Sugared cranberries! Also called candied cranberries, these are the perfect holiday sweet-tart snack, dessert garnish, or charcuterie board addition. They’re easy to make, very festive and down right gorgeous with their sparkly sugar coating. All you need are some fresh cranberries and granulated sugar.

sugar-coated cranberries in a small white bowl

Why I love this recipe

First and foremost sugared cranberries are delicious. If you like sweet-tart desserts or treats then you too will love sugared cranberries. They’re a very simple and easy way to elevate desserts, cheese boards, and cocktails. They require some drying time, so make sure you plan ahead.

Ingredients Needed

  • Granulated sugar coats the cranberries in two ways. First as a syrup and second as crunchy sugar coating.
  • Fresh cranberries are essential. Frozen simply won’t work here. Look for cranberries that are plump and dry. 
  • Optional flavorings: vanilla, almond or orange extract can be added to the simple syrup for a boost of flavor. Any warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves can be mixed with the granulated sugar that coats the cranberries.

How to Make Sugared Cranberries

  1. Make a simple syrup by combining ½ cup each water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool completely. 
  2. Meanwhile, rinse and dry the fresh cranberries. 
  3. Add the cranberries to the sugar syrup and stir to coat. Transfer the coated cranberries back to a wire rack using a slotted spoon and let them dry for 45 minutes.
  4. Add remaining sugar (¼ cup) to a shallow dish. Add a few syrup-coated cranberries to the sugar and roll them around until they’re completely coated. 
  5. Transfer the coated cranberries back to the wire rack and let them dry out a bit more before using.
cranberries in a bowl of sugar

How to Store Sugared Cranberries

Candied cranberries will last 2–3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Any longer and they will start to weep a bit. If they do, toss them in a bit more sugar and use as desired.

If you end up with a few weepy sugared cranberries and don’t want to refresh them with additional sugar, I recommend cooking them down into a compote and serving with muffins, scones, cheese and crackers, or toast.

How to Use Candied Cranberries

I love adding sugared cranberries to my holiday charcuterie boards or spooned over baked brie. They’re also fabulous served over my cranberry curd tart, on any kind of cheesecake, or as a cocktail garnish.

You could even package them up in little jars and gift them for the holidays!

sugar-coated cranberries in a small white bowl

Flavor Variations

  • Steep fresh sage, thyme or rosemary in the simple syrup.
  • Stir vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, or orange extract into the simple syrup as it cools.
  • Add grated fresh orange zest, lemon zest or lime zest to the granulated sugar.
  • Add vanilla bean to the granulated sugar.
  • Instead of water, use fresh orange juice or pomegranate juice in the simple syrup.

More Cranberry Recipes to Love

Did you make these sugared cranberries? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave a star rating. I love hearing about what you’re cooking.

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sugar-coated cranberries in a small white bowl

Sugared Cranberries (aka Candied Cranberries)

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cooling + drying time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Sparkly, sweet and tart—sugared cranberries are the perfect holiday sweet-tart snack, dessert garnish, or charcuterie board addition.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and dried

Instructions

  1. Combine ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water in small saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Add cranberries to syrup and stir to coat.
    fresh cranberries in a sugar syrup in a liquid measuring cup
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a wire rack; let dry 45 minutes. Reserve syrup for another batch of candied cranberries or use in cocktails and drinks.
    syrup-coated cranberries on a wire rack set in a baking sheet
  4. Add remaining ¼ cup sugar to a shallow dish. Add a few syrup-coated cranberries to sugar and toss to coat; transfer back to wire rack. Repeat with remaining cranberries.
    a hand tossing cranberries in sugar
  5. Use as desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2–3 days. If the cranberries start to weep, toss them in a bit more sugar.


Notes

  • If the cranberries start to “weep” after a few days, roll them in additional granulated sugar and use as desired.
  • Store sugared cranberries in an airtight container at room temperature for 2–3 days.
  • See recipe article for flavor variations.

Keywords: candied cranberries, sugared cranberries

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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