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Sugared cranberries, also known as candied cranberries, are the perfect addition to any holiday spread. Use them as a beautiful garnish on pies, tarts, cakes, or cupcakes or use them in holiday cocktails. They’re also delicious as a standalone option as a snack and make a great addition to charcuterie or cheese boards.
Because why? Because they’re SO SIMPLE. And so EASY. And those sparkling cranberries make such a show-stopping addition to cocktails, charcuterie boards, cheese boards, and even on top of already beautiful desserts, that I am dedicating an entire spot in my recipe collection to these cuties.
And you won’t even believe how simple they are!
I love this. You only need THREE ingredients to make these easy sugared cranberries.
First? Fresh (or frozen) cranberries.
Third? Granulated sugar.
Is water even an ingredient? Hardly. You basically only need two ingredients, and if you bake even a little bit, you likely have sugar on hand.
The cranberries might be the only ingredient you need to acquire, but if you love cranberries as much as we do, you ALSO buy more than one bag as soon as they hit the grocery store in early November, right?
Because you can never go wrong with too much cranberry from November through December.
HOW TO MAKE SIMPLE SUGARED CRANBERRIES
From start to finish, this whole process will take you a little more than 1 hour. And the bulk of that hour is the drying time for the syrup mixture on the cranberries. So all those crannies are doing is sitting and waiting for their sugary coating.
So so simple.
MAKE A SIMPLE SYRUP
First, start by combining ½ cup of water and ½ cup of granulated sugar in a medium size saucepan. You’re going to bring this mixture to a full boil, then turn it down to medium heat and simmer for about 2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves completely.
First things first, you just made simple syrup! We’ve done this in many ways over the years on my site, but most specifically in homemade coffee creamer. A 1:1 ratio of water and sugar gives you a hot simple syrup that, once cooled, can be used to flavor beverages and coffee creamers, but in this case, acts as a “glue” for the outside of the cranberries.
COAT THE CRANBERRIES
Once your simple syrup is done, meaning the mixture is boiling and the sugar is completely dissolved, you can remove it from the heat, add the cranberries, then stir for about 1 minute to fully coat the cranberries.
Once fully coated, remove the cranberries with a slotted spoon and transfer to single layer on a metal cooling rack or large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
ROLL IN SUGAR
You’ll let these dry for 1 hour, which will create a sticky coating around every surface of the cranberries, allowing them to totally bask in the bath of white sugar that will ultimately take them from sticky cranberries to a slightly-crisp-on-the-outside, poppable, sweet and tart garnish or snack.
You’ll want to roll the sugar-coated cranberries in the sugar coating in small batches so as not to crowd the cranberries in the bowl of sugar.
My pro tip? These cranberries are absolutely delicious right away, but I found that storing them out in open air made the outer sugar coating extra crunchy.
CAN I USE FROZEN CRANBERRIES?
You can absolutely use frozen cranberries! Just be sure they’re thawed first. While they will go into some hot liquid, they won’t be in there long enough to cook.
Cranberries thaw quickly, but if you need them quicker, run them under some hot water before proceeding with your recipe.
HOW TO USE SUGARED CRANBERRIES
While we do really enjoy these just by the handful, this sugared cranberry recipe should absolutely be on your list if you have any cranberry dessert, drink, side dish, or cocktail on your menu.
They take so little time to make, they make a gorgeous garnish for literally anything “wintry,” even if cranberries aren’t involved, and they make a lovely addition to a spread of holiday treats or holiday snacks and appetizers.
It’s the easy way to make something look extra fancy and what better way to get a sweet-tart snack in than with fruit and an easy recipe?
Sugared Cranberries Recipe
- ½ cup (120mL) water
- 1 and ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar divided
- 12 ounces (340g) fresh cranberries1
- In a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water and ½ cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a full boil, then turn down to medium heat and simmer for about 2 minutes to completely dissolve the sugar.
- Remove from heat, add the cranberries, then stir for about 1 minute to fully coat.
- Remove the cranberries with a slotted spoon and transfer to a metal cooling rack or large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and allow to dry for 1 hour.
- Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar to a medium size bowl, then, working in batches, roll sticky cranberries in the sugar. Place coated cranberries in a bowl or on a plate and serve immediately. Store leftovers at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Cranberries are best consumed within 3 days and make a great garnish for cocktails, pumpkin pie, cranberry curd tart, or as a standalone snack.
- Cranberries: you can also use frozen. Thaw before using.
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.