Love and Olive Oil

Sugared Cranberries

Easy Sugared Cranberries

I made these easy sugared cranberries as a topping for our Thanksgiving pie, which needed a bit of color and tart contrast to it’s sticky sweetness (recipe coming tomorrow).

Not only are they gorgeous, all sparkly and festive in their sugar sweaters, but they are also surprisingly delicious in their own right: sweet and sour and delightfully crunchy.

Natural sour patch kids, basically.

You wouldn’t think cranberries would be that tart, but you’d be surprised. Have you had a raw cranberry lately? Mouth-puckering. And despite the fact that these are soaked in sugar syrup, they still retain all their tartness and crunch.

How To Make Sugared Cranberries

No sooner had I set out a bowl of these berries, when Taylor walked by and asked what they were, barely waiting for an answer before popping one in his mouth. And then another. And another. I may have made 2 cups worth of sugared cranberries as a garnish for our pie, but they barely made it to dessert time. He was popping them like they were candy, a few here and there every time he walked by.

Easy Sugared Cranberries

And if you happen to be like me and don’t think to top your pie with these sparkling gems until the day of, it’s ok if they don’t soak for quite 8 hours. They may be a bit more tart, but a quick soak as short as 2 hours will produce acceptable results.

I speak from experience on this one.

Way to plan ahead, Lindsay.

Sugared Cranberries

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  • 6 ounces (2 cups) fresh (not frozen) cranberries, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup water


  1. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup sugar and water to a simmer until sugar is dissolved and syrup is crystal clear. Pour into a heat-proof bowl and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cranberries; cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight, stirring once or twice throughout to be sure cranberries are evenly coated with syrup.
  2. Remove cranberries from syrup with a slotted spoon (syrup can be reused for more berries or as simple syrup in holiday cocktails, for example). Spread berries out on a wire cooling rack nested inside a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle berries with remaining sugar, flipping berries to coat all sides. Once berries are coated with a thin layer of sugar, roll each berry in a small bowl with some more granulated sugar until evenly coated with another layer. The key here is multiple thin layers of sugar; if you put too much on at once the sugar may clump in thick spots.
  3. Return berries to baking sheet and let try for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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  1. Holy Cow!! Get your pucker ready, lol. My kids loved these. They thought it was fun to see who could handle the pucker the longest all the while they got used to the taste and asked me to make these again. They were so pretty on the table as well! Great idea :)

  2. You know I have never had cranberries, other than in juice form. Which I find mind-boggling since I fancy cranberry juice, let me tell you. I think this is the perfect way to get my (actual) cranberry on for the first time :)
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. These are just about as festive as it gets. So pretty!

  4. I love this.  It will be perfect for the holiday sangria i will be making. 

  5. these are gorgeous!! love these!

  6. I  make sparkling cranberries every year. They are so festive. I just adored them!

  7. So pretty, and sweet and tart is one of the best flavour combinations in my books!

  8. I’ve never had sugared cranberries before but these sound perfect for my cake topping this year.

  9. Love these and bet they’d be perfect for my no-bake Christmas bars, too.

  10. I love them!! :) What a great and easy idea to pimp the fruit you put on top of a cake. :) I’d love that with blueberries as well… Yum.. :)

  11. These are completely gorgeous! I can imagine they’d be really good. I think I’ll add them to the Christmas food list.

  12. These look gorgeous…I’m a sucker for anything covered in sugar actually!!

  13. I’ve never had fresh cranberries before! Only the dried sweetened ones, but those aren’t that good for pies ^^” This sounds so easy though. Thank you for sharing :)

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