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.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled sugared cranberry ingredients in two bowls.

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. Make a simple syrup by heating 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from the heat and stir the fresh cranberries into the syrup. No need to cook the berries; all you need to do is soak them in the syrup.
    Cranberries in a silver pot.
  2. Transfer cranberries to a wire rack and allow to dry, at least 1 hour. They will be very sticky.
    Cranberries on a cooling rack over parchment paper.
  3. 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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 or a Brandy Slush.
  • Save the syrup: Use it in your home bar for sweetening drinks.

A cranberry wreath cake on a granite cake platter with a small plate of sugared cranberries next to it.

More delicious desserts:

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. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Garnish cocktails: Skewer a few berries and add to a signature cocktail to instantly make it even more festive. Try it with Gimlet or a Brandy Slush.
  7. Save the syrup: Use it in your home bar for sweetening drinks.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ounceCalories: 129kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 1gSodium: 1mgSugar: 33gIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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