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Overhead view of a bowl of sugared cranberries with a sprig of rosemary in the background

How To Make Sugared Cranberries

  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This easy sugared cranberries recipe adds a beautiful finish to so many holiday sweets, treats, and drinks!

You can easily double or triple this recipe based on the amount of cranberries you have. (You won’t use all the sugar or simple syrup for a single batch, but this amount makes it easier to work with.



For The Simple Syrup*

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

For The Cranberries:

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar* (granulated sugar or cane sugar)



  1. Wash & Dry The Cranberries. Sort through the cranberries and discard any wrinkled, bruised, or spoiled cranberries. Wash the rest of the cranberries in a colander and let them dry on a clean kitchen towel.
  2. Prep Your Pan. Place a wire cooling rack over a cookie sheet. This will allow the cranberries to dry and set with good air circulation, and the sheet pan will catch all the drips and spills! (If you want even easier clean-up, you can line the sheet pan with parchment paper.)
  3. Make The Simple Syrup. In a small or medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely. (No need to boil or simmer.) Cool to room temperature.
  4. Coat The Cranberries. Working in batches, add the cranberries to the simple syrup and stir to coat well with the syrup mixture. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the coated cranberries to your prepared wire rack. Repeat until all cranberries are coated in the syrup. (You can save the rest of the syrup to use for mocktails, cocktails, or more cranberries another day!)
  5. Dry Until Tacky. Let the cranberries dry on the cooling rack for at least 45-60 minutes. You want them tacky/sticky but not wet, or the sugar will just dissolve.
  6. Roll In Sugar. Place the rest of the sugar in a bowl and, working in batches, roll the cranberries in sugar. You can do this with a slotted spoon, a fork, or clean hands (the easiest). Transfer sugar covered cranberries back to the cooling rack to dry & repeat with all the remaining cranberries until they’re all sugar-coated.
  7. Serve Or Store. Add to drinks, cakes, dessert plates and more, or store at room temperature up to 1 week. I recommend storing uncovered or lightly covered with some air circulation, rather than packaging them tightly in an airtight container. 


*Variations To Try:

  • Vanilla. Use vanilla sugar for an extra sweet effect. (This is a great way to use up a vanilla bean pod, when you use the seeds for another reicpe!)
  • Orange. Add some orange zest or a strip of orange peel to the simple syrup to infuse it with orange. (Try to avoid the bitter white pith & just use the orange zest/peel) Let the mixture steep a bit before you strain it and add the cranberries.
  • Rosemary. Or add a sprig of rosemary to the simple syrup! This is especially nice with savory serving options (like brie or charcuterie)
  • Mint. Use leftover mint simple syrup to make sugared cranberries for a light, frosty taste. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Drying Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: sugared cranberries, sugar-coated cranberries, sugar cranberries, candied cranberries, sugar-covered cranberries

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