Vanilla Sugared Cranberries

Bright red and sparkling, Sugared Cranberries belong on every holiday table.  Super simple to make and even simpler to pop in your mouth for a little sweet/tart snack.  A stunning garnish to many holiday dishes and cocktails….almost too pretty to eat!

Sugared Cranberries in a white bowl with a red plaid napkin in the background.


I love sparkles….shiny, pretty, glittery things that make me smile.  I’m like a bird, I’m drawn to tinsel, glitter, baubles and sugared cranberries.  I’ve always had a thing for sugared fruit but always bought the styrofoam stuff at various home decor stores during the holidays.  I think it’s beautiful…and magical.  

It seems like such a great concept.  Roll fruit around in a big bowl of sugar and then eat it….WHY NOT?

So, I finally did it.  I started small but small is good.  Really good.  Like a box of natural Sweet-Tarts just waiting to be opened, these vanilla Sugared Cranberries are like natures holiday gift to you.  These little gems are amazing and surprisingly addictive.  I always see these in magazines as a garnish to much more complex recipes.  But this Vanilla Sugared Cranberries recipe is so easy and you can make them up to 2 days in advance.



Vanilla Sugared Cranberries are such a treat. Dating back to, well, I don’t even know when….these little sparkling beauties were around before wax fruit was in fashion.

They’re fantastic for garnish cocktails, desserts or piled high in a bowl for a simple, yet festive, centerpiece. String them with some popcorn and hand on your treat for a simple decoration your cat will LOVE to nibble on. Or not.

Sugared cranberries on a cooling rack on a white background.


The ingredient list for sugar cranberries is short…..and sweet. I like puns. 

Cranberries – Fresh only, you need them to be raw and uncooked in order for this recipe to be successful. Discard any mushy or dimpled cranberries.

Water – Plain and simple.

Granulated sugar – I use white granulated sugar….I bet you have it in your pantry, right now. Don’t use caster or superfine sugar as it is too fine and will just melt into the syrup on the cranberries. You need the bigger granules to achieve maximum sparkle.

Vanilla – Vanilla extract is used for this recipe but you can totally skip it if you prefer. 

Sugared cranberries in a white bowl on a white background with evergreen fronds



You start by making an easy vanilla simple syrup with sugar, water and…..vanilla.  Then toss the cranberries in the syrup and let them steep for a bit. But not too long or they’ll start to pop open. 

Cranberries in a saucepan in a sugar syrup bath.

Transfer the cranberries to a wire rack to dry.

cranberries drying on a rack

Toss the cranberries in the sugar.

cranberries being rolled in sugar

Transfer to a baking sheet to dry completely.


Sugared Cranberries look spectacular in or around a cocktail….on top of a cake or cupcake, next to the turkey in a little glass bowl, on top of your spectacularly easy cranberry jelly or this gorgeous (and easy) cocktail. These NEED to be on your holiday table this year.  I’m dead serious.


If you’re not making dinner this year and visiting someone else’s home for the holiday, take a little jar of these as a little gift.  You know the person in the kitchen is a little stressed out, these will help calm the nerves….especially if you hand over a bottle of champagne or wine with them.

 They will love you forever…..and then burn the turkey because they chugged that bottle of champagne when nobody was looking.  But that’s ok….we’re all there for the side dishes.  Am I right?

Sugared cranberries in a weck tulip jar with a blue background.


If you like these easy Sugared Cranberries, make sure you try these AMAZING Cranberry Brie Bites!!!  They’re like little pillows of heaven. And super simple to make.

Or make the best ever Cranberry Sauce, it’s so easy and ready in minutes.

Cranberry Brie Puff Pastry Bites |


Vanilla Sugared Cranberries

Elegant and sweet, these Sugared Cranberries are lightly scented with vanilla.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups
Calories 451 kcal


  • 1 cup granulated sugar plus extra for coating
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries


  • In a large saucepan, bring the water, sugar and vanilla to a simmer stirring until dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the cranberries tossing with a wooden spoon to coat. Allow the cranberries to sit in the simple syrup for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
  • Allow the cranberries to dry for 20-30 minutes. Pour some sugar in a shallow dish and roll the cranberries in the sugar to coat completely. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment and allow to dry completely, approximately 1 hour.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 48 hours.


Serving: 0gCalories: 451kcalCarbohydrates: 113gProtein: 0gFat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 9mgPotassium: 85mgFiber: 4gSugar: 104gVitamin A: 60IUVitamin C: 13.3mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword cranberries
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

21 comments on “Vanilla Sugared Cranberries”

  1. These are so pretty! I love sugared cranberries!

  2. One of my favorites! These should never be reserved for just the holidays! So pretty.

  3. These would add a spectacular finishing touch to so many things. Love them!

  4. I cannot resist anything sparkly. These are stunning!!

  5. I can’t get enough of these little sparkling gems! I love your idea of taking a jar as a hostess gift – so fun! Maybe a bottle of champagne to drop them in, too… 🙂

  6. I have a half of bag of fresh cranberries that I now know what to do with!

  7. I just made sugared cranberries for the first time and I agree, they are the best and so pretty for this time of year.

  8. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to make these!! They look so pretty and I always forget! Have to bookmark!

  9. So pretty. I swear I think they are almost too pretty to eat. Every time I make fancy cranberries I just want to stare at them instead of eating them. These too, just too dang pretty to eat.

  10. So pretty! I just bought a bag of fresh cranberries. I just may make some of these so I can have pretty things on my table too!

  11. Wow so easy! making them for a dessert I have in mind!

  12. When do you put in the vanilla?

  13. Do they need to be kept in the refrigerator?

  14. Can you do this recipe with frozen cranberries, if so, what would be the steps? Do you thaw them first or just leave them longer in the syrup? Will they still keep 48 hrs in the refrigerator.

  15. I made these last night as a trial run before giving as gifts. They turned out awesome, but when I put them in a container with a lid, they started sweating inside the container and the sugar began to slide off the cranberries. Is there something that I may have done wrong or something I could do to keep them looking freshly coated and pretty to be able to give these as small gifts?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.