Change up the classic holiday side dish this year, with a zesty pineapple cranberry sauce that everyone loves! With bright flavors of fresh pineapple and cranberries, you'd never guess it's actually lower in sugar than most cranberry sauce!
Originally published March 2019. Updated Sept. 2021.
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Is there anything more traditional than a quivering, ruby-colored bowlful of cranberry sauce, sitting beside a Thanksgiving turkey?
Whether you love the jellied variety, or whole-berry sauce, or even if you just love to hate the stuff altogether - cranberry sauce is a holiday fixture, and it's hard to imagine a Thanksgiving table without it.
For those of us who secretly harbor a take-it-or-leave-it vibe toward this revered side dish, how about trying something new this year?
This bright-flavored pineapple cranberry sauce is a Caribbean-inspired riff on the old faithful, that I, for one, can't stop eating with a spoon.
Last night after the kids were in bed, I found myself haunting the refrigerator. Eschewing leftover gingerbread cookies, I opted instead to sneak into the batch of this sauce that I'd made up for Thanksgiving later in the week. "Cranberry sauce over cookies!", you say? "Heresy!"
Well, heresy it might be. But I'm ok with that. Just don't make me stop.
In spite of how addictively delicious I think this sauce is, it's actually much lower in refined sugar than most recipes you'll find. Made with fresh pineapple and fresh cranberries, the bright fruit flavors really shine through and carry the dish, without need for being drowned in sugary sweetness.
A hint of ground ginger and cloves spice this up just enough to add some depth of character. The amounts of spice might seem small, but unless you're a real spice aficionado, I recommend sticking with the paltry measurements as a good starting place.
This isn't the place to be virtuous with a flu-busting dose of healthful ginger. Save that for your smoothie, and let spice play second fiddle to the fresh fruits in this recipe. (Unless of course, you're a die-hard ginger fan. In that case, triple my measurement and garnish this with a lovely sprinkle of candied ginger!)
This is an easy recipe to make up a day or two before your big holiday meal, and in my opinion, the flavor just gets even better after a day or two in the fridge. The only trouble with making it up ahead of time? Saving it for the holiday!
Pineapple Cranberry Sauce
- 1 whole organic pineapple
- 12 ounces fresh organic cranberries
- 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- Peel, core, and dice the pineapple.
- Add pineapple, cranberries, juice, water, and spices to a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
- Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until pineapple is well cooked, and sauce begins to thicken. As sauce gets thicker, you'll need to stir more frequently to prevent it sticking on.
- When the fruits have thoroughly cooked and lost their shape, and the sauce is nice and thick when scooped up on the stirring spoon, remove it from the heat.
- Allow to fully cool, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator until serving time. This can be made up to three days before serving.
You might wonder...
Can I make this sauce ahead of time?
You bet! Make it up to three days before serving. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container in the fridge. I actually think the flavors even improve after a day or two!
Why do you specify "organic" pineapple, cranberries, and sugar?
Cranberries, pineapple, and sugar are all notoriously high pesticide crops. I intentionally avoid specifying "organic" in my ingredient lists, unless it's a high-pesticide ingredient that I think you may find it helpful to have on your radar. Pineapple, cranberries, and sugar all fall into that category.
My cranberry sauce didn't gel. What should I do?
Both because this sauce contains pineapple, and because it contains less sugar than most recipes, you may find that it has less of a "gelatin-like" consistency when cool.
If you find that it's not as thick as you'd like after it cools, just toss it back in a pot and let it cook a bit longer, until it thickens a little more. As it thickens, it will get so that it maintains a nice "heap on your spoon" consistency that cranberry sauce lovers so appreciate!
Have any questions I haven't answered? Ask away in the comments below! Hope you love this easy pineapple cranberry sauce as much as I do!