Sugared Cranberries are glittering, sweet-tart gems that look like a Christmas decoration, but they’re actually a delicious addition to cocktails, desserts, and more! Here’s how to make them.
You’ve probably seen sugared cranberries at fancy bakeries or maybe on Christmas wreaths and trees (well, fake sugared cranberries at least!), but did you know they’re easy to make at home too?
Sugared cranberries are simply cranberries that have been coated in a layer of sugar syrup and then rolled in granulated sugar, creating a sparkling, crunchy exterior. The result is beautiful and festive, a little bit like berries covered in sparkling ice crystals, but also delicious: a sweet yet tart burst of flavour with every bite.
Why You’ll Love This Sugared Cranberries Recipe
- Festive fun. Sugared cranberries add holiday cheer to any dessert or drink! They bring a pop of colour and a bright flavour to the table, adding that little extra touch to your Christmas celebration.
- Easy to make. This recipe requires only three simple ingredients and takes just 10 minutes of hands-on time to make, so you can whip up a batch in no time.
- Versatile. Sugared cranberries are not just for looking pretty! They can be used as a garnish for cocktails (like Vegan Coquito!), added to holiday cookies, used as a cake decoration, or just eaten as-is.
- Kid-friendly. Not only will kids love the sweet and tart flavour of sugared cranberries, they’ll also love to help make them. Turn it into a family tradition for the holidays!
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Water – For making a syrup to coat the berries.
- Sugar – You’ll need some for the syrup and some for the sparkling exterior.
- Fresh cranberries – These are sold in the produce section during the fall and early winter months; you’ll either find them pre-packaged in bags or in a tub of water.
Can I Use Frozen Cranberries to Make Sugared Cranberries?
Yes, you can use frozen cranberries to make sugared cranberries, although it’s not ideal as they’ll be softer than fresh cranberries. Be sure to thaw them completely before following the recipe.
How to Make Sugared Cranberries
- Prepare. Discard any damaged berries, then wash and dry them well. Place the cranberries in a heat-proof bowl.
- Make the syrup. Whisk together the water and 3/4 cup of sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until bubbles appear along the outer edges of the pan, about 3 minutes.
- Coat the cranberries. Pour the syrup over the cranberries and stir to coat. Let the berries and syrup sit for 10 minutes.
- Dry. Remove the cranberries from the bowl with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Dry uncovered for 1 hour; they’ll feel sticky.
- Sugar the cranberries. Spread the remaining sugar on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, roll the cranberries in the sugar until they’re evenly coated.
- Dry again. Place the cranberries on a clean baking sheet and dry them for another hour before using or storing.
Tips for Success
- Remember the wax paper. Without it, your sugared cranberries will stick to the pan!
- Don’t rush drying the cranberries. Drying the cranberries helps the sugar to adhere properly and creates a crunchy exterior. If you rush the process, the sugared cranberries will look sloppy!
- Use fresh cranberries for best results. While you can use frozen cranberries, as noted above, fresh cranberries work best for this recipe as they have a firmer texture compared to frozen berries.
- Make them extra sparkly. For a more glittery appearance, coat the cranberries in sanding sugar or shimmering sugar instead of regular granulated sugar.
Ideas for Using Sugared Cranberries
- As a snack. Sugared cranberries make a delicious and festive snack for both kids and adults. Set them in a bowl for a party and watch them disappear!
- Cocktail garnish. Add some sparkle to your drinks by using sugared cranberries as a garnish for cocktails or mocktails.
- Decoration. Use sugared cranberries to decorate cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bars, and other baked goods for a beautiful holiday touch.
- Garland. String sugared cranberries together to create a sparkling garland! It won’t last long, but it’s fun for a party.
How to Store
Store sugared cranberries in an airtight container or jar at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not freeze them, as the sugar coating will become sticky when thawed.
More Holiday Favourites
- Bread Pudding
- Vegan Chocolate Chess Pie
- Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars
- Vegan Black-Eyed Pea Salad
- Vegan Congealed Fruit Salad
- ¾ cup water 180 ml
- 1 ½ cups sugar divided 300 grams
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries 340 grams
- Discard any damaged berries. Then wash and dry the berries and place them in a heat proof bowl. Set aside while you prepare the syrup.
- Combine water and 3⁄4 cup of sugar in a saucepan. Whisk together until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until bubbles appear at the outer edges of the pan, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and pour it over the cranberries. Stir to make sure all the berries are coated. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cranberries from the syrup with a slotted spoon and move to a baking sheet lined with wax paper to dry uncovered for 1 hour.
- After an hour, the cranberries will feel sticky. Spread the remaining sugar on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, roll the cranberries in the sugar. Place the cranberries on a clean baking sheet and dry them for another hour.