You only need three ingredients to make my Sugared Cranberries. These are so pretty and perfect for decorating winter desserts or enjoying on their own! Recipe includes a how-to video!
Sweet, Candied Cranberries
A simple, sweet, and tart treat, these sugared cranberries are perfect for the holidays. While they can absolutely be enjoyed as a standalone snack (Luke loves eating them by themselves), I typically use these as edible decoration for other holiday treats, like my gingerbread, gingerbread cake or cupcakes or Swiss roll. They’d also be gorgeous on gingerbread houses!
While they look fancy, the actual active work required to make these is super minimal. All you have to do is make a simple syrup, add the berries, dry them for an hour, then toss them in sugar. That’s it! Easy, right?
Add these to your holiday desserts for a fun festive touch! They instantly elevate the look and add a frosted, wintery feeling wherever you use them.
What You Need
You only need three basic ingredients to make these candied cranberries:
- Cranberries. Grab a bag of fresh cranberries from the store and give it a thorough wash and dry before using them. You’ll also want to sort through your bag to find any cranberries that are old/wrinkly or damaged, as these won’t look or taste great (no matter how much sugar we add to them!).
- Water. Equal parts water and sugar make our simple syrup. We’ll give our cranberries a swim in this syrup to make them sticky enough for the remaining sugar to adhere.
- Sugar. Plain old granulated sugar is all you need here. We’ll be using some to make the syrup, and then more for rolling our candied cranberries through after they’ve been coated in syrup (this is what gives them that sparkly, snow-covered effect!).
SAM’S TIP: Some people like to add orange zest or vanilla extract to their candied cranberries. If you plan to add orange zest, you can add it to your final sugar mixture (for rolling). Vanilla can be added to the syrup (mix it in just before adding the cranberries).
This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Sugared Cranberries
- Heat ½ cup each of water and sugar over medium-low until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the cranberries, stirring so all berries have been coated.
- Remove the cranberries to a cooling rack with a slotted spoon and let dry for an hour.
- Toss the candied cranberries in the remaining sugar and place on a wire rack to dry for another hour before using.
SAM’S TIP: While you can enjoy your candied cranberries right away, I recommend drying for that final hour to let the coating fully set up and avoid sticky/tacky berries.
Frequently Asked Questions
They are a fun snack if you like your snacks a bit tart and sweet, but most people use candied cranberries for decorating. They look so pretty on cakes (like spice cake) and pies (especially when paired my pie crust cookies), and they’re also a great garnish for drinks (like my champagne granita). You can even add them to charcuterie boards!
I don’t recommend it. I recommend storing sugared cranberries in a cool, dark place. Storing them in the fridge can make them weep, so I would avoid that if you can too.
It really depends on the quality of your cranberries and how you store them. They’re best within a few days of making them, but they can last for up to a week in total. As they sit, they will weep/the sugar will melt, but you can just roll them in more sugar if this happens.
How do you use your sugared cranberries? Let me know in the comments!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- ½ cup water (118ml)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 3 ½ cups fresh cranberries 12 oz bag or 340g, rinsed and patted dry (pick over the berries and discard any wrinkled/bad ones)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300g)
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together water and ½ cup (100g) sugar until sugar is completely dissolved (this will take several minutes.½ cup water, ½ cup granulated sugar
- Add cranberries and stir until all berries have been coated all over with the simple syrup mixture.3 ½ cups fresh cranberries
- Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove cranberries from the syrup and lay on a wire cooling rack (tip: place wax paper underneath to catch any sticky drips). Try to space them so they’re not touching, as they’ll stick together. Allow to dry for 1 hour before proceeding.
- Place remaining granulated sugar in a bowl and, working in batches, toss cranberries in the sugar until well-coated all over. Using a slotted spoon, remove cranberries from bowl and return to wire rack or a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and for best results allow to dry for another hour before using.1 ½ cups granulated sugar
StoringStore in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. As to how long they will keep, your exact mileage may vary, and over time the sugar will begin to melt (you can usually toss them in sugar again to fix this). Mine typically last up to 3 days before weeping. I don’t recommend refrigerating as they start to weep much faster, nor do I recommend freezing.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
These were SO fun and easy to make! They definitely levelled up my gingerbread layer cake – my only regret was not adding more of them to my cake, but next year! So tasty on their own also. I’ll try and sugar some rosemary when I do these again!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Love the idea of sugared rosemary too–that will be so festive! Thanks for commenting 😊
Hi can you start with frozen cranberries and just thaw them before use? Or it’s better to use fresh?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Melissa! Fresh is the way to go here 😊
Thank you! Can’t wait to try it!
I plan to make these to put on top of your gingerbread cupcakes, but could I also use this recipe for sugared rosemary?
Hi Miriam! I haven’t tried it but that should work just fine. 🙂