Is Cranberry Sauce Vegan?

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For many people, cranberry sauce is a must when it comes to Christmas dinner. Although some people enjoy it all year round on the side of a roast.

But is cranberry sauce suitable for vegans? Well, not always. And in many cases, whether you can eat cranberry sauce depends on how strict of a vegan you are.

Cranberry sauce

So, read on to discover exactly what the different types of cranberry sauce are made from. Then, you can make up your mind about whether to skip it or not.

While you’re here, you might also be interested to know whether bread sauce is vegan or not.

Can vegans eat cranberry sauce?

Cranberry sauce is usually suitable for vegans, especially if it comes in a jar. Homemade cranberry sauce may contain gelatine from animal bones or port wine that has been filtered using fish. The strictest vegans may also avoid cranberry sauce made with orange zest as oranges are sometimes coated in beeswax.

Can vegans eat cranberries?

Cranberries are small red fruits that have a range of health benefits. Vegans can eat both fresh and dried cranberries.

But when cranberries are turned into cranberry sauce, sometimes non-vegan ingredients are added.


What is cranberry sauce made out of?

Cranberry sauce typically contains sugar, cranberries and water. Some jars and cans of cranberry sauce also contain additives and preservatives. Homemade cranberry sauce recipes may include orange or lemon juice or zest, gelatine or alcohol such as port.

Why might cranberry sauce not be vegan?


In the United States, sugar is sometimes filtered with bone char. Some vegans avoid eating sugar in the US for this reason, although some deem it do difficult to avoid and choose to turn a blind eye. In the UK, sugar is always vegan so that’s not something to be concerned about.

Orange or Lemon Juice

Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are sometimes waxed using beeswax to protect them in transit. This doesn’t always happen, and there’s no way of really knowing whether your fruit has been coated in beeswax or not, so most vegans will still eat citrus fruits.


Port may or may not be vegan-friendly, depending on how it was made. Some port wines are fined using animal products such as fish badders, egg or gelatine.


Sometimes, cranberry sauce may be made with gelatine. Made from the bones, tendons and ligaments of animals, gelatine is used to give a jelly-like texture.


Oftentimes, store-bought cranberry sauce is not labelled as suitable for vegans. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not vegan-friendly. It may just be that the company hasn’t bothered to apply for vegan certification to prove that there are no animal products involved. Or, it could mean that the product has come into contact with animal products such as milk.

As it’s impossible to be 100% vegan, it’s down to each individual to assess what they’re comfortable with. While some vegans will only eat foods that are certified as suitable for vegans, most vegans will eat foods that don’t have any animal sources in the ingredients list.

Which brands of cranberry sauce are vegan?

Is Ocean Spray cranberry sauce vegan?

Ocean Spray cranberry sauce is suitable for vegans. While it does not say vegan on the label, it is made with only sugar, cranberries and water so it does not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Is Colman’s cranberry sauce vegan?

Colman’s cranberry sauce is suitable for vegans as it doesn’t contain any ingredients of animal origin. It uses pectin as a thickener, rather than gelatine. However, it doesn’t say vegan on the label as the company has not sought vegan certification.

Is Tesco cranberry sauce vegan?

Both Tesco and Tesco Finest Cranberry sauce are labelled as suitable for vegans.

The Bottom Line

If you’re wondering whether cranberry sauce is vegan, you can look out for any of the animal ingredients mentioned in this guide on the label. If it’s homemade, you’ll need to ask the person who made it what ingredients they used to be sure.

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