a dish with a spoon, as more of a cranberry sauce. Still tasted very good, but just wanted to let you and your readers know about the canning side of it. As a side note, I have successfully made standard cranberry jelly with sugar previously, from the Ball Blue Book of canning. I think I am going to try making a new batch using Pomona’s Universal pectin, as that can be used with non sugar sweeteners, instead of the gelatin, to see if I can get the consistency right when canned.

    • Savannah…how much sugar did you use? Did you use the monkfruit sweetener? How long did you cook it for to dissolve the sweetener? I tried using monkfruit with jam this fall and it crystallized.

  • I’m obsessed with this. Made it several times since Thanksgiving. I powder my sweetener, ( combo monk fruit, swerve, allulose) and use about 1.25 C. It’s so wonderful, pairs with so much.
    Thank you for the recipe.

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