Learn how to make sugared cranberries and impress your family & friends! It’s so easy and they are delicious as a garnish or snack.
When I shared my 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.
How to Make Sugared Cranberries
The first thing you need to do to make sugared cranberries is to cook up a batch of simple syrup. To make simple syrup, combine equal parts of sugar and water, and bring them to a boil on the stove. Let the mixture boil for one minute and remove from heat. Simple syrups can be used for a variety of things. They are great for sweetening drinks or drizzling over fruit salads.
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After removing the simple syrup from the heat, pour the cranberries into the pot. 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 simple syrup and let them drain on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes.
Now for the fun part! Put a cup of sugar on a cookie sheet and working in batches, roll 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 cooling rack to dry completely.
The fresh sugared cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for a few 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. They look beautiful served in a crystal dish, with a sprig of mint on the side. Of course, they can be used as a dessert or cocktail garnish as well.
Most recipes for sugared cranberries call for superfine sugar. Superfine 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. 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. 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.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 - 3 cups fresh cranberries washed
- 1 cup superfine or regular sugar
- 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 lined cookie sheet.
- With a slotted spoon, place cranberries on the cooling rack. Make sure they are not touching.
- 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. 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 sugar.
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!