These Sugared Cranberries are an easy way to add a pop of festive flair to your holiday desserts, cheese plates, cocktails and more. They are sweet and sour, sparkly, super simple to make and even taste great on their own.
Easy Sugared Cranberries Recipe
We absolutely love these sparkly little sugar coated cranberry jewels and tend to use them whenever we get a chance throughout the entire holiday season. They are the perfect garnish to just about anything from side dishes to desserts and appetizer plates. Plus, the flavor of tart cranberries coated in sweet sugar will have you popping them in your mouth as a tasty little snack.
As a bonus, Sugared Cranberries only require 4 ingredients (one of which is water!) and about 5 minutes of active prep. The rest of the time they just quietly and peacefully dry in the corner while you can completely forget about them and take care of other holiday business.
How to Use Sugared Cranberries
Oh, let us count the ways! These little beauties can serve so many purposes, including:
- Use as garnish for cakes, cheesecakes, pies, cocktails or even a whole turkey.
- Scatter around a cheese or charcuterie plate.
- Top your Cranberry Orange Sauce, Mashed Sweet Potatoes or Sweet Potato Casserole with these little guys for a festive touch.
- Eat with ice cream - yummy!
- Place in little bowls as table decoration.
- Snack on them as is.
- Also, be sure and save the cranberry syrup to use for cocktails, mocktails or even soaking cakes!
Fresh or Frozen Cranberries?
You want to use fresh cranberries for this recipe as they stay nice and plump and round. Frozen berries also lose quite a bit of their water content once they thaw, taking a lot of the flavor with it. This is great for some recipes, but not for Sugar Cranberries.
Ingredients in Candied Cranberries
- Cranberries - choose fresh cranberries, either in a bag or loose.
- Water - any type of water will do. You could also use orange juice if you want to add a whole new layer of flavor.
- Corn Syrup - this helps to make sure that the sugar syrup does not crystalize.
- Sugar - we typically use granulated sugar for both the syrup and rolling. However, you could absolutely substitute cane sugar or another type of slightly larger crystal sugar.
How to Make Sugared Cranberries
- Make the simple syrup. In a medium sized pot, add the water, corn syrup and ½ cup of sugar and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 1 minute.
- Add the cranberries. Boil for 1 minute, then remove the syrup from heat and stir in the cranberries. Stir to coat completely, then remove the cranberries from the syrup using a slotted spoon or strainer, letting any excess syrup drip back into the pot.
- Let them dry. Lay cranberries onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, separating any to make sure they are not touching. Allow to dry at room temperature for one hour.
- Roll the cranberries in sugar. In a small bowl, add the remaining sugar (1 cup). Roll a few cranberries at a time in the sugar, then place back onto the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all cranberries are coated in sugar. Let the cranberries dry again for at least 1 more hour, then store in a cool, dry place until you are ready to use them.
- Add vanilla bean paste or orange zest to the rolling sugar.
- Use orange juice instead of water for a slightly stronger orange flavor.
- Place a few sprigs of rosemary into the syrup and let the flavor infuse for about 10 minutes with the cranberries before removing and letting them dry as directed.
- Roll in a different type of sugar, such as cane sugar or turbinado sugar. If the individual sugar crystals are a bit too large, you can pulse very briefly in a coffee grinder or food processor.
If you have leftover Sugared Cranberries, you can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. If they start to weep a little, you can toss them back into a bowl of sugar just before using.
They do not freeze well as the sugar on the outside will absorb too much moisture and turn sticky, so it’s best to make them fresh.
Recipe: Sugared Cranberries
- 12 ounces Fresh Cranberries
- ½ cup Water
- ¼ cup Corn Syrup
- 1 ½ cups Sugar ½ cup for syrup, 1 cup for rolling
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper, then set aside.
- In a medium sized pot, add the water, corn syrup and ½ cup of sugar and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Boil for 1 minute, then remove the syrup from heat and add cranberries. Stir to coat completely, then remove the cranberries from the syrup using a slotted spoon or strainer, letting any excess syrup drip back into the pot.
- Lay cranberries on the prepared baking sheet, separating any to make sure they are not touching. Allow to dry for one hour.
- In a small bowl, add one cup of sugar. Roll a few cranberries at a time in the sugar, then place back onto the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all cranberries are coated in sugar.
- Let the cranberries continue to dry for at least 1 more hour, then store in a cool, dry place until you are ready to use them.
Here are some more simple holiday dessert recipes that we love!
- Cranberry Orange Cookies
- No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Dip
- Saltine Cracker Toffee
- Peanut Butter Bars
- Buckeye Dip
- More Candy Recipes
- More Dessert Recipes
- Holiday Recipes
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These Sugared Cranberries are the perfect garnish to just about anything, from side dishes to desserts and appetizer plates. They are sweet and sour, sparkly, super simple to make and even taste great on their own.