Easy Sugared Cranberries

These Easy Sugared Cranberries only require 2 ingredients and make the most beautiful shimmering holiday garnish! They're super simple to prepare and double as a festive fruity snack.

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Side view of a bowl of sugared cranberries.

Sugared cranberries are a beautiful holiday garnish that will make any dessert or cocktail sparkle. They're made by coating fresh cranberries in sugar and then allowing them to dry, which creates a delicate, crystallized crust on the outside of the berries that resembles snow.

Try using them to top a festive cocktail, such as my Cranberry Clementine Rosemary Cocktails, or sprinkle them over a holiday dessert like this Easy Cranberry Tart with Almond Frangipane. They also make a lovely addition to salads, a charcuterie board, or a fun and flavorful snack on their own.

Why this recipe works

  • Only 2 ingredients needed.
  • Easy, beginner friendly.
  • Can be easily scaled up or down.
Ingredients for sugared cranberries.

Essential Ingredients

  • Fresh Cranberries - These can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores during the fall and winter months. They're often sold in bags, and they should be firm and plump, with a smooth, glossy skin. Check the expiration date on the package before purchasing fresh cranberries, as they don't last long once they've been picked.

Helpful Tools

  • Wire Rack - The excess syrup needs to drain off of the cranberries as they dry and a wire rack is the best way to do that. You will need a rack with small holes so that the cranberries don't fall through.

Step by step instructions

1. Make a simple syrup by adding ⅔ cup granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat, then add the cranberries and let them sit in the syrup for about 2 minutes.

2.  Use a perforated spoon to transfer the berries to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Let sit for one hour until the cranberries feel tacky. Don't rush this step or the sugar won't stick well.

3. Add the remaining ⅔ cup granulated sugar to a small bowl. Gently roll the cranberries in the sugar until well coated coated.  

4. Place the sugared cranberries a plate to dry and set up for at least 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

Tips for success

  • If you want to add a little extra flavor to your sugared cranberries, try adding a splash of vanilla extract, some warm spices or citrus zest to the syrup before steeping the cranberries.
  • Don't throw away the simple syrup! Use it in cocktails or a big batch of cranberry lemonade.
  • For extra festive sugared cranberries, try coating them in colored sugar or sprinkles instead of granulated sugar.
  • Use a fork or small strainer to help with the sugaring process so you don't wind up sugaring your hands. It gets sticky!
Overhead shot of a bowl of sugared cranberries.

Faq about

Can other berries be sugared?

Yes. You can apply this exact same method to raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries. Just do not cook them in the simple syrup because they are much more delicate than cranberries and will fall apart. Allow the syrup to cool for 5-10 minutes, then let the berries sit in the syrup for 5-10 minutes and proceed with the recipe.

Can frozen cranberries be used?

Yes, but they will not hold their shape as well as fresh cranberries, so only use them if fresh cranberries aren't available. Make sure to thaw them completely before proceeding with the recipe.

Can other types of sugar or artificial sweetener be used instead of granulated sugar?

Yes, you can use other sugars for coating the berries, but stick with granulated sugar for making the simple syrup for best results.

Close up of sugared cranberries.

Did you make this recipe and LOVE it? Please leave a star ⭐️ rating and/or comment to help other readers. I absolutely love hearing from you and do my best to answer all questions and comments. I love seeing when you make my recipes, so please tag me @ColeyCooks on Instagram and I will repost!

Sugared cranberries on a drying rack.
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Easy Sugared Cranberries

These Easy Sugared Cranberries only require 2 ingredients and make the most beautiful shimmering holiday garnish! They're super simple to prepare and a festive sweet tart snack.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 559kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 ⅓ cup granulated sugar divided
  • cup water

Instructions

  1. Add ⅔ cup granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Turn off the heat, then add the cranberries and let them sit in the syrup for about 2 minutes.
  3. Use a perforated spoon to transfer the berries to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Let sit for one hour until the cranberries feel tacky. Don't rush this step or the sugar won't stick well.
  5. Add the remaining ⅔ cup granulated sugar to a small bowl.
  6. Gently roll the cranberries in the sugar until well coated coated.  
  7. Place the sugared cranberries a plate to dry and set up for at least 30 minutes. 
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

Notes

  • If you want to add a little extra flavor to your sugared cranberries, try adding a splash of vanilla extract, some warm spices or citrus zest to the syrup before cooking the cranberries.
  • Don't throw away the syrup! Use it in cocktails or a big batch of cranberry lemonade.
  • For extra festive sugared cranberries, try coating them in colored sugar or sprinkles instead of granulated sugar.
  • Use a fork or small strainer to help with the sugaring process so you don't wind up sugaring your hands. It gets sticky! 

Nutrition

Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 145g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 137g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I always thought sugary berries would be super complicated - I can't even believe how easy these are. The sugar does a nice job of cutting the tartness of the cranberries. Will be popping these on top of cupcakes and pie for Christmas!