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.
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.
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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.
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!
- 1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries (not frozen)
- 2 cups water
- 2.5 cups granulated sweetener
- 1.25 tablespoons unflavored gelatin + 2 ounces water
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
- Rinse the cranberries and pick out any that need to be discarded.
- Add the cranberries to a sauce pan with the water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Let the berries come to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let them boil, stirring often.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the orange extract, if using.
- In a small measuring cup, mix the gelatin and water. Add the the jelly and whisk until dissolved.
- Transfer the jelly to empty tin cans (2 should work) or wide mouth mason jars.
- Let cool on the counter to room temperature and then refrigerate at least 6 hours, up to over night.
- 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.
- Store in the refigerator until ready to serve. Leftovers should keep up to 1 additional week.