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Sugared cranberries add a little shimmer and sparkle to a cake, holiday cheese board, or wintery table centerpiece. And they’re only 2 ingredients: just sugar and fresh cranberries.

Sugared cranberries in a small white bowl.

Candied, sugar-coated cranberries make everything a lot more festive. Not only are they a delicious snack all by themselves, but they’re a gorgeous garnish on almost anything, from the rim of a crafted cocktail, to my deeply chocolatey Cranberry Wreath Cake.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Sugared Cranberries Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for sugared cranberries.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Fresh cranberries: Stock up at the freeze around the holidays when they’re delivered straight from the cranberry bog into the produce department.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cranberries until well coated.
Cranberries in a silver pot.
  1. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer cranberries to a wire rack and allow to dry, at least 1 hour.
Cranberries on a cooling rack over parchment paper.
  1. Place remaining sugar in a medium bowl, and working in small batches, roll cranberries until well coated. Allow to dry, about 1 hour.
Cranberries in a bowl of sugar next to a cooling rack with cranberries on it.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 24 ounces of sugared cranberries.
  • Storage: You can store the cranberries in a lidded container with a bowl of rice tucked inside to catch extra moisture. Depending on the humidity of your kitchen, they may become sticky over time; simply roll in sugar again and let dry.
  • Make ahead: Make the cranberries up to a couple days ahead of time, and store them in the refrigerator. They may get a little damp when they warm up; if so just roll them in sugar again and let dry. Also, some cooks soak the cranberries in the sugar syrup overnight in the refrigerator before rolling in sugar the next day.
  • Flavoring the syrup: Adding a little vanilla extract, or steeping the simple syrup in orange zest of rosemary sprigs will add a little extra flavor to the cranberries.
  • Garnish cocktails: Skewer a few berries and add to a signature cocktail to instantly make it even more festive. Try it with Gimlet, Moscow Mule, or a Brandy Slush.
  • Save the syrup: Use it in your home bar for sweetening drinks.
Sugared cranberries in a small white bowl.

Cranberry Wreath Cake

Cranberry Wreath Cake is a luscious chocolate cake covered in sweet vanilla buttercream and is perfect for the holidays or any winter celebration. A crown of fresh rosemary and sugared cranberries makes a stunning finishing…

2 hours 30 minutes
View Recipe

More ways to decorate cakes

Sugared cranberries in a small white bowl.

Sugared Cranberries

Sugared cranberries add a little shimmer and sparkle to a cake, holiday cheese board, or wintery table centerpiece. And they're only 2 ingredients: just sugar and fresh cranberries.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Drying Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings 24 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 129

Ingredients 

For the sugared cranberries:

  • 4 cups granulated sugar divided
  • 2 (12-ounce) bags fresh cranberries (see note 1)

Instructions 

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cranberries until well coated.
  • Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer cranberries to a wire rack and allow to dry, at least 1 hour.
  • Place remaining sugar in a medium bowl, and working in small batches, roll cranberries until well coated. Allow to dry, about 1 hour.

Notes

  1. Fresh cranberries: Stock up at the freeze around the holidays when they’re delivered straight from the cranberry bog into the produce department.
  2. Yield: This recipe makes 24 ounces of sugared cranberries.
  3. Storage: You can store the cranberries in a lidded container with a bowl of rice tucked inside to catch extra moisture. Depending on the humidity of your kitchen, they may become sticky over time; simply roll in sugar again and let dry.
  4. Make ahead: Make the cranberries up to a couple days ahead of time, and store them in the refrigerator. They may get a little damp when they warm up; if so just roll them in sugar again and let dry. Also, some cooks soak the cranberries in the sugar syrup overnight in the refrigerator before rolling in sugar the next day.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ozCalories: 129kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 1gSodium: 1mgSugar: 33gIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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