Candied Cranberries

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Easy candied cranberries that look snow-kissed – perfect for topping your holiday cookies, cakes, pies, platters, and even cheese trays!

cranberries covered in sugar in a bowl
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cranberries covered in sugar on a cake

Sugared Fresh Cranberries

Candied cranberries are a delightful and festive treat that balances the cranberry tartness with sweetness. These cranberries are made by simmering a sugar syrup which I then use to coat the cranberries. This makes them really sticky and helps the sugar adhere when they are rolled in it. Fresh cranberries are a classic look, but these sugar-coated ones really help your cake or cookies pop.

These cranberries are super versatile and a great thing to have on hand around the holidays. I use these on cheese boards to add that red color and they are delicious with sharp creamy cheeses. I also like to incorporate them around the holidays as an artful and elegant garnish. Candied cranberries look and taste great in cocktails too!

cranberries covered in sugar on a cake

How to Make Candied Cranberries

First you will need to assemble the following ingredients:

  • Water – you need water to make a thick syrup to coat the cranberries so that the sugar will stick.
  • Sugar – granulated sugar is perfect for this recipe both for making the sugary syrup and for coating the cranberries!
  • Cranberries – use fresh cranberries that have been rinsed and dried. You can usually find frozen cranberries even in the off season.

Once you have assembled the ingredients use the following method

Heat. Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan and boil and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes until it is thickened.

Pour. Pour the sugar mixture over the cranberries and fully coat. Toss then remove the cranberries from the syrup with a slotted spoon and add to a parchment lined baking sheet. Let them cool 1 hour.

Roll. Roll the cranberries in sugar to coat. You want to do this in small batches to get them fully coated.

Cool. Cool for about 30 minutes then use to decorate cakes, pies, or you holiday cheese platter!

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Candied Cranberries

Go Fresh. Make sure you always use fresh cranberries whenever you possibly can. When using frozen cranberries be sure to defrost them at least overnight.

Add some zest. If you want some zip in these candied cranberries, you can add the zest of an orange, yum!

Done overcook. Be sure to not boil the cranberries in the syrup since it will soften them too much and could become a cranberry relish.

Double Coat. You can double coat the cranberries in more sugar after the first layer if you want.

Bake with them. These can be added to cakes for a decoration or to add cranberries to them.


Can I use frozen cranberries for candied cranberries?

Yes! You can use defrosted frozen cranberries to make candied cranberries. Be sure to thaw them and pat them dry before coating in the syrup and sugar.

How do I store candied cranberries?

Candied cranberries can be stored in an airtight container (I usually use a jar) on the countertop for a few days. They can be stored in the refrigerator for a week an a half.

Can I make candied cranberries with a sugar substitute?

I don’t recommend using a sugar substitute for candying. The best success I have had is by using corn syrup instead of sugar. This really isn’t saving you much health wise though.

Can you double-coat candied cranberries for extra sweetness?

Yes, feel free to roll the cranberries another time after the first coating to get a thicker layer or sugar.

How can I use candied cranberries?

Candied cranberries can be enjoyed as a snack, used on cakes, pies, or even salads and cheese boards. Anywhere you want that tart and sweet flavor.

Are candied cranberries gluten-free and vegan?

Yes, these candied cranberries are naturally gluten-free and vegan.

cranberries covered in sugar on a cake

What to Serve With Candied Cranberries

Cake: These cranberries are the perfect topper for cake especially lemon cake, chocolate cake or any holiday cake for a beautiful red accent.

Try these cranberries atop any of our favorite desserts:

cranberries covered in sugar on a cake

Candied Cranberries Recipe

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cranberries covered in sugar

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Frozen candied cranberries in a white bowl.

Candied Cranberries

These delicious candied cranberries are tart and sweet all in one!
Course Candy & Sweets
Cuisine American
Keyword cake garnish, cake topper, candied fruit, garnish, sugar coated berries
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 157kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell


  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups granulated Sugar divided
  • 2 cups fresh Cranberries rinsed and dried


  • In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.
  • Bring to a boil, then let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Pour into the Cranberries to fully coat.
  • Remove Cranberries with a slotted spoon and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet or metal rack, to let cranberries dry for 1 hour.
  • Roll Cranberries in the remaining 1 cup of Sugar to coat. Do it in small batches.
  • Let cool 30 minutes and use to decorate cookies, cakes, pies, or even your holiday platters and cheese plates!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Sodium: 2mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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