Whether you call them sugared cranberries or candied cranberries, they’re the perfect sparkling garnish to nearly any holiday dish or cocktail. They’re easy to make, too.

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: It’s a perfect duet: tangy cranberries and crunchy sugar. They are pretty irresistible.

How long it takes: 10 minutes, plus an hour to let them dry
Equipment you’ll need: small saucepan, wire rack
Servings: 12

Sugared cranberries in a white bowl, garnished with sprigs of rosemary.
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Aren’t these sugared cranberries the prettiest things? Sugared cranberries are like little jewels for your food!

They go by different names: sugared cranberries, candied cranberries, or frosted cranberries. You can call ’em what you like but you’ll definitely want to try this easy little recipe.

Wanna know the best part? They’re super easy to make so they’re a great last minute addition to your holiday plans.

Overhead view of sugared cranberries in a bowl.

How To Use Sugared Cranberries

  • Add to appetizers. I love them as a garnish for that amazing baked brie I shared last week. They are the perfect sweet tart complement to the cranberry sauce and bourbon candied pecans. I’ve also had them on these festive sparkling cranberry brie bites, an easy holiday appetizer idea from Yummy Mummy Kitchen.
  • Garnish cocktails. The cranberries also look stunning on a refreshing holiday cocktail. Skewer a few cranberries on a pretty toothpick and balance it on the edge of a champagne glass. It’s so pretty!
  • Embellish charcuterie boards. I love adding sparkling sugared cranberries to my charcuterie platters. Not only are they are gorgeous, the tart cranberries really complement the rich creamy cheese. 
  • Snack on them like candy. A bowlful of these candied cranberries will disappear in a hurry!
Candied cranberries in a white bowl set on a red and white linen.

How To Make Sugared Cranberries

There are only three simple steps to making these sugared cranberries:

  1. Make a simple syrup of sugar and water. 
  2. Coat the cranberries in the simple syrup and spread them onto a baking rack to dry for an hour.
  3. Roll the sticky cranberries in more sugar. And that’s it!

They’re so easy and so fun. The contrast of the tart cranberries is so so good with the sugary coating. You are going to love these, and everyone will be so impressed by you! 

Close up view of candied sugared cranberries.


What can I do with sugared cranberries?

Garnish a cake or pie with the cranberries. They look gorgeous on a cheese platter or charcuterie board. Add them to a cocktail or put them in candy bowls. They’re so pretty and really quite addicting.

Can I add flavor to candied cranberries?

Sure! For vanilla flavored cranberries, add scraped vanilla bean (the pulp of the bean) to the rolling sugar. For orange flavored cranberries, add finely grated orange zest to the rolling sugar.  

Can you use frozen cranberries to make sugared cranberries?

Although I haven’t tested it, I did a little research and it looks like you can. Allow the frozen cranberries to partially defrost before adding them to the simple syrup. Soak them in the simple syrup for 10 minutes before removing them to dry.

Storage Tips

Refrigerate: Store the cranberries in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for a few days. If they start to “weep” a little, just give them another quick toss in sugar to freshen them up.

You can also re-use the simple syrup. Refrigerate it in a jar and use it to make cocktails.


Sugared Cranberries Recipe

4.46 from 91 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Whether you call them sugared cranberries or candied cranberries, they're the perfect sparkling garnish to nearly any holiday dish or cocktail. They're easy to make, too. 
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  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries


  • Sort cranberries, discarding any soft or wrinkled berries. Rinse well and drain.
  • Combine ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. Remove from heat.
  • Stir the cranberries into the simple syrup, and stir to coat well.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Set a wire rack inside the baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to the wire rack. Let the cranberries dry for 1 hour.
  • After one hour of drying, roll cranberries in remaining sugar until completely coated.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days (see note).


  • The cranberries may start to “weep” some liquid after 2 to 3 days. If that happens, re-roll them in sugar to extend their life.


Serving: 1oz., Calories: 141kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 0.1g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.003g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 23mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 17IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Carolann Carpentier says:

    I am going to make these but I’d like to freeze them after they’re done. Has anyone done this? I think freezing in a layer on a sheet is best. Trying to stay a step ahead with food preparations. Thanks!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I’m not sure freezing these would work, but I haven’t tested it. Let me know if you give it a try!

  2. Julie Moore says:

    5 stars
    My granddaughter loves these! I let them dry for an hour, then put them in a baggie with sugar and shook them to coat them. Very quick and easy.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      How fun! I’m so glad they were a hit!

  3. Debbie says:

    5 stars
    Like a reverse warhead candy! They are so good in unsweetened seedy oatmeal (chia, pumpkin seeds)!!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Yes, exactly!

  4. Colorado Cranberry Lover says:

    3 stars
    The 3 stars are due to the method, not the taste. Can I be the only one? When I let the cranberries dry off for only a half hour, they were so dry that the sugar would not stick. I had saved the syrup, so I put the cranberries back in the syrup, strained them and rolled them in sugar immediately. THEN, I let them dry for an hour to let the sugar harden. BTW – I checked a few other recipes and all are written as yours is ?? Is it because we have very low humidity here?

    They are delicious! Worth the extra effort.

    Another question: if the cranberries tend to weep after a day or so, why do you store them in an air tight container? Wouldn’t it make more sense to leave them in a bowl where they can breathe?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I find that if I roll them in sugar right away they are too wet and the sugar clumps. The only way it works for me is to let them dry for a bit. Sorry it didn’t work for you that way! We don’t have high humidity in the winter, so I’m not sure what could be causing the problems for you.

  5. Charlene Yacovelli says:

    SOOOO delicious! Like natural Sour Patch Kids – only reverse! (sour on the inside, sweet on the outside!)
    I am going to use them to decorate my pumpkin pie, along with some mint leaves.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      That’s such a perfect description of these! They’ll be beautiful on your pie! I’m making some to put on a cheeseboard.

  6. :D says:

    How do you eat them in a charcuterie board?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Once I have the larger items arranged (cheese, crackers, meat, etc), I like to sprinkle these around to fill in the holes and add a pop of color!

  7. Brianna Storch says:

    These were lovely and so easy to make! I am bringing little champagne orange-cranberry jello “shots” to a Friendsgiving and the sugared cranberries are the perfect addition to add on the top of each shot. I also like that I could make these while the jello firmed in my ridge and were ready to go once the jello was done! 

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      That’s perfect! I’m glad you liked them!

  8. armando says:

    This looks great!  I will prepare it for my children……..Thanks for sharing 

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      You’re welcome! I hope your children love these!

  9. denise says:

    pop them in some champagne.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Yes! Such a fun and festive idea.