Spoon scooping cranberry sauce out of a white bowl on top of a black and white plaid dishtowel.

Is Cranberry Sauce Gluten-Free? Canned & Homemade Options

Cranberry sauce is usually naturally gluten-free. The main ingredients in a basic recipe are fresh cranberries, sugar, and water… all gluten-free. However, check the product label or homemade cranberry sauce recipe for potential gluten in added flavorings.

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Naturally Gluten-Free Ingredients

For those of us who need to eat gluten-free due to celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it’s a wonderful relief to know that your family recipe for this holiday staple is most likely already safe to enjoy as-is.

The following naturally gluten-free ingredients are commonly found in cranberry sauce:

  • Cranberries
  • White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Pure Maple Syrup
  • Pectin
  • Corn Syrup
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Lemon Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Orange Zest
  • Water
Birds eye view: square white bowl placed in a diamond shape and filled with raw cranberries

Ingredients to Check

The following ingredients require additional vetting before adding cranberry sauce to your gluten-free holiday table:

5 Gluten-Free Ready-Made Cranberry Sauce Options

These five store-bought cranberry sauces are either gluten-free or do not contain gluten ingredients, as noted below.

  1. Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce: The manufacturer states that its canned cranberry sauces and plain Craisins are free from gluten.
  2. Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce: Same Ocean Spray’s whole berry sauce, the manufacturer states it is free from gluten.
  3. Thrive Market Cranberry Sauce: Labeled gluten-free.
  4. Stonewall Kitchen Holiday Spiced Cranberry Sauce: Labeled gluten-free.
  5. Trader Joe’s Fresh Cranberry Sauce: No gluten ingredients. Simply cranberries, sugar, and water.

Canned cranberry sauce is an easy side dish when you are toting your own personal gluten-free feast to Thanksgiving dinner. While I love fresh cranberry sauce, it is not practical to make everything from scratch, especially when packing a Thanksgiving meal to-go. Find the shortcuts that work for you!

Need more ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving in someone else’s gluten-full home? Here are 8 Thanksgiving Tips When You Are the Gluten-Free Guest.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination

Hosting gluten-free guests for a holiday dinner? Touch base in advance regarding their dietary needs.

Cross-contamination is a concern for individuals with celiac disease. Choose ingredients from the safe ingredients list above, vet any questionable ingredients with your gluten-free guest, and be sure to avoid cross-contact with gluten ingredients during prep and at the meal.

Tips to avoid gluten cross-contact when making gluten-free cranberry sauce:

  • Use a clean pan. Avoid cast iron, which is porous and can have residual gluten.
  • Use a clean spoon. Avoid wooden spoons and scratched plastic spoons that can also have residual gluten. Metal spoons and plastic spoons in excellent condition are fine.
  • Prepare cranberry sauce in a clean area without crumbs and airborne flour. It’s an excellent make-ahead dish, so you can easily make cranberry sauce well ahead of other holiday baking and cooking.
  • Store cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • While cooking and serving, do not share spoons with gluten-containing dishes, such as stuffing or gravy.
  • Allow gluten-free guests to serve themselves first, as other guests may inadvertently cross-contaminate the cranberry sauce with other gluten-containing foods.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Once you have vetted the ingredients, use your family’s traditional cranberry sauce without worry.

Looking for a crowd-pleasing homemade gluten-free cranberry sauce recipe? Try my family’s favorite, Spiced Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce!

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