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Sugared Cranberries Recipe

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Last Updated on December 10, 2023 by Leah Hall

In our mind, cranberries are the perfect accompaniment to the holidays and Christmas! This Sugared Cranberries recipe is a great snack, a great cocktail garnish or a beautiful decoration for your holiday table or desserts.


Cranberries always have made an appearance for the holidays in our house. We love using the tart berries in relishes and treats like muffins or desserts, but we also like the way cranberry can impart some delicious flavors to cocktails. With the holidays quickly approaching we wanted to come up with another way that would make some great seasonal treats using some cranberries, so we made these sugared cranberries.


Some of our best cranberry cocktails are our Christmas Old Fashioned, Pineapple Cranberry Margarita, Cranberry Mezcal cocktail, or Cranberry Negroni! And these sugared cranberries are the perfect garnish for all of them.


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Sugared Cranberries in a white bowl, greenery and Christmas ornaments behind

What are Sugared Cranberries?

Sugared cranberries are basically candied cranberries, cooked in simple syrup, then rolled in sugar until coated.  These pretty and sparkly berries are perfect to use as beautiful garnishes on drinks or desserts, to snack on, or for more ideas below!


This recipe are perfect holiday treats using a classic holiday berry. The contrast of the tart cranberries and sugary coating makes them pop in your mouth. The tartness of the cranberries are tempered by a soak in hot sugar syrup giving the berries a balanced sweet and tangy flavor, such as what we used in the Cranberry Sweet and Sour Cocktail.


So, using the same simple ingredients make some cranberry simple syrup, too!

Sugared Cranberries in a white bowl, greenery and Christmas ornaments behind

Here are some great ideas to use the easy sugared cranberries:

  • Snacking – these little gems are great for snacking and look amazing on a holiday charcuterie or cheese board either scattered around or in a small ramekin.
  • Garnish – Try them as a garnish on a festive cocktail, a Yule log cake, on a Pumpkin Pie, gingerbread houses. These cranberries on top of cupcakes or cut slices of sweets make them look festive and Christmas-y.
  • Savory Garnish – Use these sparkling cranberries as a garnish around your turkey or ham on the holiday table for Christmas dinner.
  • Treat – place them on some vanilla ice cream, or even a holiday flavor ice cream!


What Ingredients are Needed for the Sugared Cranberries?

This simple holiday season recipe is made with just three basic ingredients:

  • Cranberries – use a bag of fresh cranberries from the store and give it a wash and dry before using them. Make sure to take out any cranberries that are wrinkled or damaged, as they won’t look or taste great.
  • Water – Equal parts water and sugar to make the homemade simple syrup. The cranberries will be added to get all sticky and warmed.
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar is all you need. You need some to make the syrup, then more for rolling the cranberries in sugar coating to give them a snowy and sparkly effect!


Another great part of this recipe is the resulting cranberry simple syrup that is perfect for use in homemade sodas or other holiday cocktails. Sweet with just enough tang from the cranberries, the syrup is a festive addition to lots of drinks! It won’t be a bright pink color though, as we don’t cook the cranberries super long. If you want a wonderful pink syrup, try our Cranberry Simple Syrup recipe!

How to Make Sugared Cranberries

This tart treat only requires 3 ingredients and it is easy to scale the recipe up to make more! Take your gorgeous garnishes to the next level and use fresh cranberries, water and granulated sugar.


You will also need a saucepan, parchment paper, and a slotted spoon.

Sugared Cranberries in a white bowl, greenery and Christmas ornaments behind

First, you combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water, heated on the stove. Stir the cold water and a cup sugar until the sugar dissolves. When warm but not boiling, take the sugar water off the heat.


Pour the syrup over the cup of cranberries and let them soak for 15 minutes, but don’t go much longer than that.  Then, using a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries from the syrup and spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let them dry for around 1 hour, uncovered. You can let them sit at room temperature or in the fridge. They’ll be sticky, not dry, at this point.


To finish, place the sticky cranberries in a shallow bowl of sugar or on a cookie sheet and toss using the spoon so they are fully coated. Don’t do too many at a time or they will stick together. If you want them to really dry and let the sugar get crusty, you can place the berries on a wire rack to dry. You can toss the remaining sugar, or keep to use in something else, or keep if you are making a second batch.

Sugared Cranberries in a white bowl, greenery and Christmas ornaments behind

If You Are Looking for More Holiday Recipes, Try These!


Tips & Tricks

  • Cranberries – use fresh, not frozen. Frozen can make for wrinkled berries, not the cranberry jewels you want.
  • Cranberry Simple Syrup – You can discard the sugar syrup or use it. Some suggestions would be: a cake moistener like in a sponge cake, or use in cocktails or mocktails like: Cranberry Mule Mocktail, Cranberry Orange Shrub Cocktail, or The Red Hound!
  • Storing – storing the Sugared Cranberries as they are best kept at room temp in a cool, dry environment for 3-4 days. If they look a little wet, you can toss them in some more sugar before serving. Keep them in an airtight container.
  • Sugaring – while rolling the berries, if the sugar starts looking wet on the cranberries, you can re-roll them in a little more sugar.
  • Other Sugared Garnishes – You can also use the same process for sugaring sprigs of rosemary, which kind of look like snowy pine trees. These sugared rosemary sprigs are great for cocktails and garnishes too! We even have a Cranberry Rosemary Old Fashioned which combine the flavors!
  • Other Flavors – if you want to flavor the cranberries slightly, pop in some other flavors while heating the syrup and berries. Some suggestions could be a rosemary sprig, vanilla bean or vanilla extract and orange zest.
  • Sugars – if you want to switch up this recipe a bit, you can use some different sugars. You could possibly use brown sugar (but they would be brown, obviously), some superfine sugar, cane sugar, vanilla sugar, or even other colored sugars for extra effect.


If you are looking for the perfect dessert to put these sugar-coated cranberries on, try out our Mini Berry Bites!




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Like this recipe? Try these below, too!

Close up of a holiday mini berry bite.Mini Berry Bites


Cranberry Orange Shrub Cocktail


Cranberry Cocktails

Sugared Cranberries in a white bowl, greenery and Christmas ornaments behind
Yield: 1

Sugared Cranberries Recipe

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Set Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 23 minutes

A great holiday treat for snacking or topping on holiday desserts. Make this sugared cranberries recipe all holiday long!


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar plus 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh


Combine 2 cups granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring mixture until sugar dissolves.

Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. Don't boil or the cranberries may pop when you add them to the mixture.

Stir in cranberries; pour mixture into a bowl.

Let sit 15 minutes.

Take out cranberries using a slotted spoon, or pour through a colander. Save the simple syrup if you would like.

Place cranberries onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet to dry. Let sit for 1 hour to dry.

Place 2/3 cup sugar in a shallow dish or on a cookie sheet. Add cranberries, a few at a time, rolling to coat with sugar.

Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on another parchment covered baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.

Store at room temperature or in the fridge in an airtight container.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 7.3gFiber: 0.3gSugar: 6.9gProtein: 0g

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Wednesday 20th of December 2017

How do you store the cranberries? I want to make a big batch and use some for cocktails Friday night and then top a cake with some on Saturday.

The 'Noms.

Wednesday 20th of December 2017

We let them dry until the sugar hardens on the cranberries. After they have hardened up, we put them into an airtight container and store them in the fridge! We kept them about a week or so!


Monday 28th of December 2015

A cool idea! Pinning for next year.

The 'Noms.

Tuesday 29th of December 2015

Thanks so much! Hope you can enjoy them next year!

Angelique Campbell

Tuesday 15th of December 2015

These look absolutely amazing!

The 'Noms.

Wednesday 16th of December 2015

Thank you!

laci carlson (@CarlsonLaci)

Tuesday 15th of December 2015

Heck yea this is amzing I will definitely be trying these

The 'Noms.

Wednesday 16th of December 2015

Thank you! They are pretty yummy!

Krista Williams

Tuesday 15th of December 2015

Yum! What a brilliant idea!

The 'Noms.

Wednesday 16th of December 2015

Thank you!

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