Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce

Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce: fresh apples and zesty lime give this classic Thanksgiving side dish staple a yummy makeover! 

Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce: fresh apples and zesty lime give this classic Thanksgiving side dish staple a yummy makeover! 

Hello November, so nice to eat you! Now bring on the cranberries!!!

First off, we have a few things to address here today.

Ok well, maybe just one thing: the strawberries. They’re in my cranberry sauce.

“Oh, are you freaked out? You’re like so freaked out. You’re like running for the door…”

Name that movie and we can be best friends forever.

After plowing through my entire freezer stash of my usual crock-pot cranberry sauce, I got fancy. I have a thing for trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to my own recipes. They’re typically ones I can make blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back and not a measuring cup in sight. I know my way through these recipes like I do the halls of my own home, actually these recipes ARE home. So from time to time, I rearrange. A little spring cleaning here, a new rug there, and sometimes, like today, I rearrange the furniture.

Though instead of moving couches I’m adding new ingredients to my cranberry sauce.

So strawberries, eh?

They’re AMAZING in this sauce. Once you taste it you’ll totally agree obnoxious all caps were beyond necessary. Add too many and you’ve got a pot full of jam on your hands, but add just a little and you’ve got a recipe for a baller berry sauce that will keep everyone guessing while they lick their plates clean! Now strawberries are typically the furthest thing from our minds as Fall blusters on and Winter gains momentum, but that’s why we have freezers! Berries frozen at harvest’s peak make a perfect addiction to this sassy sauce. I could go on but once I hit 400 words you start to get twitchy on me, so let’s dive face-first into the recipe instead.

Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce


Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 [12 ounce] bag fresh cranberries [or 3 cups]
  • 1 cup dried cranberries [aka craisins]
  • 10 large ripe strawberries, frozen
  • 1 large red delicious or honey crisp apple, peeled + diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • lime zest [I zested nearly the entire lime in mine! YUM!]
  • 3 TBSP honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • note: for a fun and edible garnish, when you pop the lid to stir the fruit, fish out a few cranberries, sprinkle with granulated sugar and set aside until you're ready to plate the sauce. You can also garnish with a little bit of mint, basil, or even parsley [hey I was desperate!]


  1. Add all of the above ingredients to your slow cooker on high for 2 hours.
  2. Once the majority of the berries have popped and the house smells AMAZING, allow sauce to cool.
  3. Next puree using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.
  4. Give it a taste and feel free to sweeten a bit more if desired, this sauce has my ideal ratio of sweetness and tartness and I'm beyond in love with the flavor, but won't be offended if you add a pinch of brown sugar or a little extra honey.
  5. The final step? Slather it on everything!
  6. It'll keep in the fridge for up to four days and can be frozen for several months and reheated whenever the craving strikes!
  7. In a rush? This stellar sauce can absolutely be made on the stove top over medium heat in a fraction of the time. In about 10-15 minutes your'll have a gorgeous cranberry sauce that thickens as it cools. I'm just hopelessly addicted to recipes I can toss in the slow cooker and walk away from, especially since I'm usually multi-tasking my face off. Plus when you're cooking up a huge holiday feast, oven and stove-top space are prime real estate, yo!
  8. Regardless of the method you choose, the results will be fantastic! Enjoy!


No strawberries? No problem! Simply add extra apple in place of the strawberry in the recipe and you're good to go! This recipe is super versatile and easily customizable too. Sweeten to taste and get ready to rock your Thanksgiving spread!

Recipe yields approx 1 quart  (4 cups) of sauce, so feel free to scarf some now and freeze the rest for later!

While we’re talking freezers, you can prep this sauce in advance and save time on the big day! Simply store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze it and defrost when ready. It reheats marvelously and tastes good on everything!

Of course you don’t have to freeze the leftovers! My all-time favorite uses for leftover cranberry sauce are [these] cranberry streusel bars and [this] out of this world cranberry walnut cream cheese spread that’s fantastic on bagels, croissants, celery, and sandwiches galore! I make extra sauce just so I have a bounty of leftovers to make both recipes. Tis tradition!

You should totally make this saucy appetizer too:

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley


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  • Margaret

    Can you use frozen strawberries for the cranberry recipe?

    • Jenn

      Hi Margaret! Of course! I used frozen strawberries in this recipe 🙂 They add a nice layer of natural sweetness to the tart cranberries, I love it!

      • Margaret

        How many ounces of frozen strawberries did you use?

        • Jenn

          I skipped the scale for this one and used 10 large strawberries. If your strawberries are teeny tiny you could use a few more as needed, feel free to eyeball it 😉

  • Alexus

    Can you use more cranberries instead of the craisins?

    • Jenn

      Hi Alexus! Yes absolutely! When I originally wrote the recipe I ran out of fresh and added some dried to the mix to make a larger serving. I’ve made it with all fresh and even with frozen and it’s marvelous all ways. Since the dried cranberries are a little sweeter you may want a smidge more honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup in the sauce if you find it super tart. It’s suuuuper customizable and I hope you adore it as much as my family does! 🙂

  • Candice

    Thank you! I LOVED this cranberry sauce and even converted my dad (who is loyal only to the jellied, canned variety – yuck). I froze a few batches, so I can quickly thaw and enjoy long after Thanksgiving 🙂

  • Yum! I am actually going to make a pear cranberry sauce this year. Love this idea using the slow cooker.

  • I’m totally digging the addition of strawberries in this, and since I just so happen to have a freezer full of them, this will be happening. Love it.

    • Jenn

      It tames some of the bite of the cranberries but still let’s the tartness shine through a bit; I love it!

  • Kay

    I love your original cranberry sauce, but I’m willing to try something new!

  • I love how this has more than just cranberry! What a fun and unique way to make it!

  • Garden State!!!

    I am most certainly NOT freaked out. This sounds amazing! Can’t wait to make it and freak my mom out at Thanksgiving though 🙂


    • Jenn


  • I love cranberry sauce all year long and I love the new spin with this one! Looks fantastic!

    • Jenn

      OMG Jen can I just say I’m in love with your blog name! =) The best!

  • I can just hear that line being said but I can’t for the life of me remember where it’s from!! I’m not usually a fan of cranberry sauce but this stuff looks delicious!

    • Jenn

      Thanks Melissa!!!! =) It’s from Garden State and I quote it entirely too much haha!

  • That looks like some wonderful cranberry sauce! I always loved that part of the Thanksgiving meal. 🙂

    • Jenn

      Thanks!!! Me too!

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