Sugared Cranberries

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Wow your guests with these Sugared Cranberries – they make a beautiful and delicious addition to any holiday table. Most sugared cranberries are dipped in water and rolled in sugar, but I’ve found the “secret” is to dip them in orange juice. It makes them that much more flavorful and sweeter, plus the sugar sticks even better!

For a gorgeous festive dessert, top these Vanilla Cheesecake Bars or this Chocolate Cheesecake with Sugared Cranberries.

Sugared Cranberries in a bowl

Growing up, every December my mom put out garlands on our mantle with beautiful (fake) sugared cranberries. They were so beautiful and one of my favorite decorations! In the last few years, I’ve started making my own homemade Sugared Cranberries to add to the tabletop decor, a cheese board, or to spruce up a hot chocolate bar. Sugared Cranberries seamlessly tie together decor and they’re surprisingly delicious to snack on.

Read on and I’ll share all my secrets for creating perfect Sugared Cranberries every time.

Ingredient shot: cranberries, sugars, and orange juice

How do you make Sugared Cranberries?

There are only a few quick steps to making these quick candied cranberries.

  • Soak the cranberries in a fruity syrup. See below for detailed steps on how to soak the cranberries.
  • Dry the cranberries for one hour to keep them from being too wet–which makes the sugar slip right off
  • Add sugar in an even layer on a plate and place the cranberries on top. The other secret to beautiful sugared cranberries? Use CANE sugar instead of white/granulated sugar.
  • Roll: add the (sticky) cranberries to the sugar and roll to evenly coat them. While they’ll start out pretty sticky, they aren’t sticky at all after a good sugar coating.

[quick tip] Isn’t sugar cane the same thing as white sugar?  White sugar (also called table sugar) is made from sugar cane, yes, but cane sugar has larger crystals–which are more attractive for decorating foods. Table sugar is extracted from sugarcane in specialized mill factories where it’s ground down more finely and whitened. [/quicktips]

Process shot --combining sugar with orange juice

The first step in making Sugared Cranberries is to soak them in a syrup mixture. Here’s how that happens:

How do you soak cranberries?

  • Prepare a syrup mixture by dissolving the sugar in the orange juice and bringing it to a simmer. For orange-vanilla Sugared Cranberries, add one teaspoon of vanilla extract to this mixture.
  • Remove from heat and stir the cranberries in so that they are all evenly coated.
  • Let the cranberries seep into the mixture for 10 minutes.
  • Remove cranberries to parchment paper to dry.


Save the orange juice mixture to use as a base for simple syrup! Simple syrup–used in many cocktails and mocktails–is a blend of 1 cup sugar and one cup water that is simmered until dissolved. By using the orange juice and sugar syrup, you’ll add a fruity twist to the syrup you use in your drinks!

Adding cranberries to the orange juice mixture

If the holidays are as busy for you as they are for me, you’re likely looking to do as many things ahead of time as possible! Here’s some good news: You can make Sugared Cranberries in advance. Read on to find out how.

How do you store Sugared Cranberries?

Sugar-coated cranberries store best in an airtight container in a cool place or in the fridge.

How long do Sugared Cranberries last?

When prepared and stored correctly, sugared cranberries can last up to one week. However, for the best quality, I recommend using them within two days, as sometimes the liquids will seep when stored. If they’re looking less than ideal, toss them in the sugar again quickly!

Process shot: drying cranberries and rolling in sugar

These sugar-coated cranberries are the perfect garnish, snack, or decoration. Here are some of my favorite ways to use them.

How can I use Sugared Cranberries?

  • They are beautiful on top of cakes or cupcakes with this Cream Cheese Frosting, on this Carrot Pumpkin Cake, or on top of this Lemon Pie
  • You can also use these candied cranberries for mocktails or cocktails as a garnish or in the actual drink. You could also add them as a garnish for this homemade Hot Chocolate.
  • Make beautiful table decorations by filling a champagne glass with them or sprinkling them at the base of your candles.
  • Scatter a few of them on a cheese or charcuterie board.

Leave a comment with your ideas on how you decorate with Sugared Cranberries!

A bowl of Sugared Cranberries

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Sugared Cranberries

5 from 4 votes
Wow your guests with Sugared Cranberries - they make a beautiful and delicious addition to any holiday table.
Print Recipe

Sugared Cranberries

5 from 4 votes
Wow your guests with Sugared Cranberries - they make a beautiful and delicious addition to any holiday table.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword sugared cranberries
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Drying Time 1 hour
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Chelsea Lords
Calories 150kcal


  • 1 cup 100% orange juice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cane sugar, divided (white sugar will work okay, but cane is best!)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries


  • Line 1-2 large pans or trays with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a small pot, combine the orange juice and 1 cup of the sugar. Bring to a simmer and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the cranberries until coated in the sugar. Cover the pot with a lid and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the cranberries (the syrup can be used in a simple syrup for cocktails/mocktails). Using a wooden spoon, separate the cranberries and place them on the prepared pan. Allow to dry for 45 minutes to an hour at room temperature.
  • Place the remaining 1/2 cup cane sugar on a large plate and transfer the cranberries to the plate. Roll the cranberries in the sugar to coat. Once coated, they're ready to use and eat! 🙂

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is for 1/4 cup servings. The recipe makes a total of 2 cups of berries.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 77IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


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5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made these and they were fabulous! I was worried about my cranberries popping from the heat so I cooled down the syrup and let the cranberries soak overnight to compensate. Served them yesterday and everybody devoured them! Thank you!!

  2. 5 stars
    I needed a recipe that didn’t require refrigeration for hours as some others do. These came together so quickly, provided a great kick of color on the charcuterie board, and tasted delicious. Thank you!

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