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sugared cranberries and rosemary in white bowl on gray plate.

How to Make Sugared Cranberries

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  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


Sugared cranberries are an easy yet beautiful garnish for so many festive delights, from pumpkin pie to gingerbread waffles. They’re also very tasty as a sweet snack all on their own! You need just 3 ingredients to make these sparkly treats, and you can use the same method with fresh rosemary.


  • 1 cup (100g) fresh cranberries (do not use frozen)
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) water
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar, divided


  1. Place cranberries in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the water and 3/4 cup (150g) of sugar to a simmer, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the sugar syrup over the cranberries and stir. Cover the bowl and set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries from the sugar syrup and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Allow to dry, uncovered, for 1 hour. The cranberries will be quite sticky at this point. 
  5. Pour remaining 1/2 cup (100g) sugar into a large bowl. Toss the cranberries in the sugar, coating them all the way around. Place the sugared cranberries on a parchment paper- or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and let them dry uncovered for at least 1 hour at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  6. Store them lightly covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a few days. If they start to look a little wet, toss them in a little more sugar. Do not freeze the sugared cranberries because, as they thaw, the sugar absorbs into the liquid.


  1. Special Tools (affiliate links): Glass Mixing BowlsSaucepan | Whisk | Baking Sheet | Parchment Paper Sheets or Silicone Baking Mat | Slotted Spoon or Sieve
  2. Frozen Cranberries: Do not use frozen or thawed cranberries. They’re simply too wet, and the simple syrup and sugar just won’t stick. You can trying patting them as dry as possible, but the results won’t be the same.
  3. Rosemary: You can use the same exact “recipe” or method with fresh rosemary sprigs to make sparkly “pine needles” as a garnish for various baked goods or festive drinks. Or, just toss a few sprigs in with the cranberries to make both—no need to increase the amount of simple syrup or sugar.