Crunchy Cranberry Sauce

Last week my sister was like, “Hey, are you coming here next week for Thanksgiving or what?” and I was all like, “Next week?! What do you mean, there’s at least another month before Thanksgiving…”

So, if you’re wondering why I haven’t posted any Thanksgiving goodies, that’s why. I’m off in la-la-land. But, while perusing the web recently I did come across this fantastic recipe for Healthy Cranberry Relish (not online anymore :( ) on and immediately wanted to make it. Cranberry sauce and relish are my favorite part of Thanksgiving, so since I’m a little late to the party this year, I’m at least going to squeeze this one in.

The two aspects of the Eating Paleo 4 Health relish recipe that caught my attention were the celery and the addition of some gelatin to make things a little thicker. The celery adds a super interesting flavor element (although you probably need to be a fan of celery to begin with), tons of crunch, and it also helps stretch the recipe without increasing the cost much. I realized just before beginning the recipe that apples would also be lovely in this, and wouldn’t you know, I just happened to have one! So, in it went. The result is a super crunchy sauce (oops, it really should be called a relish), with a unique flavor and tons of tangy cranberry. I love it. I just love it!

Now I just have to figure out if I’m going to keep this at home for myself or bring it to the feast on Thursday…

Crunchy Cranberry Sauce -

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3.67 from 3 votes

Crunchy Cranberry Sauce

Celery, apples, and walnuts add bulk and a delightful texture and savory flavor to this crunchy cranberry sauce. 
Total Cost: $4.60 recipe / $0.58 serving
Author: Adapted from
Prep Time: 2 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings (1/2 cup each)


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar ($0.08)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries ($2.00)
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon ($0.02)
  • 1 1/4 oz. envelope plain gelatin ($0.46)
  • 4 stalks celery ($0.40)
  • 1 medium apple ($0.44)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces ($1.18)


  • In a medium sauce pot, bring 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil. Stir briefly to dissolve the sugar, then add the cranberries. Allow the pot to come back up to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low, place a lid on top, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. (the cranberries will burst as the cook, so don't forget the lid).
  • Meanwhile, stir one envelope of plain gelatin into 3 tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit until the gelatin has absorbed the water and formed a thick jelly-like texture (about 5 minutes).
  • Once the cranberries have simmered for 10 minutes, stir in the softened gelatin, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Place the pot in the refrigerator to cool.
  • While the cranberry mixture is cooling, finely dice the celery and apple. Stir together the celery, apple, and walnuts in a large bowl. When the cranberry mixture has cooled a little (it's okay if it's warm, just not piping hot), pour it into the bowl with the celery, apple, and walnuts. Stir to combine, then return to the refrigerator to cool completely (about 2 hours). Serve chilled.
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Crunchy Cranberry Sauce -

Step by Step Photos

Sugar and Water

Begin by bringing 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium sauce pot (medium heat). As the mixture heats up, the sugar will dissolve. You may need to give it a quick stir to help it completely dissolve.

Add Cranbberies

Once it reaches a boil, add one 12-oz. bag of fresh cranberries. Let the pot come back up to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, place a lid on top (to catch the splatter from the popping cranberries) and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Soften Gelatin

While the cranberries are simmering, stir one 1/4 oz. envelope of plain gelatin into 3 tablespoons of water. Let that sit for a few minutes, or until the gelatin absorbs the water and takes on a jelly-like texture.

Boiled Cranberries

After simmering for 10 minutes, the cranberries will have all popped open and the mixture will be a tad bit thicker. Stir in the softened gelatin, 1/2 Tbsp of lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Make sure to stir until the entire piece of gelatin has dissolved into the hot cranberry liquid. Place the pot in the refrigerator to help it cool faster.

Apple and Celery

While the cranberry sauce is cooling, finely dice four stalks of celery and one apple.

Chopped Crunchies

Place the chopped celery, apple, and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts in a large bowl. Stir them to combine.

Combine Cranberries and Crunchies

Pour the partially cooled cranberry mixture over top, then stir to combine again. The cranberry sauce doesn’t have to be completely cooled before adding to the celery and apple, but you don’t want it piping hot because you don’t want it to “cook” the celery and apple. As long as it’s only slightly warm, the apple and celery will stay crunchy.

Crunchy Cranberry Sauce -

After stirring everything together, place it back in the refrigerator to cool completely. The mixture will thicken even more upon cooling. Serve chilled!