Homemade Cranberry Juice–4 Surprisingly Easy Ways

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This homemade cranberry juice is super easy to make, the perfect combination of sweet and tart, and oh so refreshing. You won’t believe how much better it is than the store bought variety, plus you can adjust the sweetness however you like. Plus, there are 4 ways to make it!

glass of cranberry juice and bowl of cranberries

Every Christmas season, I stock up on cranberries. I’ll wait until just after the Holiday season is over, and then visit my local grocery store(s) to snag some discounts. I just love cranberry sauce, so this way, I can enjoy it year round, whenever the craving hits. Plus frozen cranberries are great for making this Cranberry Smoothie Bowl anytime of year.

However, just recently, I found another fantastic use for these holiday favorites–Homemade Cranberry Juice!

How this happened is that I was working on a recipe for Cranberry Spritzer / Cranberry Mimosa / Mocktail, but ran into a bump in the road….

And the bump was a BIG bump. A bump made of sugar.

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How Much Sugar Is in Cranberry Juice?

I started out thinking that I’d take the easy road and make the Cranberry Spritzer out of unsweetened cranberry juice, so I started calling around to stores to find some.

Well, good luck with that.

I soon found out that it’s almost impossible to find such a thing.

I also found out that there is simply WAAAAY too much sugar in Cranberry Juice and Cranberry Cocktails.

Seriously–the lowest content of the natural variety that I found was a whopping 27 grams in a glass! Plus, the juice wasn’t organic and if you are familiar with pesticide contents of produce, berries are typically pretty high and the juice was sweetened with apples and other berries, all of which are sprayed with quite a few toxins that I would rather not be eating.

So it dawned on me–why not try to make my own Homemade Cranberry Cocktail? 

And the answer is, you sure can! And there are actually 4 ways to do it!

sugar-free cranberry juice in a glass

Why Make Your Own Homemade Cranberry Juice?

There are several reasons to make your own cranberry juice. Here are some of them.

Less Sugar & Fewer Carbs

More and more I’m convinced that sugar is something to avoid as much as possible. Cranberries are not very sweet, so to make the juice taste good, manufacturers add a ton of sweetener.

They do the same when making cranberry sauce. That’s why, similar to how I made this juice without sugar, I also made this Sugar-free Cranberry Sauce without–you guessed it–sugar!

When you make your own Homemade Cranberry Juice, you can use whatever sweetener you like (or even NO sweetener if you really like to pucker!!) and even make it low-carb!

Save Money

The cost of the Homemade Cranberry Juice of course will vary based on the method chosen, but we had a great time making the “blender version” numerous times. I would say that we probably got a good value out of the 2 cups of organic cranberries that we used! For sure, taking into account that they were organic, I would say that we got a good value.

Avoid Pesticides

Finding organic cranberry juice is pretty tough. But if you make your own Homemade Cranberry Juice Cocktail, you can use organic cranberries, which are more readily available.Of course no food is perfect, but by using organic cranberries, you will most likely be intaking fewer pesticides than if you use conventional (source).

Even if cranberries aren’t a food that has loads of pesticides on them (for example, strawberries are MUCH worse in terms of pesticide content), it’s can still be a good idea to avoid pesticides whenever possible. Plus when I tried to avoid sugar by purchasing a “fruit-sweetened” cranberry juice, the other fruits that were used to sweeten the drink were apples and other berries, which are all fruits known to have quite a few pesticides on them–and they were not organic.

Some sources have determined that the amount of pesticides in foods should not cause harm (source), while others cite concerns about ongoing exposure (source). We choose to be as careful about this as we can.

Is Cranberry Juice Keto Friendly?

As I mentioned, most cranberry juice that you find in the stores is uber high in sugar. Like you might be better off eating a Snickers Bar.

But, since cranberries are naturally low in carbs, this Homemade Sugar-free Cranberry Juice is keto-friendly, and it’s paleo-friendly too.

You don’t want to go downing a bunch of this juice if you’re on the keto diet, but you can use this cranberry juice in your recipes in moderation without worrying about the extra carbs. You can of course think out the cranberry juice for a lower carb content as well.

The Best Way to Make Cranberry Juice

Of course, using powdered juice is the easiest way to make a homemade cranberry juice. I use a lot of powdered juices and it’s a great way to get the benefits of fresh produce into your body. Of course, you want to buy quality powders that are processed quickly after the fruits are harvested.

Otherwise, I really like making the juice in my Vitamix. It’s so fast and no need for the store or cleaning up either a pan or slow cooker. Note that if you use my affiliate link, you can get free shipping. I just LOVE the Vitamix for so many things like Homemade Coconut Milk, Almond Butter, Coconut Butter, Powdered Sweetener….and I’m just getting started!

cranberries and water in vitamix blender for making homemade cranberry juice

Equipment You Will Need

Depending on the method you use, you will need some, or all, of the following:

What About Lead in Slow Cookers?

This truly might be a concern. Apparently, no slow cookers have tested definitely for being lead free and since cranberries are acidic, any lead present might leach into your juice. Using this method is up to your discretion, of course.

What Can You Do with Leftover Cranberry Pulp?

Of course you can toss the cranberry pulp, but I’m not one to waste good food. We used it over and over to make more and more (yes it was thinner, but it was still juice!) juice, and you could of course dry it in a food dehydrator and make leather.

I would personally combine it with other fruit pulp or at least add a low-carb sweetener to it since cranberries aren’t naturally sweet, otherwise you’ll be puckering while eating very sour fruit leather!

homemade cranberry juice in pitcher and glass

Special Diet Notes

AIP: This recipe cannot be AIP.
Paleo: For paleo, use coconut sugar, stevia, honey, or maple syrup.
Keto / Low-carb: Use the low-carb sweetener in the post or stevia extract, or any combination.
Vegan: This recipe is naturally vegan.
Gluten-free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
Sugar-free: Unless you choose to add a higher glycemic sweetener, this recipe can be considered sugar-free. It has some natural sugars in it, but it’s very minimal.

Recipe Notes

Sweetener Options: We tried this recipe using several different sweeteners. The one linked to in the recipe works great–you do need to stir quite a bit to get it to dissolve (or you can blend it in) but it’s lovely.

Stevia extract dissolves very nicely, but it can have an aftertaste. 

A stevia glycerite, like this one, is a great sweetener option — and this Liquid Monk Fruit Extract would work great as well. 

homemade cranberry juice in a glass
homemade cranberry juice in pitcher and glass

Homemade Cranberry Juice

This Homemade Cranberry Juice is super simple and refreshing–you'll never go back to store bought!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Low-Carb, Paleo, Sugar-Free, THM:S, Vegan
Keyword: homemade cranberry juice, sugar-free cranberry juice
Servings: 4
Calories: 54kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

Saucepan Method

  • Place water and cranberries in a saucepan. Bring water and cranberries to a boil. Reduce the heat–cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes or until the berries begin to pop.
  • Alternatively, during the last few minutes of boiling, mash the cranberries well. You'll end up with almost no pulp and a thicker juice.
  • Let cool a bit. Strain the berries through a fine strainer, pressing the mixture with a spoon. Save cranberry pulp for later use. See notes for ways to use this.
  • Return cranberry juice to the pan. Stir in the sweetener, lemon juice, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until sweetener is dissolved.
  • Remove from the heat. Cool and transfer to a pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled, or pour over ice and serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Method

  • Wash cranberries. Put cranberries and lemon juice in the slow cooker.
  • Add water to the slow cooker–just enough to barely cover the berries.
  • Add sweetener of choice.
  • Cook on high for 4-5 hours.
  • If desired, mash the cranberries to extract more juice and cook an additional 30 minutes.
  • Strain the liquid from the berries.
  • Allow the juice to cool. Refrigerate until cold and serve, or serve over ice immediately.

Blender Method

  • Place cranberries and water into blender.
  • Blend on high until well blended and the resulting mixture is completely smooth.
  • Strain out the juice using a fine mesh strainer, pressing the contents against the edge of the strainer with a spoon or spatula.
  • Return the juice to the blender. Add the sweeteners and lemon juice and blend again.
  • Refrigerate until cold or serve over ice immediately.

Powder Method

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of powdered cranberry juice in a cup of water.
  • Stir well to combine. A frother can be used for easier blending, or you could put the water and powdered juice in a blender and blend 'til combined. One other option is to heat the water first, then add the powder, and stir until combined.

Notes

Sweetener Options: We tried this recipe using several different sweeteners. The one linked to in the recipe works great–you do need to stir quite a bit to get it to dissolve (or you can blend it in) but it’s lovely.
Stevia extract dissolves very nicely, but it can have an aftertaste for many.
Using a stevia glycerite, like this one, is a great sweetener option — and this Liquid Monk Fruit Extract would work great as well. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 51mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 68IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbs: 9g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

I hope you enjoy this homemade cranberry juice, however you make it!

Did you have any idea that you could make your own cranberry juice?

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26 Comments

    1. Hi there! Thanks for asking! I had it in the post already but I had used the word “mash” instead of “pulp.” I changed it now so you can go back and find it more easily. Thanks again for asking! Hope it works out well for you.

  1. I decided to boil cranberries, then mash them in the pan during the last few minute of simmering. This left just a few strands of cranberries, and after putting the entire batch in the blender, there was no mash left to deal with. The result has been a nice juice. No sugar added while boiling, but it worked well after the blending to add the usual daily drink powder – True lime limeade black cherry flavor from Walmart of Amazon – to 16 oz of water and add that to, say, 12 oz the cranberry juice. When I have some home water kefir, adding that seems to be okay. For a stronger cranberry juice, can add the drink powder (it contains only 1gm of sugar and some stevia leaf extract) and see how things go from there. Lots of options. If anyone finds a problem with the approach, don’t hesitate to let me know.

    1. Hi there. So this is interesting. You’re saying that you didn’t have any solids left in the juice after boiling and mashing or rather that it was just thick and you could have strained it out but just didn’t bother doing that? Thanks!

      1. After mashing the cranberries in the last few minutes of boiling, then finishing in the blender, I did finish by straining the resulting cranberry juice. There were a couple of teaspoons of very, very thin slivers of cranberries. The cranberry slivers would have been annoying to drink in the juice. All in all, I think the mashing before blending and briefly straining after blending is a good way to go.
        I also did use more water to boil the cranberries since I wasn’t straining the mix, and the juice was still fairly thick.

  2. 5 stars
    Hello quick question, may I use dried cranberries instead ?? and how will I do that? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Maritza! You can definitely do that. I guess you’re thinking about adding water and making in the blender? I would just do it and you’ll likely need a bit more water to account for what’s not there. Of course most dried cranberries have a sweetener so keep that in mind…..it’s really hard to find them without it! Hope that helps.

  3. 5 stars
    This was so easy and tastes so good. I made it the blender way. Used the leftover mash and made jam. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. So glad to hear. You are so welcome! 🙂 You made my night. And on that note–good night :).

  4. 5 stars
    I just made this using cranberry powder I bought off Amazon. 1 cup hot water, two tablespoons honey, and two tablespoons of the powder. I melted the honey first in the water, then added the powder and whisked . Tastes amazing. I will try with one tablespoon of honey next. Maybe wean myself off the honey. We shall see. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hi there. I don’t have recipes – I just reused it to make more juice and you could make a leather from it or add it to a smoothie, etc.

  5. Just a couple of thoughts: First this sounds good. However, calling it KETO friendly at 14 grams of carbs per 1 cup is not KETO friendly.

    Beyond the mention of a “low carb sweetener” with no suggestions on which ones or the amount to use, it was very vague.

    Did I miss the link to the powdered cranberries? I didn’t see any links or maybe a link to a recipe to make my own?

    I know these all seem a bit negative, but not intentionally. I really DO like the idea, I just feel the post is a bit lacking in information.

    I completely agree about not being able to find a good cranberry juice option that is organic and sugar free or at least low in sugar.

    I WILL be trying this, maybe even all 4 ways! (IF I can find a cranberry powder!)*Found some on Amazon
    Thank you for the post!

    1. Hi Carol! Sorry for the delay in responding. Had to address your concerns and then have been so swamped here.

      1. Sorry about the link problems. I have no idea what was going on there but it all should be fixed now. Something was messed up on the blog. It’s been a puzzle but they should be working for you. Let me know :).

      2. About the keto–I meant that it’s friendly for using in keto recipes so that’s been updated in the post. I hope that clarifies. It’s WAY better than other cranberry stuffola in the stores.

      Thank you!!!