With only 3 ingredients, you can create perfect sugar-free keto-friendly dried cranberries that are super-versatile and an excellent fit for sweet and savory dishes alike. Slightly sweet and fabulously flavorsome, let these zippy bites bring bursting flavor to your everyday dishes as well as to your festive fares.
How you can use these sugar-free keto-friendly dried cranberries
Maybe you have avoided using dried cranberries because there are no low-sugar options on the market? Worry no more! When you prepare these low-carb and keto craisins, you can easily add more flavor and nutrients to your sweet and savory dishes alike. I will undoubtedly post more keto recipes using dried cranberries in the future (for example, next week’s savory recipe will use these), but here are some options on how to use these marvelous morsels:
- in low-carb and keto bars
- in salads
- in keto granola
- sprinkled on breakfast yogurt
- in keto trail mix
- in keto muffins, cakes, etc. baked goods
- in keto chocolate treats, such as chocolate bars, chocolate barks, and truffles
Naturally, you can snack them like that as well.
How to make the Homemade Sugar-Free Craisins aka Dried Cranberries
Making these brilliant bites is easy — though it takes some time. I recommend an oven for drying the cranberries. (You can read more about my experiments in a dehydrator in the next chapter.)
But without further ado, let’s take a look at how to prepare these tidbits. I’ll give some tips on the way.
First, take 8 oz (230 g) frozen cranberries. Yes, ice-cold, frozen cranberries.
Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) powdered erythritol.
Add also 20 drops stevia glycerite.
Let stand at room temperature until almost completely defrosted.
Mix a couple of times during defrosting to ensure that the cranberries are completely covered with both sweeteners.
Once the cranberries are almost completely defrosted, spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. For quicker drying, smash them lightly with the back of the spoon. Now, this will take some time, so to save some effort (and about 15 minutes of your time), you can dry the cranberries as a whole, though I recommend smashing them a bit because the result just is better.
Be sure to leave some space between the cranberries. By the way, 8 oz (230 g) cranberries fit perfectly on a baking sheet, so that’s why I chose that amount, if you wonder.
Place the cranberries in the preheated oven at 200 °F (90 °C).
Let them dry for about 2.5 hours, or until dried but still flexible.
Let cool until room temperature and remove from the baking sheet. Store in a cool and dry place for up to 1 month.
Here’s a photo of whole dried cranberries:
How I came up with the recipe
For this week’s recipe here on my blog, I was planning something with sugar-free craisins, i.e., dried cranberries. However, as it’s close to impossible to find commercial dried cranberries that are low enough in carbs, I finally decided to make my own dried cranberries.
Well, there are some “sugar-free” dried cranberries in the market. However, they are sweetened with fruit juices — and finally, the carb count is not any lower than of those that are sweetened with sugar!
I was pondering what is the easiest and the best way to make homemade keto craisins. Which method and which sweeteners should I use?
Low oven temperature might be the best for dehydrating and drying the cranberries, I thought. On the other hand, I do have a cheap, simple dehydrator, so I could give it a try as well. Let’s see which one works best!
Commercial dried cranberries always contain some kind of oil (like sunflower oil) or wax to prevent them from getting stuck to each other. Since sunflower oil is such a baddie when it comes to its Omega-6 content, I was first thinking of using coconut oil, but after further thinking, I was hoping the glycerin in stevia glycerite (one of my favorite sweeteners that I was planning to use here as well) would work as an anti-clumping agent so that I don’t have to add any oil to the dried cranberries.
There was still a problem to solve on how to dry the cranberries for the perfect result. Should I take fresh or frozen cranberries? Should I dry them whole or lightly mashed and flattened? Should I cook the cranberries first with the sweetener or just mix them with the sweetener and dry them like that?
I wasn’t in the mood of cooking anything, as that would have been just an extra step. I thought it might be a good approach to take frozen cranberries, mix them with the sweetener, and then let them defrost before drying them. Like that, the sweetener would stick on the frozen cranberries. The consistency of the berries would get soft while defrosting, which would help them drying faster than, for example, whole fresh cranberries.
I was wondering if two ingredients, cranberries and stevia glycerite, would be enough to create perfect keto craisins. And how much should I use stevia glycerite? Time to do some hands-on experiments!
For my first experiment, I took 8 oz (230 g) frozen cranberries and mixed them with 1 teaspoon stevia glycerite. I let the ‘steviated’ cranberries defrost in the bowl, after which I spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
As I wasn’t sure which way works best, drying whole or lightly mashed cranberries, I mashed about half of the cranberries on the baking sheet lightly with the back of a spoon and left half of the cranberries whole. Like this:
I placed the baking sheet in the oven at 200 °F (90 °C) and waited for what happens. Meanwhile, I had taken my dehydrator and placed there a similar experiment with defrosted cranberries and stevia.
After two and a half hours, my oven experiment looked just perfect: the cranberries were dried just to the ideal consistency. They were flexible, and they didn’t get stuck together. Marvelous! However, the taste wasn’t perfect. The stevia lent a nastily bitter aftertaste, almost to the extent of being inedible. So, I definitely had to use at least two different sweeteners for the best taste.
But before combining different sweeteners, I wanted to try out a version that was sweetened only with powdered erythritol. As the oven method produced such a good result, I decided to continue my experiments with the oven rather than with the dehydrator: after drying the cranberries in the dehydrator for 6 hours with the maximum heat, they were still not dry!
The version with only erythritol as a sweetener leaked some fluid while drying. Moreover, erythritol made the craisins hard and crunchy. That reminded me of cookies and the ability of erythritol to make crunchy cookies (like these cookies that are by far my favorite keto cookies).
So, as I expected, the best result would most likely need two different sweeteners. I decided to make a version with powdered erythritol and stevia glycerite. After two and a half hours of drying in the oven, the cranberries looked perfect. The taste and texture were just what I wanted — now I was completely delighted with my recipe!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 8 oz = 230 g frozen organic whole cranberries
- 1/4 cup = 60 ml powdered erythritol
- 20 drops (1/2 teaspoon) stevia glycerite
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.
- Let the cranberries defrost almost completely. Mix well a couple of times while defrosting.
- Preheat the oven to 200 °F (90 °C).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the almost completely defrosted cranberries on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- For the best result, smash each cranberry lightly with the back of a spoon. (You can also leave the cranberries whole, but smashing them makes a better result). Leave some space between the cranberries.
- Dry the cranberries in the preheated oven for about 2.5 hours, or until dry but still flexible. (Whole cranberries take approximately an hour longer to dry.)
- Remove from the oven, let cool until room temperature, and remove from the baking sheet.
- Store in a cool and dry place for up to 1 month.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases - without any extra costs for you.
NOW Foods, Better Stevia Liquid, Glycerite, Zero-Calorie Liquid Sweetener, Low Glycemic Impact, Certified Non-GMO, 8-Ounce
Anthony's Confectioner's Erythritol, 2 lb, Non GMO, Natural Sweetener, Zero Calorie, Keto & Paleo Friendly
Swerve Sweetener, Confectioners (Pack of 2)
Fresh Frozen Organic Cranberries by Northwest Wild Foods - Healthy Antioxidant Fruit Diet - for Smoothies, Pies, Jams, Syrups (4.5 Pounds)
Tips for variation
I’ve tested the amounts of sweeteners quite carefully. However, feel free to use other natural zero-carb sweeteners if you want. For example, monk fruit (luo han guo) or allulose are worth trying. The reason why I didn’t experiment with those sweeteners in this recipe is simply that they are not available in the EU. So, in case you are not living in the US, you might have to buy them online from stores like Amazon or iHerb. And allulose you cannot even order currently to EU! I got some allulose from my friend in the US, so I have been able to experiment a bit with it.
Also different-flavored stevias are worth trying — especially if you plan to use these cranberries in sweet dishes. Try vanilla stevia, orange stevia, toffee stevia, cinnamon stevia, lemon stevia, tropical fruit stevia, or blueberry pomegranate stevia.
Happy New Year! Hope your year has started well despite the current weird state of the world. I truly hope things would get better soon, and we can return to our normal lives.
We had a Ketokamu meeting in Bistro Naapuri before the year changed. I brought some of my chocolate experiments for people to taste and get feedback. We also enjoyed keto kombucha. This is a particular batch that the Good Guys Kombucha prepared for Bistro Naapuri. I had some empty bottles with me and took some kombucha home.
On the same day, we enjoyed keto burgers in Naughty Brger. These juicy burgers were wrapped in lettuce leaves. There were also delicious sauces, bacon, and blue cheese. What a delicious and satisfying combo!
It has been snowing a lot here in Finland. I have pushed the snow away from our yard several times during this week. I like it because it’s useful, a nice physical exercise, and lets me get fresh air at the same time.
I have written a series of articles for Minä Olen magazine, a Finnish publication about mental and physical wellbeing. My last article in this series was published right before Christmas. In the article, I give guidance on how to finish a keto diet if you have been following it for some time and simply don’t want to continue.
Yep, not everybody in this world has to follow a keto diet — often rationalizing your diet and eating is enough if you don’t suffer from any health conditions and your metabolism works well. Personally, I will most likely follow the keto diet for the rest of my life, but I understand it’s not for everybody. Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t recommend a high-carb diet for anybody as it’s a sure-fire way to ruin your health in the long run.