Quick and easy sugared cranberries recipe (candied cranberries or frosted cranberries) with simple ingredients. No popping or cracking! They are sweet and sour and have a wonderful crunch. They are beautiful and sparkly and great for garnishing and decorating cakes, cupcakes, holiday pies and even cocktails. They also make a lovely addition to my collection of Easy Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas (Food).
I love cranberries, especially in desserts and have so many recipes with this incredible ingredient. You should really check out my Cranberry Orange Muffins and this Crustless Cranberry Pie and even this Cranberry Upside Down Cake (With Cake Mix) as well as this Coconut Cranberry Cake.
Table of contents
Key ingredients for candied cranberries
- Granulated sugar- You will use some for the syrup and some for sprinkling on the cranberries after to create a topping.
- Vanilla extract- Adds a hint of warm flavor.
- Water- Used as the main base of the sugar syrup.
- Fresh cranberries- It's important to use fresh and not frozen.
Sparkling sugared cranberries- Instead of water, sparkling water can be used. But after trying it myself, I didn't think there was no noticeable difference.
Add other flavors- Through the use of different extracts, lemon or orange zests and even herbs like sprigs of rosemary, basil or thyme. You can also add cinnamon sticks, whole green cardamoms, star anise, cloves, ginger.
How to make easy sugared cranberries recipe from scratch?
- Prepare a simple sugar syrup- By boiling water and sugar in a pan (Image 1).
- Remove pan from stove- And add vanilla, then allow it to cool before soaking the cranberries (Image 2).
- Coat them in a tray- Filled with granulated sugar (Image 3).
- Place each cranberry on a sheet of wax paper- And let it dry until topping is dry (Image 4).
Tips and techniques
Don't dump the cranberries in hot sugar water/syrup- Or else your cranberries are highly likely to pop and crack and make a mess. Instead, allow the sugar water to cool down before dumping the cranberries and mixing them together.
Don't coat cranberries in powdered sugar-Because it is not as tasty or as attractive as granulated sugar. Powdered sugar also starts to dissolve quickly with the wet syrup and makes a sticky mess.
Make these for a larger crowd- This recipe can easily be doubled.
Don't rush the drying process- This is very important because if you rush the process, the sugar topping will fall off the berries.
Do not use frozen cranberries- Because fresh ones taste better and also frozen ones tend to release a lot of water as they thaws and that makes everything very sticky and messy.
Do not use dried cranberries- Because they are not as pretty and vibrant red as fresh ones. Furthermore, dried cranberries are already sweetened and when they are coated in sugar, they become overly sweet. Their texture is also more chewy.
Use them as decoration for desserts and especially pies. They would look lovely on top of this Pumpkin Pie or this No Bake Cranberry Pie. They can also be used as garnish for cocktails and look. great on charcuterie boards and cheese boards.
They will last 2-3 days in the fridge and should be stored in a covered container.
No, they will not work well in this recipe. Dried cranberries are already sweetened. Frozen ones release too much water and juices upon thawing.
Prepare a simple sugar syrup but allow it to cool down a bit so that it's not boiling hot. Then, add fresh cranberries and soak them for 1-2 minutes until they are sticky.
- Make ahead- These can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days before serving.
- Room temperature- These should not be left out for more than 1 day.
- Refrigerate- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Freezer- This is not recommended, because as they thaw, they will become a sticky mess and not look very pretty.
More easy Christmas candy recipes
- Chocolate Mint Truffles
- White Chocolate Truffles Recipe
- Jelly Marshmallow Candy (Pinwheels)
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
- Easy Buckeyes Recipe (Peanut Butter Balls)
- Coffee Fudge
- Condensed Milk Fudge (With Cranberries and Pistachios)
Easy Sugared Cranberries (Candied Cranberries)
- Add sugar and water in a nonstick saucepan. Mix and heat over medium heat.
- When the mixture stars bubbling and gets a little thick, take the saucepan off the heat and add vanilla extract. Let this sugar mixture cool down for about 30 minutes.
- Then, add cranberries and mix everything together until cranberries are fully coated. Scoop out the cranberries with a sieved spoon and allow excess sugar water to drip off.
- Dump those cranberries in a tray filled with granulated sugar.
- Roll them around the tray so the sugar fully coats the sticky cranberries and then place each sugared cranberry on a a tray lined with wax paper to dry off (Takes about 1 hour). Enjoy!
- Don't dump the cranberries in hot sugar water/syrup or else your cranberries will pop. Instead, allow the sugar water to cool down before adding the cranberries.
- Powdered sugar cannot be used for coating because it will start to dissolve quickly.
- Instead of regular water, sparkling water or sparkling champagne or some bourbon can be used.
- Read additional tips and variations above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days.