Did you eat too much on Thanksgiving? Or do you just want a light and refreshing dessert to balance out the hearty holiday main course? This 4-ingredient sweetly tart Keto Cranberry Kissel is the ultimate answer to your light holiday dessert needs!
What is kissel anyway?
Kissel is a thickened sweet dessert made of berries or fruits.
Kissel is a very Nordic thing, although I think kissel is also popular in Eastern Europe. Here in Finland, we eat different types of kissels year-round. One of the most common varieties is bilberry kissel. During the holiday season, we eat prune kissel, mixed fruit kissel, and cranberry kissel, among others. Summer is the time for rhubarb kissel.
The stores sell dozens of different kissels and soups. Well, there is actually a difference between sweet soup and kissel. Kissel is slightly thicker than soup. Soup is drinkable, while kissel is spoonable. Some kissels (like chocolate kissel) can be really thick and almost jelly-like.
Look at the kissel and sweet soup section in my nearest grocery store!
Usually, kissel is thickened with potato starch. However, I’ve used xanthan gum for years to thicken my keto kissels. I have done many experiments and noticed that xanthan gum is the ultimate thickener for keto kissel and brings a pretty similar result to potato starch.
This Keto Cranberry Kissel is no exception: it’s also thickened with xanthan gum.
How to make this 4-ingredient Keto Cranberry Kissel
Making this kissel is super easy. Just combine water, 100% cranberry juice, and sweetener in a saucepan, whisk in some xanthan, let boil for 2 minutes and let cool. That’s it! Super simple and straightforward.
Be sure to use 100% cranberry juice for the least amount of carbs and for health benefits. Cranberry is actually a superfood. Cranberries — and cranberry juice — are full of vitamin C, an essential substance to keep your immune system healthy. Some research shows that cranberries effectively prevent UTI (aka urinary tract infection). Phytonutrients in cranberries might help fight against inflammation and boost heart health. Cranberries can also improve your digestive health and lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. So, why not combine the health benefits of cranberries and a delicious dessert!
Still one note: while adding the xanthan gum, be sure to whisk the mixture vigorously to prevent it from clumping. However, don’t despair if the mixture makes clumps: just pour it through a fine-mesh sieve.
That’s it; let’s take a closer look at how to prepare this special dessert:
Take a medium saucepan. Pour in 3 cups (700 ml) water…
…2 1/4 cups (300 ml) 100% cranberry juice…
…and 1/2 cup (120 ml; or to taste) powdered erythritol or allulose.
Add gradually 1 1/2 teaspoons of xanthan gum while all the time whisking vigorously.
Heat the mixture over high heat. Stir a few times during heating.
Let the kissel boil for 2 minutes.
Remove from the stove and let cool to room temperature. You can also chill the kissel if you prefer it cold.
Pour into one large serving bowl or 8 smaller serving bowls.
Serve, for example, with whipped cream and fresh cranberries.
How I came up with this easy keto dessert recipe
This is actually a bit older recipe, well, about one year old. I made my first Keto Cranberry Kissel for our Ketokamu advent calendar last year. It was otherwise the same recipe as this one, but I used our Ketokamu sweetener to sweeten it.
Our Ketokamu followers were raving about the flavorful dessert, so I thought it’s a great recipe to post here on my blog as well. What would be better after a hearty holiday meal than a light and tart dessert? This sugar-free Keto Cranberry Kissel ticks many boxes!
The only modification I had to do to my carefully developed and tested recipe was to change the sweetener. I chose powdered erythritol as it’s easy to obtain and it dissolves well, and doesn’t crystallize in cold desserts like erythritol crystals often do.
I ended up using 1/2 cup (120 ml) powdered erythritol, which took the edge off of tartness but didn’t make the dessert overly sweet. All in all, I was really happy with the keto kissel, and with a good dollop of whipped cream and a few fresh cranberries, it was just the perfect ending to a hearty and satisfying meal.
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 3 cups = 700 ml water
- 2 1/4 cups = 300 ml 100% cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup = 120 ml (or to taste) powdered erythritol or allulose
- 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- Combine the water, cranberry juice, and the sweetener in a saucepan.
- Add gradually the xanthan while all the time vigorously whisking.
- Heat the mixture over high heat. Stir a few times during heating.
- Let the kissel boil for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the stove and let cool to room temperature. You can also chill the kissel in the fridge for even more refreshing dessert.
- Pour into a large serving bowl or 8 smaller serving bowls.
- Serve, for example, with whipped cream and fresh cranberries.
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7-Day Keto-Vegan Detox Meal Plan: Detox your body, lose weight, and maximize your health with a ketogenic vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free low-carb meal plan
Low Sugar, So Simple: 100 Delicious Low-Sugar, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Recipes for Eating Clean and Living Healthy
It's Just - Xanthan Gum, 8oz, Keto Baking, Non-GMO, Thickener for Sauces, Soups, Dressings, Packaging in USA
365 by Whole Foods Market, Organic 100% Juice from Concentrate, Cranberry, 32 Fl Oz
Ocean Spray 100% Pure Cranberry Juice, 32 Ounce (Pack of 8)
Anthony's Confectioner's Erythritol, 2 lb, Non GMO, Natural Sweetener, Zero Calorie, Keto & Paleo Friendly
NOW Natural Foods, Organic Confectioner's Erythritol Powder, Replacement for Powdered Sugar, Zero Calories, 1-Pound (Packaging May Vary)
|Nutrition information||In total||Per serving if 8 servings in total|
|Protein||1.2 g||0.2 g|
|Fat||2.1 g||0.3 g|
|Net carbs||10.5 g||1.3 g|
|kcal||33 kcal||4 kcal|
Tips for variations
This kissel is not very sweet, so if your taste buds fear tart flavors, by all means, add more sweetener. Other great sweeteners are stevia (also flavored stevia drops) and monk fruit (yes, also flavored monk fruit drops).
Instead of xanthan gum, you can thicken the kissel with an equal amount of glucomannan or guar gum which are also great keto thickeners but not as excellent for kissel as xanthan gum.
If you don’t restrict your carbs to a minimum and you are ready to use starch, you can thicken the kissel in a traditional way by using 3 tablespoons of potato starch. However, those 3 tablespoons contain 23.7 grams of net carbs instead of the before-mentioned zero-carb thickeners. Personally, I’ve given up all the starches because starch is void of nutrients, and it’s just a long chain of glucose molecules.
For a fruity version, cook peels (only the orange-colored part) from one organic orange with the kissel and remove before serving.
For a spicy kissel, add 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, and 10 cloves and cook them with the mixture. Remove right before serving. Feel free to experiment with other warm spices like bitter orange, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cardamom.
In the summertime, you can replace the cranberry juice with 2 cups (470 ml) of cooked rhubarb and use just 2 cups (470 ml) of water.
This week was interesting and hectic. First of all, we have so-called Light Week (instead of gloomy Black anything) in our Ketokamu online store to delight people and help them make themselves lighter with the keto diet. Promoting that has kept me busy.
And, as you might remember, I’m fighting against the Finnish Food Authority’s plan to ban keto in Finland. I wrote a newsletter, blog post, and social media posts related to that. I was also interviewed in a popular Finnish podcast, and people are pretty shocked about the plan to ban keto.
Funnily enough, ‘keto’ also means ‘field’ in Finnish, so I wonder how the FFA plans to separate keto related to the ketogenic diet or to a field in brand names, marketing, and communication.