sugared cranberries – a gorgeous cocktail garnish

by Michelle

Sugared Cranberries look like snow frosted rubies and make the perfect garnish for your holiday cocktails.sugared cranberries

Until recently, they only way I’d eaten cranberries was cooked in a jelly, sauce or baked good. It’d never occurred to me that you could eat these sour little suckers raw, until I was served a swizzle stick full of them in a holiday cocktail. Without asking, I pulled one of the ‘candies’ off the stick with my teeth thinking it was pure sugar. To my surprise and delight, I’d crunched into a tart cranberry sweetened up with a candy coating. I could have eaten a bowl full! In fact, while I tested recipes for this post I did eat a whole bowl of them. There’s a plethora of recipes on the web for these luscious gems and, for the most part, the ingredient list is the same. Where the recipes differ is in the technique. My recipe is a combination of steps that I think produce the best Sugared Cranberries.

You can use Sugared Cranberries to garnish anything that you’d use fresh fruit on, as long as the flavours work together – they’re deadly in a Manhattan. 

sugared cranberries

Look for the freshest cranberries you can buy. They are always packaged in clear plastic so that you can see the product.

Be sure the cranberries are firm and bright red. When you open them, remove any discolored or soft berries, then rinse thoroughly to make sure there are no twigs or leaves

You are making a simple syrup as a ‘glue’ for the sugar to stick to. As you’re heating the water/sugar mixture, don’t walk away. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar as the water heats so that you don’t have to bring the mixture to a boil.

This will create a lovely light sugar coating on your Sugared Cranberries rather than globs of hard sugar.

The magic in this recipe is making sure the simple syrup is absolutely at room temperature so that the cranberries don’t soften.

You want your Sugared Cranberries to be crunchy, firm, bright red and lightly coated in sugar.

Happy Crunching!

I’d love to hear how you make out with this recipe. Drop me a note in the comment section.

Thanks for reading.

Sugared Cranberries

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 1 cup Prep Time: Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


1 cup + ½ cup granulated white sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh cranberries, picked over to remove any spoiled berries


sugared cranberries recipe

  1. Mix 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water in a medium pot.
  2. Place pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook until sugar dissolves but don’t bring it to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to completely cool to room temperature.
  5. Add cranberries to cooled syrup and allow to sit for 2 hours.
  6. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of sugar on a plate.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, lift the cranberries from the syrup allowing them to drip off a bit.
  8. Roll the cranberries around in the sugar until they are completely coated.
  9. Leave them on the sugared plate until the sugar-coating hardens. about 1 hour.
  10. Use immediately or store in a dry mason jar with secure cover


THE LOVE: It’s really important to allow the syrup to cool so you don’t cook the cranberries.