My 3-step, 2-ingredient Sugared Cranberries recipe is so easy. Make them once and you’ll be baking cakes just for an excuse to make them again and again. Sugared cranberries, also known as candied cranberries, are such a beautiful, festive and sparkly way to dress up a cake, cheeseboard or cocktail.

  • Sugar. Just regular household granulated sugar is perfect.
  • Fresh cranberries. Frozen ones get quite soft as they thaw and leak their red juice into the sugar.
  • A saucepan to dissolve the sugar into a syrup.
  • A sieve. After years of rolling my syrup-dunked cranberries in a shallow bowl filled with sugar, I realized that simply dusting them generously with sugar via a sieve gives a much more sparkly and less clumpy appearance, with more of the red glowing through the glittery coating. If you don’t have a sieve, use a large slotted spoon and shake the sugar over the cranberries from a 1-2′ height to get even distribution.

How to Make Sugared Cranberries

1. Dissolve granulated sugar with water in a stovetop saucepan to make a thick syrup.

2. Dip the cranberries in the syrup once cooled.

3. Place syrup-coated cranberries on a wire rack and generously dust them with more granulated sugar.

Gorgeous, with almost negative effort.

How to Use Sugared Cranberries

Sugared cranberries are stunning piled on a festive cake, or embellishing a cheese platter. I’ve caught my husband eating them out-of-hand like candy, but I prefer them as a garnish only (the cranberries retain their tart and bitter qualities).

I personally like to candy cranberries for swizzle sticks adorning a Christmas cocktail – like the Merry Manhattan. And if you go this route, you can just dunk the cranberries in the simple syrup you’re already making for the drink. See – so effortless they practically mix the cocktail for you. 

While you’re sugaring stuff, you can give sprigs of rosemary the same treatment, to make them look like mini snow-dusted Christmas trees. 

Sugared Cranberries Recipe

Sugared Cranberries

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Keyword Candied Cranberries


  • 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar divided use
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries


  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water. Cook until sugar dissolves, then remove from heat and allow syrup to cool to room temperature. (If you want to cool it quickly, pour it into a large mixing bowl and stick it in the fridge or freezer).
  • Stir cranberries into the cooled syrup, then use a slotted spoon to fish them out, letting excess syrup drip off. Transfer cranberries to a wire rack. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a sieve and dust over the cranberries, shaking them around on the rack to get all angles. Let them sit there for about 30 minutes, until sugar hardens.
Keyword Candied Cranberries

Last Updated on November 19, 2020 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

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Julie Robertson
Julie Robertson
2 years ago

Hey Jen! Do these need to be made the day-of serving, or will the sugar stay crystallized if I make them a day (or more) ahead? Planning to use them on your Holiday Spiced Cake, in case that’s important. 🙂

2 years ago

Excellent!! Will try it for sure.

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