Sugared Cranberries

Sugared Cranberries

I first admired these sugared cranberries on the front cover of this month’s Cooking Light magazine. They were used to garnish a festive holiday cheesecake, and though they shimmered quite prettily, I doubted that they would taste as good as they looked.

As luck would have it, one of The Astronomer’s colleagues brought these jewel-like fruits to our Sunday brunch a few weeks back. I was seated next to the tub and couldn’t keep my paws off them the entire meal. Whereas cranberries are usually much too tart to eat straight up, these sugared ones, which were soaked in simple syrup and dusted in superfine sugar, were balanced and delicious. The sweet bath and even sweeter coating improved upon the fruit without taking away any of its freshness or characteristic punch.

I made this batch of sugared cranberries soon after The Astronomer and I polished off the ones left behind from brunch. I didn’t have superfine or turbinado sugar in my pantry, but found that granulated sugar made a fine substitute.  Sugared cranberries are fantastic eaten straight from the bowl like candy or used as an adorable garnish atop cakes and cupcakes. ‘Tis the season for sparkly fruit!

Sugared Cranberries

Rinse the cranberries under running water. Remove any bruised or mushy fruit and discard. Set aside.

Sugared Cranberries

Combine 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat.

Sugared Cranberries

Combine the sugar syrup and cranberries in a small bowl. Cover and chill for 4 hours.

Sugared Cranberries

Drain the cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid for another use, if desired. Place the superfine or turbinado sugar in a shallow dish or rimmed plate. Add the cranberries, a few at a time, rolling to coat.

Sugared Cranberries

Spread the sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.

Sugared Cranberries

Use the cranberries as an elegant garnish for pies, cakes, or puddings. I prefer to forgo the pomp and circumstance and just pop ‘em in my mouth.

Recipe from Cooking Light, December 2010. [For Printable Recipe Click Here]

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19 Responses to “Sugared Cranberries”


  • yum! i want to try these right now!

  • I’m definitely going to give this a try – I have a bag of cranberries sitting in my fridge now, just waiting to be coated in sugar! :)

  • Those are absolutely gorgeous!

  • just take granulated sugar and wiz it in the food processor and you will have superfine sugar.

  • Love this recipe, Cathy! They look so pretty and I am so curious to make some – I love the idea of putting them on cakes … in my mouth…

  • Looks yummy! Will this work with frozen cranberries, just defrosted?

  • Anna - I’ve never worked with frozen cranberries, but I don’t think they’d perform the same way fresh ones do. I imagine they’d be mushy once defrosted, kind of like defrosted raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries…

  • they do look rather pretty in your hand like that. yum, i would just pop them in my mouth too!

  • Wow! These remind me of a confection I fell in love with in Russia! But those had a light brittle powdery white shell that made a satisfying crunch before the tart blast of cran juice. So addictive! I always meant to experiment making them myself, so thanks for this!!!

  • Oh my gosh these look fantastic! They’re so cute and I would definitely gobble these right up!

  • These sugared cranberries look very Christmas’y, beautiful photos! I love it how you captured the texture of sugar coating!

  • Tiffany @ Conor & Bella

    Such a pretty way to dress up cranberries. I definitely want to try this before the holiday season is up!

  • I wonder if it’ll still be bitter and sour?

  • Andy - It’s kind of magical how the sugar bath and sugar coating makes the raw cranberries totally palatable. The fruit is zesty, without any overbearing bitter or sour tones.

  • Oh la la!! Already thinking of doing a sparkling mixed fruit bowl :D

  • I love how such a simple coating can make these cranberries look so festive and inviting. It’s like they were rolling around in the snow. hehe. I have cranberries I need to use up. These will look great as a garnish with cake.

  • Do you know about my cranberry obsession? Because I have one. And I have a feeling I’m going to be obsessing over these sparkly wonders soon.

  • Oooh… hee, I saw these on 101cookbooks.com last year and made them for the BF’s family. They keep for a while!! LOVE the pics, Cathy.

  • I made these a few years ago and then lost the receipe. I have searched though all my Cooking Lite magazines, books and website and couldn’t find it. We were talking about sour foods at work and I remembered this recipe. Thank you SOOOOOOOO much for posting this (and it coming up under a Google search).

    This recipe is easy to do, especially for bringing to holiday parties, or any party. The remaining syrup is great to mix with drinks (I mixed it with vodka for me & 7-Up for the kids).

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