You won't believe the flavor of this super simple cranberry coulis. It is sweet, tart and super smooth with a perfect drizz-able consistency. We love it over a vanilla cake, but amazing in oatmeals, over yogurt or ice cream and so much more. Great recipe to use up your extra fresh cranberries from Thanksgiving or Christmas and 100% plant-based.
I just shared these amazing vegan cranberry orange muffins and was left with half a bag of fresh cranberries, so I thought I would make a delicious cranberry coulis!
Not a chunky cranberry sauce that you typically dollop over savory dishes at Thanksgiving, but a real sweet and smooth fruit coulis. The internet is pretty much saturated with Thanksgiving-style cranberry sauce recipes anyway, so I felt like doing something a little different, and I'm so glad I did, we loved this recipe!
The tart flavor of the cranberries is so amazing here, but not overpowering at all. You can sweeten the coulis as much as you need to fit your tartness tolerance, but also, I find the orange + vanilla extract + cinnamon to work well together to distract the taste buds from that punch of tart flavor from the cranberries.
And this cranberry coulis is super simple and made just like any other coulis: cook the fruits until juicy, then flavor and sweeten to taste before straining the mixture to get that amazing velvety and smooth - but thick - sauce. I love that this coulis is done so quickly, not much fuss about it other than straining, and you can make it ahead of a gathering so it is all nicely chilled and ready to drizzle.
This recipe also is perfect if you are left with extra cranberries from the holidays and want to serve them a little differently. Although this recipe actually is very close to a classic cranberry sauce, the flavor profile and texture will pair better with sweets and desserts, I think.
I served mine with this 5-min vegan vanilla mug cake from Loving It Vegan, which worked out so great. You should definitely try that combo! But, feel free to use over yogurt, oatmeals, overnight oats, ice cream, parfaits and so much more.
Let me know if you give it a try! ❤️
- Tart yet sweet
- Smooth consistency
- No white sugar needed
- Versatile and you will have easy control on how sweet you want it to be
- Perfect for dessert recipes
- Nice change from a classic cranberry sauce
- Healthy and rich in antioxidants
- Great served at Thanksgiving, Christmas or whenever the cranberries are in season
Ingredients you'll need
- Fresh cranberries: they are in season usually in November and throughout the holidays. Don't use dried cranberries!
- Fresh orange: I used a large Navel orange as they are sweet and juicy. You will need the zest and juice from a whole orange for this recipe.
- Sweetener: I used maple syrup, but feel free to use any sweetener you like, such as agave nectar, brown rice syrup, date syrup or even granulated sugar. You might have to add more or less depending on the kind of sweetener you use, so make sure to taste the coulis to adjust.
- Cinnamon and vanilla extract: flavoring ingredients. Can omit or swap for other spices depending on your taste or the way you want to serve it.
Personalize your coulis by adding some other spices such as cloves, nutmeg or some orange extract as well.
How to make a cranberry coulis
The sauce should be all done within 20 minutes, although you might want to make it ahead of time if you want to serve the sauce chilled to allow some extra resting time in the fridge.
In a medium sauce pan, combine the cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon and water. Stir well to dissolve the spices.
Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Keep stirring once in a while to make sure it does not stick to the bottom and be careful so it does not overflow.
Keep simmering for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat: the sauce will slowly turn bright red as the cranberries "pop" to the release their juice and will also become thicker.
Once the sauce is done simmering, remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
Then, place a fine-mesh colander over a bowl and strain the sauce to extract the coulis. You will have to press the mixture using a spatula or a spoon to help the straining process, this should take about 5 minutes to do.
Discard any remaining solids left in the colander and taste the coulis to adjust flavors to your liking. You can add more sweetener at this point if you would like.
Watch how to make it
- When you first start to cook the cranberries, they will pop and even squirt some juice. If it splashes too much, then turn down the heat and keep cooking until they turn mushy.
- When straining the cranberries, be sure to scrape the bottom of the colander as a lot of the coulis will hold on to it.
- You can transfer the coulis in a squeez-able plastic bottle for a better drizzle design if needed. I have those condiment bottles that I use all the time to store my sauces for bowls and sushi rolls.
There is a lot of room for variation when you make this sauce. Here are a few ideas on how to improve the results:
- Too watery: even after the coulis was strained, you can add the sauce back to the pot and simmer at low heat to help the extra water evaporates.
- Too tart: you can easily add more sweetener at any step of this recipe. I like to use ¼ cup of maple syrup to start with, then go through the recipe and taste at the end to adjust with more sweetener if needed.
- Too thick: simply adjust consistency with more water if needed.
- Hard to strain: the sauce might be on the thicker side when you are ready to strain, depending on how long you cooked it for. If that's the case, it might be harder to strain and get all the juices out. So feel free to add a few tablespoons of water to the chunky sauce, stir well and then strain.
- My coulis is chunky: once strained, if you have too many pieces of cranberry skin that are hard to remove one by one, then you might want to strain for a second time.
This cranberry coulis is amazing served hot or cold in dessert recipes, especially cakes. As seen in the picture, I served mine with this 5-min single portion vanilla cake, which paired SO well with the sweet-tart bright red coulis.
If you wanted to serve it with savory dishes, then I would simply omit the vanilla extract while keeping the rest of the recipe intact.
Simply keep the coulis in the fridge well covered for up to 7 days. You can make a batch to serve part of a dessert one night and use up the leftovers for all sort of breakfast or pudding recipes the rest of the week, it stores so well!.
You can also freeze this coulis for up to 3 months.
Yes you can! Simply add the cranberries frozen to the pot with the rest of the ingredients and keep going with the recipe (cook for about 5-10 minutes extra).
Absolutely, just omit the orange zest and juice if you don't want any citrusy flavor. Add about ½-3/4 cup extra of water to keep the liquid-solid ratio the same.
You can, although the coulis will be thicker and probably remain a little on the chunky side. Also, to blend it, you will have to add a little extra liquid to the blender to help blending.
More holiday recipes you might like
- Cranberry orange mocktail
- Vegan caramelized onion gravy
- Vegan meatball in gravy
- Almond flour thumbprint cookies
- Festive vegan cheese ball
- Lentil mushroom meatloaf
- Cranberry orange muffins
- Vegan "beef" tempeh stew
- Mashed purple sweet potatoes
I hope you like this cranberry coulis as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
- fine-mesh colander
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 Navel orange - zested and juiced
- ¼-⅓ cup maple syrup (or brown sugar) - or more if needed
- ½ cup water
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- Add the cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon, sweetener and water to a medium pot. Stir, turn on the heat to medium and bring to a simmer.
- Let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes while stirring often. The cranberries will "pop" and the sauce will become thicker and bright red. Remove from the heat and let it cool down for a few minutes.
- Place a fine-mesh colander over a large bowl and then pour the thick sauce over. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to press on the sauce and help the coulis strain in the bowl. This might take about 5 minutes or so.
- Taste the coulis and adjust sweetness to your taste. Also, if the coulis is too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it up.
- There is a lot of room for personalization in this recipe. You can follow the directive as a guide and then adjust spices, sweetener and consistency to what you prefer or looking for.
- Keep the coulis in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 7 days. This coulis can also be frozen.
- Serve over cakes, yogurt, oatmeal, overnight oats, ice cream and so much more.