How to Make Sugared Cranberries

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Learn how to make sugared cranberries and impress your family & friends! It’s so easy and they are delicious as a garnish or snack.

waterford bowl with fruit

When I shared my recipe for Cinnamon Dolce Icebox Cake, I made sugared cranberries to use as a garnish. The cranberries turned out so pretty, and were so delicious, that I felt they deserved a post all their own. Since I made them solely to use as a garnish, and had never had them before, I was pleasantly surprised at how good they tasted. The sweetness of the sugar coating, paired with the tartness of the cranberries, is a great combination. 

bowl of cranberries in simple syrup

How to Make Simple Syrup

  • The first thing you need to do to make sugared cranberries is to cook up a batch of simple syrup.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine equal parts of sugar and water, and bring them to a boil on the stove. For this recipe, we’re using one cup of sugar and one cup of water.
  • Let the mixture pass the simmer stage, and when it reaches a boil, let it cook for one minute, and then remove it from the heat.
  • Simple syrup can be used for a variety of things. It is great for sweetening drinks or drizzling over fruit salads. 
how to make sugared cranberries in simple syrup

How To Make Sugared Cranberries

  • After removing the simple syrup from the heat, pour the cranberries into the saucepan.
  • Give them a stir, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. If you aren’t in a hurry, they can stay in the refrigerator overnight. You can transfer the sugar and berry mixture to a storage container, but I just put the lid on my saucepan, and placed it in the refrigerator.
  • After they have chilled, remove the berries from the syrup mixture, and let them drain on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes.
sugared cranberries with wooden spoon
  • Now for the fun part! Put a cup of granulated sugar on a cookie sheet and working in batches, roll or toss the cranberries in the sugar by shaking the pan back and forth.
  • When the berries are fully covered with sugar, place them back on the wire rack to dry completely. 
sugared cranberries on cooking rack

Helpful Tips

  • The fresh sugar-coated cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator (in an airtight container) for 2 or 3 days…but I’m betting they won’t last that long!
  • If the sugar “melts” while in the refrigerator, just roll them in some fresh sugar to revive them.
  • You will have simple syrup left over after you remove the cranberries. It can be refrigerated and used to make additional batches of cranberries, or used in holiday drinks.
  • This yummy treat looks beautiful served in a sparkling crystal bowl, with a sprig of mint on the side. Of course, they can be used as a dessert or cocktail garnish as well. 
  • Because the cranberries soften and cook in the simple syrup, they are very easy to bite and chew. As a matter of fact, when you bite into one, it makes a little pop in your mouth. So, so good. 
sugared cranberries in crystal bowl

About The Sugar

Most recipes for sugared cranberries call for superfine sugar. Superfine sugar, sometimes called caster sugar, can be made by grinding regular sugar in a food processor. It can also be purchased in the bakery aisle of your grocery store, or online. Grinding the sugar felt like an unnecessary extra step that I opted to skip. The regular sugar stuck to the cranberries nicely, but a little bit of it did fall off.

sugared cranberries with text

If you want something easy to set out for your gatherings, make a batch of these sugared cranberries along with some salted, oven-roasted pecans. Your family and friends will think you are amazing!

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More Festive Appetizer Recipes

waterford bowl with fruit

Sugared Cranberries Recipe

Learn how to make sugared cranberries to garnish your holiday desserts. They make a delicious snack, and are the perfect mix of tart and sweet!
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5 from 6 votes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Refrigeration Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 31 minutes
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  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries (washed)
  • 1 cup sugar for rolling (granulated or superfine)


  • Wash and drain cranberries. Set aside.
  • Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan.
  • Heat on the stove until boiling, stirring occasionally.
  • Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  • Add cranberries to sugar mixture. Stir to coat all the cranberries.
  • Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. Overnight is OK.
  • Remove cranberries from refrigerator.
  • Place a cooling rack on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • With a slotted spoon, place cranberries on the cooling rack. Make sure they are not touching.
  • Let the coated cranberries drain for 5 minutes.
  • Put 1 cup sugar on a small cookie sheet or in a 9 x 13 pan.
  • Carefully drop the cranberries into the sugar mixture. Shake the pan to cover the berries with sugar.
  • Continue dropping and shaking until all the berries are sugared.
  • Place them back on the cooling rack. Let dry for 1 hour.


  • You will have simple syrup left over after you remove the cranberries. It can be refrigerated and used to make additional batches of cranberries or used in holiday drinks.
  • Cranberries can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. If the sugar “melts,” they can be refreshed by rolling them in more sugar.
  • Superfine sugar can be made by placing regular sugar in a food processor and grinding a few times. I didn’t do this…I used regular granulated sugar.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.003g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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If you make this recipe, and love it, please come back to leave a comment and a 5-star review. I would really appreciate it, and it would help me so much. Thank you!

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5 from 6 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made these sugared cranberries for Thanksgiving. I used them as a beautiful garnish and served the rest as a snack. They were very good. A nice sweet crunch with a burst of cranberry flavor. Highly recommend them. Thanks OSP for the share.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      You are welcome…so glad you liked them!

  2. Sharon H. says:

    Thanks for the sugar cranberry recipe. I seemed to have lost the directions and so loved them. I’ll be making them again soon!

  3. Barbara Redwine says:

    5 stars
    I used your recipe to make a small bowl to snack on for Thanksgiving. They were so yummy, everyone loved them and they were so easy to make. Thank you for the recipe! Love your blog. Merry Christmas to you and your family! ⛄️🎄🤶🏻

  4. Sheila DelCharco says:

    These are beautiful! I love a sweet/tart combo so I will definitely give these a try! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Susan barrett says:

    These are fabulous!

  6. These are so pretty! Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  7. Frani Willis says:

    Beautiful garnish!!! Do you think it would be all right to use frozen cranberries? Thanks for recipe!!!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      If you mean a bag of fresh berries that has been frozen, then yes! I used frozen berries for this post. If you mean frozen berries from the freezer section of your grocery, I’m not sure. I have never tried that.

  8. Cheryl Hinckley says:

    I’m thinking sugar in a large zip lock bag (just shake berries to coat) may be easier then the cookie sheet method. Easy clean up too. I’ll try it next week. Thanks

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I’m wondering if the berries would stick to each other and the inside of the bag? If you try it, please let us know!

  9. Oh My! A must try. They are so pretty!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe – I can’t wait to try my hand at making beautiful sugared cranberries!

  11. They look so pretty and festive.Thanks for sharing the recipe.