Sugared cranberries, or candied cranberries, are a holiday staple! Use them as a garnish on a creamy pumpkin pie, put them on a toothpick in a glass of sparkling wine, or enjoy them on their own! They’re beautiful and sparkly- perfect for the holidays.

bowl of sugared cranberries

How to Sweeten Raw Cranberries

While cranberries are delicious, they can be pretty sour on their own. By adding a little sweetness, you can balance the sour. Sugared cranberries start by making a simple syrup of sugar and water and then infusing the cranberries. This process tenderizes the cranberries while adding sweetness.

The next step is to roll the cranberries in additional sugar. The extra sugar not only tastes great and gives the fruit some texture but looks beautiful and festive.

For Cocktails

There’s nothing more festive than a glass of sparkling wine topped with a toothpick of sugared cranberries. Talk about classy. You could even use them to top mimosas or a warm cranberry apple cider. It brings a little holiday to just about anything.

For Decoration on Pies, Tarts, and Cakes

Winter desserts scream for garnish! Top sugared cranberries on your pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, or maybe a cranberry trifle.

Ideas to Top with a Sugared Cranberry Garnish:

Bowl of sugared cranberries
Yield: About 3 1/2 Cups

How to Make Sugared Cranberries

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Make as many or as few as you'd like! Sugared cranberries are perfect as a garnish for holiday dishes and cocktails.


  • 340 grams (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
  • 300 grams (1 ½ cups) granulated sugar, divided
  • 115 grams (½ cup, 120 milliliters) water


  1. Set up a sheet pan with a cooling rack set on top.
  2. Combine 100 grams (½ cup) of the sugar and the water (115 grams/ ½ cup) in a saucepan on medium heat. Cook and stir slowly until all of the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Turn off the heat and carefully add cranberries (340 grams/ 12 ounces) into the saucepan. Stir to coat evenly.
  4. Remove the cranberries with a slotted spoon. Place them on the prepared wire rack. .
  5. Let cranberries dry and cool completely for at least 45 minutes. They should still be very sticky.
  6. Roll the cranberries in the remaining sugar (200 grams/ 1 cup) and shake off the excess.
  7. Store in the refrigerator for 2-4 days in an airtight container. Try to keep them as thin of a layer as you can as the sugar will rub off if they rub against each other too much.


These sugared cranberries are delicious on their own however, here are some delicious flavor ideas:

  • Rosemary Cranberry: add fresh rosemary sprigs to the simple syrup and infuse for several minutes before adding the cranberries. Use rosemary sprigs as additional garnish beside the sugared cranberries.
  • Vanilla Cranberry: add scraped vanilla seeds to the reserved sugar for rolling. Mix well, you can use your fingers to evenly disperse the vanilla. Roll the cranberries in the vanilla sugar.
  • Orange Cranberry: add fresh orange juice to the simple syrup and infuse for several minutes before adding the cranberries. Use orange zest as additional garnish beside the sugared cranberries.

Note: This does not work well with frozen cranberries as they will deflate and release too much liquid.

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